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Transitioning from the Crib to a Bed

Transitioning from the Crib to a Bed

The transition from crib to bed is more than just a change in sleeping arrangements – it's a major milestone separating infancy from childhood. There's really no set time for leaving the crib, but most children make the move somewhere between the ages of 18 months and 3. If your child has outgrown the crib or is repeatedly trying to climb over the sides, it's time for a bed. Another good reason for the switch is to facilitate bathroom trips once potty training begins. Perhaps the most common motivation is the imminent arrival of a new sibling. Whenever you decide to make the move, providing a bed that's as comforting as it is comfortable will keep your child safe and ease the transition for everyone.

Make it feel cozy and welcoming

A twin bed can seem large after a crib, so pile blankets or stuffed animals at either end to make it cozier. Some parents prefer to start with a toddler bed, which has the same size mattress as a crib but has open sides so the child can get used to climbing into and out of bed independently. A toddler bed also lets the child get accustomed to sleeping in a bed that is made up with a flat sheet, blankets and a quilt.

Place the bed against a wall to give your child a feeling of security. If space allows, choose a bed frame with a tall headboard and footboard, or a sleigh bed to emulate the comforting walls of a crib.

Take safety into consideration

A guardrail on the side of the bed that's away from the wall will prevent your child from rolling out of bed at night. You could also place several large pillows on the floor next to the bed, or, if the bed has a trundle with a mattress, pull it out so there's a soft landing spot.

Check your childproofing. Now that your little one isn't confined at night, make sure there are no hazards in the room, or in other areas he has access to. Make sure to keep tall furniture away from the bed to prevent him from trying to climb onto it.

Think Like a Toddler

Keep in mind that he probably isn't going to be able to resist experimenting with getting out of bed and exploring his surroundings after you've shut out the lights, so you may want to aim for a bedtime that's 15 minutes earlier for a little while.

Position a nightstand within easy reach. It will provide a convenient place for bedtime stories and a cup of water if your

child wakes up thirsty. If the bed is high, place a step stool nearby to make it easier to get in and out.

If your child wants to keep using an old crib blanket for a while, let him, even if it's too small. Its familiarity will be reassuring. Some kids find a sleeping bag comforting, since it hugs them more securely.