I can’t say that I followed a rule when it came to transitioning my child from a crib to bed. My reality was I got pregnant again. We decided the new baby would get the old crib and my two year old would get a bed.
I found a great online deal for a lofted bed with slide. I thought I would have 6-8 weeks to begin transition my 2 year old before the bed arrived. Nope, a week later the bed was delivered. I was in a nesting phase and the most logical idea was to assemble the new bed and move the crib as soon as possible.
Looking back, I could have easily stored the bed and spent time preparing my child but y’all remember the nesting phase. Things always seemed more urgent at that time.
I lucked out because my two year old was so excited to have a bed with a slide that she refused to sleep anywhere else. Since the bed was elevated I was nervous about her rolling off so I lined the side with stuff animals to act as bumper. Four year later the animals are still there. I even added some lights under the bed to make it more inviting for playtimes.
There are signs to watch for that could help you determine if your child is ready for a big kid bed. If your child is climbing out of their crib then for safety reasons it’s a good idea to consider either converting your crib to the next stage or changing to a bed closer to the ground.
Pediatrician Dr. Rodolfo Barrera of Pediatric Care of Austin recommends parents “monitor the baby’s movements while sleeping at about 2 years. If he is all over the bed while asleep then it is not a good time.” If you see that your child is pretty stationary at night then Dr. Barrerea recommends, “putting a mattress on the floor so that if [your child] does fall it will not be far. If he stays on the mattress for a period of time then it is ok to set up the bed.” For those interested in a more in depth discussion Dr. Barrera recommends the books Baby 411 and Toddler 411 by local author and pediatrician Ari Brown.
Now there is no guarantee that once transitioned into a toddler bed that your child will actually sleep in that bed. My youngest (2 years old) enjoys the freedom of being able to get out of bed no matter how much I try to personalize her space. If you’re facing a similar challenge try to find something that will that will encourage your kid to stay put. I’ve discovered that if I give my toddler my phone and let her watch an episode or two of her favorite show she is much more likely to stay in bed even after the phone is removed and eventually falls asleep. If you’re against electronic devices then consider a projection night light, flashlight or some other form of distraction that will keep your child occupied while lying down.