Monday, February 25, 2013

Taming The Toddler Bed

You’ve lowered the crib mattress as low as it can go, but your little one still manages to catapult himself out of his crib with ease; it might be time to consider curbing the crib and taming the toddler bed.

When preparing your home for this milestone, be sure you really consider the timing. If your toddler is already overwhelmed with other huge changes in his life like potty training, moving homes, changing schools, new sibling, etc., you might want to consider waiting until things slow down a bit. Toddlers have a tendency to get overwhelmed easily and will look for comfort in familiar spaces and things. Because of this, when it’s time to give up his crib, it might be best to wait until this is the only big change happening for maximum success.

In preparation for the big switch, it’s necessary to keep your toddler involved in the process. Discuss it with them at length, letting them know what to expect and what you expect from them (like staying in their bed all night). Perhaps, give them a vote on picking out their new bed, if that’s an option and let them help with putting their new bed together. The point is to get them excited about the new change and becoming a “big kid”.

Additional tips on choosing a toddler bed: If your child is going into a proper toddler bed, look for something close to the ground with sturdy side rails. For regular twin and full beds, side rails can be purchased separately from any specialty baby store.

When introducing the bed for the first time, keep everything else in the process the same as always. Same nap time or bed time routine, same sheets, blankets and favorite toys as always; and some experts even suggest placing the crib in the same spot as the crib was so the view from inside will be the same.

Most importantly, be patient. This is a big change for this little person. Aside from ditching the diaper, this will be the biggest change he will be going through. The trick is to stay calm, be reassuring, and prepare yourself for nighttime visits. When this happens quietly walk him back to his room with a kiss and a hug and then leave. Any lingering or prolonged cuddling will only encourage this behavior.

Last, it is a good idea to take extra safety precautions around your home now that your toddler has been freed from the crib. As much as we would love for them to listen to us when we say “stay in your bed,” we all know that toddlers often times have a mind of their own. If your child knows how to unlock and open outside doors, you might want to consider installing latch locks at the top of doors. Locking bathroom doors, refrigerators, and ensuring dangerous and/or expensive items are put out of reach is also a good idea.

Your toddler might know better than to climb on the counter and grab a permanent marker when you’re standing right there, but all bets are off at three in the morning. Rule of thumb, as always, is better safe than sorry. If you find that staying in bed is becoming an issue, consider a reward system similar to potty training, anything to keep the process and positive and happy one.

Good night and good luck!

This guest post is written by Nicole Yontz. Nicole Yontz is a stay at home mom in Arizona, a contributing parenting writer for and a personal blogger at

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