Saying good-bye to your child’s crib is a big milestone, a very bittersweet one. There is no specific recommended age for transitioning to a toddler bed. Some parents do it as early as 15 months and others not until after 3 years.
I remember with Summer she was about 18 months and had gotten her leg stuck during one nap, so the transition started and was fairly easy all things considered.
Recently I spoke with children’s sleep consultant Rebecca Michi on The Mom Files Podcast and she explained that a good time to transition is either around the 18 month mark or waiting until around 3 and a half if you are able to and babe is safely sleeping in their crib. The reason for this is the stage of development your child his around the age of 2 and it made perfect sense. I definitely recommend checking the episode out if you are in the middle of sleep battles with your littles.
Back to the point .. when you’re ready to make the switch it’s important to remember that a tired & cranky toddler is especially difficult and will not accommodate well to change.
We got Lincoln used to the new bed by talking about what was going to happen. I took him shopping for new blankets and a special pillow that would make the space what he wanted (which was all things Spider-Man). Night one I made the rookie mistake of just putting him into his bed and kissing him goodnight. That first night I nearly put the crib back together before regrouping and coming up with a plan.
It has been important to keep our bedtime routine. We still cuddle on the rocking chair first, then he gets in bed and I sing him his song. We talk about how he is going to stay in bed, and we go over what will happen when it’s morning time.
The Big Challenge: Getting Your Little One to Stay in Bed
Staying in bed for the night was settled in with a few days, however .. having him sleep his usually hours was difficult. While in his crib he would sleep until 8am and all of a sudden he was getting out of bed before 5 am to crawl into our bed. We now have a gate in place at his door, and this has him back to his usual schedule – he gets up and puts on his light and then settles back in his bed.
Most importantly, praise your child for the success and continue to talk them through these new changes. It can be scary when things change for big people. Imagine what it’s like for our littles.