As much as you love your children, they can’t remain babies forever. Each milestone represents a bittersweet mix of pride at your children’s accomplishments and sadness that your baby is growing up. Whether your child has outgrown the crib physically, emotionally or both, he or she will ultimately need to learn to sleep in a standard bed. This transition is often far more complicated than it should be, between the safety considerations involved in choosing a bed and nerves felt by both you and your little one. If you think your child is ready to ditch the crib once and for all, here are some ways to help ensure a smooth transition from crib to bed.
Choose an Appropriate Mattress
All mattresses are not created equal. Somehow, though, parents seem to forget this when they are selecting beds for their children. Unfortunately, a poorly-constructed mattress will be harmful for the sleep patterns of kids. With sleep being so important during these developmental years, take some time to compare types of mattresses so that you are able to purchase one that fits perfectly with your child’s unique needs.
Find a Fun Bed Frame
Toddler beds have the coolest frames to help get kids excited to use them. From the stereotypical race car bed to creations resembling pirate ships and castles, frames have the potential to capture your child’s imagination. Don’t be afraid to let them use their creativity!
Select Inviting Sheets and Blankets
As with the frame, sheets, comforters and even pillows can make a huge impact in how welcoming a new bed is for a young child. Stick to soft sheets and pillow cases featuring colors or patterns your child appreciates. If your child has a special blanket that usually resides in the crib, moving it to the new bed will provide an extra level of security.
Install a Side Rail
Often, it is the very bars on the crib that provide the largest sense of security for the child sleeping there. That feeling can be replicated in a toddler bed with the installation of a side rail. This rail also has the added benefit of preventing your child from tumbling out of the bed during the night.
Let Older Siblings Set the Example
Often younger children will actually be excited to transition to toddler beds, simply because they want to experience anything and everything their older siblings already enjoy. If your child shares a room with an older sibling, they’re likely to already be very familiar with toddler beds and may be able to make the transition with little difficulty. If each child has they’re own room, you may want to have the older sibling introduce the younger child to the concept of a big-kid bed, perhaps even letting the younger sibling give the larger bed a test run during nap time.
Avoid Sudden Changes
For a child attached to his or her crib, few things are more traumatic than entering the bedroom to find that the crib has suddenly disappeared and been replaced with a larger, scarier bed. If possible, place the toddler bed in the room before the crib is removed and let both remain there for at least a few days.