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Bed Time For Big Kids

Tiny toddlers grow into ‘big kids’ quickly, and before you know it, it is time to make the switch from crib to regular bed. The process can be stressful for both parents and children, but there are ways to make the process easier.

How do you know when the time is right to make the move? For Sandia Ramsaywack, a mother of two in Scarborough, Ontario, it was the fear that her daughter would be injured. “My rambunctious two-year-old was trying to climb out of her crib,” she says. “I was afraid of her tumbling head first out of the crib and seriously hurting herself.”

You should consider ditching the crib if:

  • Your child is strong enough to climb out of the crib
  • You are making room for a new baby in the house
  • Your toddler is potty training and needs access to the bathroom at night (the bathroom door should stay closed and your child can come get you for help)
  • Your child is able to self soothe and can go back to sleep on his own when he wakes in the middle of the night

The transition is easier for some than others. Both of Ramsaywack’s kids enjoyed the change. “It allowed for bonding at bedtime,” she explains. “It was very comfy to get into bed together and read bedtime stories. We talk a little and pray.”

For other parents and children, it is a little more difficult. Make the change as smooth as possible for your kids.

Go shopping together. Have your child come with you to pick out the bed. If he is old enough, maybe he can even help assemble the new furniture.

Keep the bed in the same spot. Placing the new bed where the crib was can make your child feel more secure.

Let them choose their bedding. Spiderman or Dora bed sheets can make having a new bed more fun. However, your child may feel more comfortable using the old blankets from their crib.

Show off the new bed. When guests come over, let your child brag about the new bed. Friends and family that show excitement over the bed may encourage your child to use it.

Childproof the house. If your child is able to get out of bed on his own, install baby gates around the house, especially at tops and bottoms of staircases. You may want to keep the baby monitor in the room.

If you are getting a bed because a new baby is on the way, tread lightly. Your child may feel that the new addition is taking over his territory. Set the new bed up two or three months before the arrival of the new sibling. This way, your child won’t feel as though he has been ‘kicked out’ of his area.

If the new baby has already arrived, dismantle the crib entirely and have the baby sleep in a bassinet, while your older child sleeps in the new big-kid bed. When the time comes that the baby needs a crib, ask your older child to help rebuild the crib.

What bed should I choose?

Toddler Bed: A small bed built especially for little ones, often created with fun designs. It comes with rails on all sides.

Mattress on the Floor: A great option if you think your child might fall out of bed. Once he is used to it, place the mattress on the regular bed.

Regular (Twin) Bed: Children can use twin beds for years, so they are more practical than toddler beds. Purchase rails for the sides of the bed to prevent falls, but make sure there is a place where your child can get out of bed easily.

Bunk Bed: A bunk bed is probably not a great choice. You are just asking for nasty falls. Save the bunk bed for your older kids, but still keep an eye on them.

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