Is your child ready for a ‘big kid bed?’ This milestone can be quite exciting, but terrifying, for him. He may have trouble falling asleep, or suddenly develop a fear of the dark or of sleeping alone. And if your child can’t settle down, guess who he’s going to keep waking up at night? You, of course! Here are some ways to prepare your child for the switch, so both of you can have an easy transition.
Signs your child is ready for a big kid bed
It’s really a matter of personal choice; some kids are quite happy to sleep in their crib until they’re four years old! However, most doctors recommend making the switch to a big kid bed when the child is about two and a half or three years old, or about 35 inches tall.
You can also look for signs that your crib is no longer a safe place to leave your child: he can get out of it easily, and likes to lean over and reach for things. Another good indicator is that he sleeps through the night and has a pretty regular bedtime routine.
How to choose a big kid bed
You have plenty of options! Junior beds are low-lying and come with guard rails, very safe—but also easy to outgrow. Trundle beds have a top and bottom mattress which you can pull out. This can cushion him when he falls, and when he’s older he can use it for sleepovers. Some parents just place a mattress on the floor, then buy a bedframe when the child is older and won’t fall.
Tips for a smooth transition
Let your child pick the bed and some cute comforters or pillowcases. If you’re buying a bed so you can use the crib for a new baby, avoid sibling jealousy by starting the transition at least two months before you give birth.
And, during the shift, keep the other bedtime routines as constant as possible: ex. three bedtime stories, lights out at 8:30 p.m. If your child gets out of bed, lead him back and gently but firmly tell him he has to stay there until morning.