Transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed is a big change for not only the child, but everyone in the family! Each child will be different, but most children transition from the crib to a toddler bed between 18 months and 3 years of age. Whether you transition baby’s bed for safety reasons, in preparation for the arrival of a new baby sibling, or because your little one is expressing interest in a ‘big kid’ bed, preparing for this big change can often involve more than just adding a toddler rail to the crib. Here are some helpful tips to make the transition as smooth and easy as possible.
Maintain Your Routine
Be consistent with your little one’s nightly routine! Children crave patterns and consistency and keeping your child’s nighttime schedule the same can help ease the transition from crib to toddler bed. If baby usually takes a bath and reads a book with you before bedtime, continue that same tradition. This can help them feel more comfortable and maintain a sense of normalcy with this big change. If you mix-up your toddler’s routine at the same time they try out a new bed, it can be overwhelming for all parties involved.
Rotate or Upgrade Baby’s Mattress
If you purchased a 2-stage or 2-sided crib mattress, flip the mattress over to the toddler side when you transition baby from crib to toddler bed. The toddler side of the mattress will be softer, yet still ultra supportive and have extra comfort layers such as memory foam or cotton cushioning for a cozy night’s rest. You can also consider upgrading your little one’s mattress to something with additional features including micro-coils or breathable mesh materials.
Toddler-Proof the House
While your house is likely already ‘toddler or baby proof,’ now is a good time to double check that your house is safe and secure for inquisitive toddlers! Transitioning to a toddler bed means that your little one will be able to easily get in and out of bed on their own, even while parents are asleep. Make sure that your baby gates are secured before you go to bed each night, medicine cabinets and doors are locked tight, and keep anything you don’t want your baby to access safely out of reach. Set your alarm the first few nights so you are awake before baby, just in case.
Create a Comfortable & Cozy Environment
When you transition baby to a toddler bed, it is a great time to change up their bedding. Let your toddler pick out new ‘big kid’ sheets so they are a larger part of the process, and, if they are over 2 years of age, add a small pillow for extra comfort. Be sure to look for a crib mattress pad with plush, hypoallergenic cushioning for comfort and a waterproof barrier for easy-cleaning of anytime nighttime accidents or messes.
Help Keep Them in Bed
Adding a night light to baby’s room if you haven’t already can help make your toddler feel safe and secure; plus, if they get out of bed in the middle of the night, it keeps the nursery safer. Purchase an alarm clock that changes colors at a set time when it is OK for your little one to get up! This can help encourage your child to stay in bed at night and can make waking up more fun. Books about going to bed and sleeping in a toddler bed can also help teach baby to stay in bed through the night.
Remember, it’s important to be consistent and not get discouraged if your little one takes a few days to get comfortable with their new toddler bed. Upgrading their crib mattress and bedding, keeping a nighttime routine, and adding items such as a night light to their room, can help ease the transition from crib to toddler bed. Be sure to check out these helpful tips for creating a nursery that grows with baby, too!