Getting Ready for a Big Kid Bed
Is your child ready for a big kid bed? This can be an exciting time for you both! As a parent of a toddler, you’re already used to thinking about safety with each big transition your child makes. Here are a few tips to help you make this change with confidence.
Prevent accidents by moving medicines and other hazards into a locked closet or up high, and completely out of a child's reach.
WHEN SHOULD WE LOOK FOR A BIG KID BED?
If you want to use a high chair with your young baby, be sure to purchase a reclining high chair or low chair. Reclining chairs support little bodies, and are the only chairs that should be used before a baby can sit up alone. Reclining chairs allow you and your baby to gaze at each other – a delightful part of the bonding process. Babies should be stable sitters before being placed in non-reclining high chairs. This means they should be able to hold their heads and spines up by themselves. Many babies begin to sit up between four and six months of age. This creates a perfect match of child development and parenting because it is the same age range the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends for starting solid foods. Using a high chair at this age gives you freedom of movement while you help your child discover healthy first foods. Many parents also wipe their babies’ gums or brush their toddlers’ teeth while children sit in their high chairs. Using your high chair for several tasks makes it easier to care for your baby.
OTHER SIGNS OF READINESS
- Your child refuses to stay in the crib.
- Your child expresses some interest in a family member’s or friend’s bed or asks about sleeping in one. They may also start to talk about cribs being “for babies”.
Parents know their child best and will often be able to easily tell when this transition can go smoothly, but it’s a good rule of thumb to make sure the child isn’t working on another big transition at the same time, such as potty training or starting preschool.
If you need to move your toddler to make room for a new baby, just make sure to allow plenty of time for your child to adjust. Remember, if you truly feel your toddler isn’t ready, for this step there are a few other options. You can buy or borrow another crib, use a specially designed toddler bed, or put a mattress on the floor as an in between solution.
BIG BED SAFETY
The bed you select for your child should be of quality construction. It should meet any applicable Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines and any state or federal laws regarding materials content, and flammability. NOTE: bunk beds are not safe choices for toddlers and preschoolers.
Once you have found an appropriate bed, you can increase safety with a bed rail. Using a bed rail on the open sides of a bed until your child is older can help too. Many bed rail models can be lowered by an adult which makes things easier for parents whether to make the bed or to get their child safely tucked in. A bed rail can also make things easier for kids. Some are still used to the physical boundaries offered by a crib and using a bed rail can help them feel comfortable and secure.
Most toddlers will get out of bed at night at least a few times until they learn the rules. Since you have already made their room a safe environment, using a safety gate to keep them inside if they start wandering can be a good idea. Just make sure it’s one they can’t climb. Night lights are a necessity and can provide just enough visibility to move around safely.
The transition to a big kid bed is another milestone to be proud of, for both you and your child. With help from you, they’ll feel at home in their new bed in no time.