Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old, your child will transition from a crib to their very first big kid bed. This is an exciting, albeit nerve-racking, phase of development that certainly has its challenges.
As a new parent, one of the worst ways to be woken up in the middle of the night is hearing a loud thump—the sound of your toddler climbing and falling out of their crib. To avoid this scary situation, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of the signs that your child is ready to move from crib to bed.
While most pediatricians recommend keeping your child in their crib as long as possible and waiting until age 3 to make the transition, it all depends on your child’s development. If your toddler is 34 to 36 inches tall or the height of the crib rail is less than three quarters of their height, it’s time to switch. In both cases, your toddler will soon realize it’s possible to climb right out of the crib.
How can I make the transition from crib to bed go more smoothly?
To make your little one’s transition to a big kid bed a safe and fun experience, here are several tried-and-true tips from parents that can help the process go more smoothly.
1. Get your toddler involved from the very start
As we all know, kids love activities, so why not use their new big kid bed as another source of fun in their bedroom? If you involve your toddler in every step of the process—from shopping for the bed itself to choosing new pillows to making their bed with you for the first time—it’s key to make the new bed appear exciting. In other words, your toddler should feel like the bed is a reward, not something strange or uncertain.
2. Choose the best organic mattress
In addition to buying bedding that matches your child’s current likes and interests, choosing the right organic mattress is essential to the process. Naturepedic’s 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress or “dual-firmness” mattress is a great option, as it has a soft side built in for big kid beds. Because it is so soft, you can also place the mattress on the floor as an interim step before moving it onto a bed frame. This way, your toddler can get used to sleeping on it without any fear of them rolling out of bed and falling to the floor.
3. Stick to the same nightly routine
Using a consistent bedtime schedule each night is critical to a smooth crib-to-bed transition. The New York Times recommends five basic steps: bedtime snack, bath or washing up, teeth brushing, final bathroom trip, and reading one or two books together in your child’s room. Then, it’s time for sleep.
Whether in their crib or new big kid bed, your toddler should feel slightly drowsy at this stage; if they’re not settled, you can tell them that they can play quietly in their bed. Letting them know that their bed is a safe zone, where they can not just sleep but hang out and play with their stuffed animals or other toys, will make them more comfortable—both literally and figuratively!
4. Child-proof the rest of their bedroom
Once you make the change to a big kid bed, your curious little toddler now has free reign of their bedroom at all hours of the night. Hopefully, they’ll be fast asleep and sleep through the night, but if they happen to wake up and wander around their room, you don’t want them to get into anything dangerous. Here are just a few child-proofing steps to consider:
- Remove floor lamps and make sure any table lamps won’t fall over.
- Add a nightlight (that stays cool to the touch!) so your toddler can move around their room safely in the dark.
- Make sure all electrical outlets have sliding covers and secure any cords.
- Block all access to radiators and heaters.
- Use drawer stops and furniture anchors so your toddler can’t climb on or tip over dressers, bookcases, or tables.
- Remove heavy items that could potentially fall on your toddler.
- Add bumpers to all sharp corners.
- Make sure all window strings or cords are less than 12 inches long.
To check out more expert tips from parents on big kid bed transitioning, read our past Q&A about making the crib-to-bed change.
Not only is our 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress the comfiest option for your toddler’s first big kid bed, but it even has a waterproof side to help with bed-wetting. Learn more about our 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress on our website.