Time to Leave the Crib?

Make an easy transition when your toddler is ready for a “big bed."

By FamilyTime


Is your little one thrashing about in his crib? Does she wake up in the morning and start rattling the crib's sides or try to climb over them? Does the crib seem cramped?

It’s time for that big boy or big girl bed!

The Transition

The transition from crib to bed is a major one in the life of a baby and his parents. Cribs make babies and parents feel safe: The child is contained and secure, yet while we may yearn to keep them in a crib until they turn 21, it’s just not possible!

Talk to your youngster about the change to come. Make it sound both exciting and normal. You don’t want your child to be nervous or alarmed by the idea. If there are older siblings, ask them to encourage the baby, too.

At bedtime, be sure to stay with your child as he falls asleep in his new bed. Lie down next to him, or sit on the mattress and rub his back or read a book until he drifts off. Be prepared for middle-of-the-night summonses when he might wake up in his “strange” bed.

In a few days or weeks, she will have forgotten all about the “baby crib.” Let her know how proud you are that she is sleeping in a big bed.

The Bed

If your child sleeps in your room or in your bed, start transitioning him to his own room by putting the crib mattress on the floor near your bed. Make it up with familiar bedding and set the child’s favorite stuffed animal or blankie on it.

If the child already sleeps in his own room, do the same, although you may opt to set up a toddler bed or put its larger mattress on the floor. The floor insures your little one won’t hurt herself if she falls out of bed (and she will!). Many toddler beds are equipped with rails, which pretty much accomplish the same thing.

As your toddler gets used to his bed and you both feel comfortable, set up a “real” bed, with a frame and box spring. This will be his bed for years to come. Make a big deal out of it by buying a new set of sheets or a colorful pillowcase, or making it with a favorite bedspread.

Before you know it, your toddler will be a little kid who happily crawls into his or her bed every night. Tuck in. Sweet dreams!