When Should You Transition Your Child From a Crib to a Bed?

by | May 8, 2020 | Sleep Challenges | 0 comments

The transition from a crib to a bed can be an exciting milestone for your little one to reach. But how do you know if he’s ready?

A mom in the My Sleeping Baby Facebook Community asked a great question that I want to address:

“Is there anything wrong with keeping a 3.5 year-old in a crib? I don’t want to transition him from a crib to a bed just yet. He doesn’t climb out, sleeps through the night, doesn’t ask for a big boy bed, and loves his crib. He doesn’t have older siblings, so I’m not even sure he knows about the transition to big boy bed. He doesn’t like change in general. So I think if we let him stay there until he’s four, he’d be fine. He wakes up dry and doesn’t use the bathroom at night. Is there a reason to transition him to a big boy bed that I’m missing?”

To answer this mom quickly- NOPE. There is NOTHING wrong with keeping a 3.5 year-old is a crib. As many of you know, I’m a huge advocate of keeping toddlers and preschoolers in cribs for as long as it’s feasibly possible. I mean, my middle child was in a crib until her 4th birthday!

Here’s why I recommend holding off the transition to a bed for as long as possible:

Reason 1. Toddlers usually can’t handle the freedom a bed offers

The reality is that the majority of these cuties do not have the maturity to handle the freedom offered by a bed. Toddlers are not exactly known for their impulse control- it’s not their strong suit 🙂

So, when you prematurely transition your child to a bed, you are giving him the freedom to leave his bed and the bedroom whenever he pleases. This is NOT something you want him to be able to do. It can cause all sorts of new sleep problems that you DO NOT want in the long-run. Trust me.

Reason 2. The crib makes many toddlers feel secure at nighttime

The crib provides many toddlers and preschoolers with a sense of security. I can’t tell you how often I have parents reaching out to me for help because their toddler, who previously fell asleep nicely on their own in their crib, suddenly wants the parent to stay in the room until he falls asleep. And this is ALL happend after he was transitioned to a bed!

This scenario tells me that the child isn’t ready for a bed just yet. Perhaps he’ll be ready soon, but you’re better off getting him back into the crib asap!

Reason 3. You can avoid unnecessary nightwakings

See, here’s the reality. If you’ve started sitting next to your child in his new bed until he falls asleep, there’s a good chance he’ll start to wake up at night and look for you. Your child may think, “Hey, where did mom go? Where did dad go? They were right there while I fell asleep,”. This can lead to all kinds of unwanted nighttime visits…ALL because of their new-found freedom to leave their bed and room.

The last thing you want is to find yourself returning your kid to his bed over and over and over again.

There’s no rush!

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Don’t bother getting youg kid into a bed if he’s sleeping beautifully in his crib. Just leave well enough alone.

And if your toddler or preschooler is giving you sleep troubles in their crib, transitioning them to a bed will likely worsen the problem. 

“But Eva- we need the crib for the new baby!” Listen up- if you have another baby on the way and your older one is only going to be 2-2.5 years-old, buy a second crib. It’s not worth dealing with a whole slew of additional sleep problems with your toddler when you’ve got a newborn at home. You’re going to experience double the amount of exhaustion! Just go the safe route and keep your little one in a crib.

You’re welcome!

In Conclusion

There’s NO race to transition your child from a crib to a bed. Keep your little one in that crib for as long as possible. Most toddlers need the physical boundaries keeping them contained, most feel more secure in a crib, and most sleep best in a crib! Take the easy way out here!

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