Moving to a Big Kid Bed

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There is no set time to transition your toddler from a crib to regular bed but anywhere from 2 to 3yrs old is appropriate. Although in my experience the closer to 3yrs old the better, because many children youger than 3 just arent ready for the added independence that a big kid bed gives them. I suggest making the transition when your toddler is to big or to active for the crib, or of course if he has been potty trained as he will need to be able to get out of bed to go potty during the night.

Another reason most parents are eager to transition to a big kid bed is because they fear there toddler jumping out of the crib. While this is a great safety concern I don't recommend that you run right out and get a regular bed for your toddler the first time he shows any interest in getting out of his crib, or if he does get out. He may not be ready for a big kid bed and it may not be any safer for him either.

I suggest that you get a Crib Tent; these attach to the crib with Velcro and are made with a see through mesh fabric. A lot of parents are worried about the Crib Tent being a barrier between them and their child, but if you make it exciting and interesting I can just about guarantee that your child will love it.

Another reason parents make the switch to a bed is the arrival of another baby. If this is your situation, make the switch at least 3-4 months before you're due. You want your toddler well settled in his new bed before he sees the baby taking over "his" crib. Or you could also consider delaying the switch until the new baby is 3 or 4 months old. Your newborn will probably spend those months sleeping in a bassinet anyway, and your toddler will have time to adjust to the new baby, making the transition to a bed easier when it does happen.

Be sure to base the timing of the switch on your child's readiness rather than on the need to free up the crib, however. Many parents find out to late that it would have been easier to borrow or buy another crib rather than move their older child to a bed before he was ready.

When it comes time to make the transition to the bed, get your child excited to be having a big kid bed by taking him with you so he can help pick it out. Also allow your child to pick his very own sheets and comforter cover in the patterns or characters that he wants. He can even help you pick out the bed rail for his safety too.

Also stick with the same routine that you've always done, leaving while your child is in bed but still awake. If your child gets up and comes into your room, calmly lead him back to bed and remind him that he must stay there. When he does get back into bed, tell him how cooperative he is and how pleased you are, and then leave the room. You may have to repeat these last two steps over and over, but if you stay calm, eventually he won't be so excited by the prospect of getting up and coming into your room.

Two of the biggest mistakes parents usually make when their kids move from the crib to the Big Kid Bed are suddenly changing the routine, such as lying next to your child until he falls asleep, and "rewarding" them by letting them climb into your bed or join the rest of the family in another part of the house.

If you give in, you'll be dealing with this issue night after night for weeks or even months, and no one wants that.

This is a big transition for your toddler and you, so think before jumping into a bed!

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