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Making the switch from a crib to a bed

Most toddlers make the switch between the ages of 1½ to 3½. However, experts suggest waiting until a child is around 3. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends making the move as soon as the crib rail can be climbed over or when the crib rail falls below chest level if your child can stand in the crib.

  • Take it slow. It might take anywhere from one night to a few months for your toddler to get used to a bed. Be patient, and make it more comfortable by placing his or her new bed where the crib used to be or by using the same blankets from the crib.
  • Make it exciting. Let your toddler help pick out the bed. If the bed is a hand-me-down from a sibling, tell your child he or she is growing up just like his or her brother or sister.
  • Establish rules. Let your child know that everyone sleeps in his or her own bed but that its OK to come find you if he or she wakes up. Set rules for getting out of bed and going to the bathroom.
  • Create bedtime rituals. This can include washing up, hugs and kisses or reading a story. Routines will help your child transition into bedtime.

Safety first! The AAP recommends starting with a junior bed or any bed that’s as low to the ground as possible. The bed should have removable side rails to prevent a fall. Make sure there’s carpet below the bed to soften a fall. Place a night light in your toddler’s room, the hall, your bedroom and the bathroom nearest to your child.