While there is no ‘perfect age’ to make this switch, my usual recommendation is to hold on to the crib as long as possible! Cribs are great!
Fortunately and unfortunately however with age comes independence and your little one may be yearning for a big girl/ boy bed.
We usually recommend as close to 3 as possible, especially for boys. Before this age most toddlers are not ready for the responsibilities of a bed, and moving them too early may lead to sleep disruptions. Once the switch is made, your little one now has the option of getting out of bed whenever they want. This can be at bedtime after you have put them to sleep, in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Therefore I encourage parents to wait till their child is at an age where they can understand boundaries and bedtime rules, such as, ‘stay in bed till morning time.’
Having said all of that, if your little one is a skilled climber and no matter what you do they find a way out ( tips discussed later), this may be done sooner. Safety is the priority, and so making the transition before 3, may be necessary.
Here are some questions that might make you consider the transition.
1. Baby number two is on the way, how about now?
So let’s talk about what to do if baby number two is on the way and your toddler is younger than 3 years old. This is a valid reason for thinking it’s a good time to move them, however I want you to consider one of these two options before doing so;
I want you to also consider that moving your toddler before they are ready for their younger sibling can leave your toddler feeling pushed aside. To avoid feelings of resentment towards their younger sibling, I recommend waiting till your toddler is a bit older and starts showing interest in their big boy/girl bed and happy to leave the crib behind for their younger sibling.
2. My little one has started climbing, should I make the switch now?
The one situation that makes it necessary to make the switch earlier is if your little one has become a very skilled climber and it is no longer safe for them to stay in their crib. If your little one has just started to climb, here are a few tips to prevent climbing and hopefully postpone making the switch too early:
3. My little one does not like their crib, and wakes multiple times. Will moving them to a bed solve the problem?
Often I’ve heard parents making the switch too early thinking it will improve their little ones night sleep. The truth is, if your little one is waking multiple times at night, it is unlikely due to them not liking their crib and more likely due to the fact that they just have not developed independent sleep skills. Therefore moving them to a bed that now has no railings means they will still be waking multiple times at night but instead of crying out to you, they will jump out of bed and come looking for you. Helping your little one to become an independent sleeper will not only help them stay in their crib longer, but will also make the transition a lot easier when the time comes to make the switch. Reach out to one of our consultants if you need help teaching your little one these skills.
Only if you have tried these things and your little one is still able to climb out, should you make the switch before they are really ready. If you find yourself having to move them before they are ready and are struggling to keep your little one in their bed, reach out to us. We love working with cheeky little toddlers who for one reason or the other have had to be moved into a big girl/ boy bed a bit earlier than expected.
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