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Is My Child Ready For A Toddler Bed?

Is My Child Ready For A Toddler Bed?

Children grow at varied rates, and whether they shy away from the thought of a toddler bed or simply cannot wait to wave goodbye to their cot, their journey will be unique.

Although there are recommended guidelines for children’s beds and when to transition, no one understands their child quite like a loving parent. You’ve been there by their side every minute of their growth from birth; if anyone can identify a natural cause for change in their babies, it’s their parents.

Transitioning your child into their first toddler bed is daunting, with many parents feeling overwhelmed by when and how to do it. Fear not; the experts at Happy Beds and sleep expert Dr Katherine Hall are here to help. Here are a few key signs your child is ready for a toddler bed (and tips for when they may not be).

Baby And Toddler

What are the signs your child needs a toddler bed?

Although each child’s sleeping journey will be different, there are some common signs that they are ready for a toddler bed, such as:

They’ve grown too big for their bed

One of the most evident signs that your child is ready to move on is that they’re simply growing out of their cot. Each night you place your little ones into their cot for a cosy night’s sleep, they have grown a little more, and you will begin to notice a change in how big they appear to be in their tiny cots.

This is one of the first signs parents notice as their arms and legs grow and start reaching the corners of their kids mattress. When did they get so big?

They're trying to escape their cot

With growing comes more independence, and with more independence comes more mischief! Your child may begin to attempt to climb the sides of their cot in the hope of escape and freedom.

When your little ones start doing this, it is probably time to transition them into their new toddler bed. Climbing and trying to escape shows a decreased tolerance to the enclosed space and a threat of injury. This is usually when parents panic but do not fear - buying a toddler bed has never been easier with the beauty of online shopping!

They're showing interest in a big bed

At around the same time, as transitioning occurs, your child will have developed speech and can now understand certain concepts. They’ve seen your large bed compared to their tiny cot, and, by nature, they want to imitate you and gain a little more independence.

Be sure to listen out for signs they are interested in having their toddler bed. You can take this as an opportunity to engage them with the process and have them select their bed, making the transition much more pleasant for both of you. If they show signs of stress or fear at the concept of a toddler bed, they are likely not ready for the big change. Don’t force them into it; give them time and slowly introduce them to the idea.

They keep crying

As they develop their unique personalities, they can express their likes and dislikes (quite dramatically, sometimes). If your little one is showing negativity towards their cot, such as a reluctance to get in or crying to get out, they may be ready for a toddler bed. It’s all about listening to your child and understanding what makes them happy and comfortable.

How can you test if your child is ready for a toddler bed?

If your child isn’t showing the above more obvious signs, there are some ways of testing whether they’re ready to move to a toddler bed. Try out the below:

Check if they're okay with a bigger bed

Nothing is as fulfilling as watching your child grow and develop independence. If you notice that your child is comfortable and responsible enough to be unsupervised, they may be ready for their first toddler bed.

One of the most daunting things about transitioning your child to their bed can be the worry of leaving them alone for an entire night; regular checks will ensure things are all okay until you’re fully confident that your little one can handle the whole night’s sleep unsupervised - a proud moment for all involved!

Test if they understand the boundaries of a bed

Place your child in a bed and examine their behaviour - what do they tend to do? If they actively try to climb out of bed and avoid settling down at all costs, they are most likely not ready for independent sleeping. They should be happy in a toddler bed if they stay in bed without supervision.

This test allows you to identify if your child has grasped an understanding of boundaries. If achieved, they can sleep in a bed without clear cot barriers having to keep them contained.

How are they sleeping?

When making such a big decision as a cot transition, conducting a little analysis before the big move is always beneficial. Take some time to analyse how your child is sleeping - are they showing signs of distress, or are they sleeping well? Their sleeping issues could be resolved with a new sleeping solution, which may be the go-ahead to introduce independent sleeping.

Remember, it’s all about experimenting. You must transition children into a toddler bed at no certified age. So, if they show no signs of unhappiness in their cot at a young age, there’s no reason to force it.

Are they being toilet trained?

Naturally, a child grows and slowly makes their way through the endless skills needed for human survival. Most of the time, toilet training will arise around the same time a toddler bed is beginning to be considered. If your child is well on the way to becoming a toilet expert, consider opting for a toddler bed. This will make it easier for them to reach the bathroom if needed and make toilet training more accessible for them to understand.

To summarise, your child could be ready for a toddler bed if:

  • They’re growing too large for their existing crib.
  • They’re climbing or attempting to climb out of their cot.
  • They’re showing an interest in a bigger bed.
  • They’re becoming restless or uncomfortable while in their cot.
  • You think they’re responsible enough to sleep in a bed unsupervised.
  • They have demonstrated they understand the boundaries of a bed.
  • They sleep well independently.
  • They are toilet-trained or almost toilet-trained.

They might not be ready for a toddler bed just yet if:

  • Their existing crib is the right fit for them.
  • They’re not interested in a larger bed or are not attempting to climb their cot.
  • They sleep well in their existing cot.
  • They try to escape from a bed when placed on one or fail to settle down.

How to choose a toddler bed

If you’ve decided it’s the right time for your child to move to a toddler bed, you may need to invest in a toddler bed. We say may as you might not need to invest in a new bed frame if you’ve previously purchased a cot bed that converts into a toddler bed. If you have, then you simply need to follow the instructions from the manufacturer to convert it to a bed from a cot.

If you are looking for a new toddler bed frame, you can make bedtimes more appealing for your little one by opting for a character or themed bed frame. Whether they’re into trucks or princesses, we stock a variety of toddler beds that can add excitement to bedtime.

Most toddler beds are low to the ground with higher sides (although not as high as the rails of a cot) to prevent your little one from falling out of bed. All toddler beds available here at Happy Beds are thoroughly tested in line with EU guidelines, so you have peace of mind your child is safe.

How to encourage your child to stay in their toddler bed

There are some tips you can use to your advantage to help encourage your child to stay in their toddler bed. If your child resists, it may be because they’re not ready to move to their new bed.

  • Explain clearly how long they should stay in their bed. For example, they can get up when they are finished sleeping in the morning or after their nap if they need the toilet or feel unwell. Setting clear boundaries early will help your child understand how they need to use their bed.
  • Create a bedtime routine that they can enjoy. Reading your child a bedtime story, singing songs with them, or having a few minutes to chat with them are simple ways of winding them down for sleep and creating an association of calm with their bed.
  • Allow your child to have their favourite soft toy in bed with them. This can be a great comfort, especially as they start sleeping in a different bed. It can also be a comfort should they wake through the night.
  • It’s natural for your child to feel uneasy in the dark; it’s associated with the monster under the bed. Using a night light can make your child feel more comfortable, especially if they wake up in the middle of the night.

Your child needs to get into the routine of staying in their toddler bed, so you may need to repeat the above several times before they accept it as their usual routine. Stick with it, though; it’s all worth it.

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