When to transition to a toddler bed?
Here are a lot of the common reasons why parents switch to a toddler bed:
- There is another sibling coming and they need the crib for the baby
- Parents think that if they switch to a toddler bed their child will sleep better
- Child hates the crib
- Child hates feeling confined
- Because your Mom, friend, babysitter, etc. told you it is time for a bed
- Child is climbing out of the crib
- Potty training
- Child asked for a big kid bed
I DO NOT RECOMMEND SWITCHING TO A TODDLER BED UNTIL 2.5 (earliest)- 3 YEARS OLD!!!!
Here are some of the reasons:
- Impulse Control. Children do not start to possess impulse control until around 3 years of age. If their brains are telling them to get up out of bed and into your room, they are going to do so. If 30 seconds later, their brains are telling them to get out of their bed and into your room… guess what… they are going to do so again. Why? No impulse control.
- They do not understand imaginary boundaries. The crib presents black and white, physical boundaries that a baby and toddler can easily understand. When transitioning to a toddler bed too early the lack of boundaries can be extremely overwhelming and overstimulating to a child. There needs to be clear environmental boundaries.
- Safety!!! Parents often forget that when transitioning to a toddler bed, we need to make sure the room is 100% safe. Furniture is secured to the wall, no lamps or decors they can pull down and break, no cords, curtains securely fastened, no chairs or furniture they can climb on, outlets, toys, etc. When we transition our kiddos before the recommended age, because of lack of impulse control and understanding, their curiosity will get the best of them and start playing with items that are not safe.
- Before the recommended age, they do not understand the natural consequences. Being tired, getting hurt, waking everyone else up, etc.
- Lots of room for inconsistency. Incredibly confusing for a toddler.
- Because of inconsistency and being overwhelmed can create negative feelings around sleep.
- Because all of the above mentioned: they turn it into a game, extreme stalling and no we have created a new negative sleep association we were most likely trying to break in the first place.
- At 3 years of age, they can understand more and communicate much better.
- They do start to develop impulse control.
- Most have dropped their nap and sleep drive is much higher at night.
- They are old enough to be involved in the process and in return making them more excited and invested in the transition.
- Old enough to understand natural consequences.
- Understand and more involved in positive reinforcement.
Transitions are difficult for all ages. Let’s make this one a lot easier.