Wondering when to convert the crib to a toddler bed? Read these 5 signs your child is ready for a toddler bed to make transitioning easy!
Transitioning to a toddler bed isn’t always as clear-cut as you might think, won’t you agree?
You might find yourself shocked that your child has already found a way to climb out of the crib, never mind that she’s barely 18 months old. Perhaps she’s attached to the crib and you dread forcing her out of her bed.
You don’t like the idea that she’ll have access to get out of bed, concerned she’ll get into things she shouldn’t. You may have even discovered that she’s been moving items around the room to climb in and out of the crib on her own.
And sometimes, you’re faced with circumstances that make moving to a toddler bed convenient, but you’re not sure if she’s ready. Expecting a new baby is a common reason (especially when you don’t want to buy another crib) or can’t carry her in and out of one any more.
5 signs your child is ready for a toddler bed
Whether you want to keep your child in the crib as long as possible or need her out quickly, it’s normal to worry about her readiness.
Transitioning to a toddler bed also opens a new area of developmental milestones, from separation anxiety to fears of the dark. She might not be ready for a bed on so many levels, making you wonder whether you’re making the right choice.
So, how can you tell if she’s ready for the “big kid” bed? What signs do you look for to know that she’s ready to switch safely? Take a look at these five signs your child is ready for a toddler bed:
1. Your child jumps in the crib
Has your child started jumping in the crib, even in excitement? Does she rock the crib on her hands and knees, enough to jerk it forward and back?
While she may not be outwardly trying to get out of the crib, her movements show that she’s strong enough to do so. Based on her room arrangement, she might even be able to move the crib around or climb onto another piece of furniture.
If she’s been jumping or moving around in the crib, this might be a good sign she’s ready to transition to a toddler bed.
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2. Your child tries to climb out of the crib
Let’s say your child isn’t just moving around the crib, but actually trying to climb out of it. Even though she hasn’t actually accomplished the feat, this is a common sign she’s ready for a toddler bed.
Maybe she’s exercising her new ability to swing her leg over the rail, or has developed separation anxiety at night and tries to clamor out of the crib. Whether in fun or fear, her attempts to climb out could actually happen and find her out of bed.
3. Your child has climbed out of the crib
I transitioned my eldest to a toddler bed when I heard the dreaded “thud.” Not even two-years-old, he was crying next to his crib after he somehow figured out how to climb out of it.
For many parents, we don’t even see the initial attempts of climbing out of the crib—we simply see (or hear) that our kids have managed to get out. This is why the decision to move your child into a toddler bed can come so suddenly—you just weren’t expecting it.
But pediatricians agree that if she has already climbed out of the crib, moving her into a toddler bed is the safest next step.
That said, you could still try to exhaust other possibilities in the meantime. For instance, you can put her in a sleep sack, making it harder to climb out. Remove the wire frame of the crib and place the mattress all the way on the bottom.
But even these should be temporary fixes as you figure out the logistics of transitioning her into a toddler bed. Because at some point, even those will only buy you so much time before she successfully climbs out again.
And while she may have climbed out with nothing more than a few tears, the risks of injury are too high to wave these falls away.
4. Your child is getting too tall
Kids close to three feet tall might be getting too big for the crib. According to the New York Times:
“Most pediatricians recommend moving to a regular bed when a child is 34 to 36 inches tall or when the height of the crib rail is less than three quarters of his height because, at that point, he may be able to climb out on his own.”
Even if your child has shown no inclination in the past, her height simply makes it easier for her to climb out.
Another reason to take note of her height is that she may not be comfortable sleeping in the crib any longer. You may have delayed converting the crib into a toddler bed because she seems fine sleeping in it. But take a look at how well she sleeps and whether she’s able to stretch and move around comfortably.
If you find that she looks scrunched up in bed, it might be a good time to consider a bigger toddler bed or even a twin bed.
5. Your child asks for a big bed
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Let’s not discount your child’s interest in a big kid bed, either. Of course, you shouldn’t go out and buy a toddler bed just because she says she wants one without considering other factors. But if you notice that she’s asked for one or has mentioned it, you might consider this as one of the signs she’s ready.
Perhaps she asks for a big bed, and you also happen to be expecting a new baby. This could be a great opportunity to transition her into a big bed in time to use the crib for her little sibling.
Of course, you’ll want to baby proof the room now that he’s able to roam around outside of bed. Cover plugs, lock cabinets and drawers, and secure furniture that could topple over. And make sure the toddler bed has a rail, whether converted from the crib or one bought separately.
So many reasons factor into whether your child is ready for a toddler bed right now. Thankfully, you can turn to a few signs to signal that the transition is a good idea.
For instance, she might jump and move in the crib, so much that she can even nudge it a bit. She might have tried to climb out of the crib or even successfully done so. Her height could be a telltale sign that she’s outgrowing the crib, and finally, she might have even asked for a big bed outright.
Pay attention to these signs to convert to a toddler bed—you might be able to avoid that dreaded “thud” of a fall.
Get more tips:
- Toddler Bed vs Twin Bed: Which One to Choose
- 10 Things You Should Do when You Transition from a Crib to a Toddler Bed
- Transitioning to a Toddler Bed at 18 Months
- Toddler Bed Transition: Top 7 Items You Need when Your Child Resists
- What to Do When Your Toddler Climbs Out of the Crib
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