Maybe your toddler just discovered that they can climb out of their crib (is anyone else not ready for their kiddo to have that kind of freedom??), maybe you need to make room in the crib for a new baby, or perhaps you'd just like to transition them into a real bed. Whatever your reason, it can be a tricky transition. Here a some tips to make the switch as easy, and safe, as possible:
- Choose a new bed. Once a child is able to climb out of a crib it is no longer safe to let them sleep in one (in case they fall while climbing out). Many cribs are designed to transition into a toddler bed by removing one side of the crib and securing a post in its place. If not, you can purchase a separate toddler bed and put your crib mattress in it. You can also just transition them right into a twin-sized bed if you'd prefer. In our case we had another baby on the way so we opted to get our daughter a twin sized bed to save costs in the long run. If you decide to get a twin sized bed, you may need to get them a step stool to help them get up on the bed and show them how to safely slide off the bed on their stomach.
- Line the sides of the bed with pillows until they get the hang of things. Falling off the bed isn't the end of the world but it can definitely knock the wind out of you. Might as well give them some pillows to soften the blow until they get used to the fact that the crib rail is no longer holding them in.
- Remove the toys. If their toys are easily accessible they'll probably decide that playing is more fun than sleeping. Try putting a child lock on their closet and locking the toys in there when it's time to sleep. You may be surprised at the things your child suddenly deems as a toy–my toddler decided that our big bottle of hand sanitizer on our changing table would be fun to play with.
- Secure the door. You can either put a gate in front of their door or put a child lock on their door knob (we use this one on her side of the door but depending on the shape of your door knob you may need this kind instead). For us, this step was a game changer–once she realized that wandering the house wasn't an option she got straight back into bed. You can have a baby monitor in there so that you can hear when they get up (just make sure that the placement of the monitor cords don't pose a strangulation risk).
- Child-proof their bedroom. You may have already done this when your child first gained mobility but it doesn't hurt to double-check that their room (and the rest of your house for that matter) is as safe as it can be. Secure any heavy furniture (such as dressers and book cases) to the wall so that the child can't pull the furniture onto themselves. This isn't something I originally would've thought of when child-proofing but then I read a story of a child that was killed by a dresser (SO SAD!). Put outlet covers over your power outlets (these are my favorites because you don't have to pull them out like socket plugs). If you have blinds make sure that the cords are up high so that they don't pose a strangulation risk (see this video for more details on the risk). You can buy products for this but I just wrapped the cords around 2 push pins like this:
And there you have it! Good luck mommas! Hope everyone in your family gets lots of shut-eye tonight!
What are YOUR Tips and Tricks for Transitioning to a Toddler Bed????