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Why We Move Them to a Big Kid Bed Early

I’m going to tell you something and you are probably going to think I am crazy. Your friends are moving their kids out of their cribs WAY too late. Kids can be transitioned to a toddler bed much earlier than most people choose. We choose to move our children around 10 months old.

Transitioning to a Toddler Bed Shouldn’t be Hard

If you are a first-time parent, you have probably asked your friends at some point or other when they moved their child into a toddler bed or converted their crib to a toddler bed. Most people will tell you somewhere about 2 years old.

Honestly, I cannot even imagine having to heft my 2-year-old out of a crib. My kids are relatively small, and I still cannot picture myself coming to get my 2-year-old from his crib. Part of this is because we believe in encouraging independence early in our children. By the time many of my friends are moving their kids into toddler beds mine have already been in toddler beds, or even in twin beds, for over a year. I also usually have mine daytime potty trained by about the time most of those kids are moving out of their cribs as well.

I understand that the recommended age is at about 2 years old but I have yet to find any information on WHY it’s that age. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t even list a specific age on their site healthchildren.org. There seems to be a very negative stigma around transitioning but I truely believe a HUGE part of this is because people wait too long to move them. Did our sons get out of bed sometimes? Yup still do (currently it’s to fight over the door being open or closed and then jump back in bed). However, they weren’t able to get out of their room because they couldn’t open the door.

Once my oldest was able to open the door, he knew better than to just come out of his room after bedtime. We don’t really have problems with them just getting out of bed and wandering the house or trying to play. I have caught my older son once or twice in his playroom but that was it. He knows better now and we don’t have a problem.

The transition has been so easy for us I tell any new mom I can. Do it EARLY!! Don’t wait until they are older and it’s a far more difficult transition.

I’ve got 3 AMAZING benefits to moving your child to a toddler bed before a year old.

BUT first ….. some things to consider when transitioning to a toddler bed

  • Their room should be 100% child proof. Dressers strapped to the wall, not being able to open closet doors (most kids that age aren’t able to open them), no access to small toys, anything they could eat that they shouldn’t is well out of reach, and toys, in general, should not be within reach/a temptation.
  • They sleep through the night generally. This isn’t a requirement by any means but it’s nice because it makes them less likely to get out of bed and wander around the room at 2 am.
  • The ability to confine them within the room. This sounds worse than it is. You don’t want them wandering around the house in the middle of the night so if there isn’t a door you can shut or a gate you can use this might not work for you. PS, I’m not talking about actually locking the door just shutting it.
  • A video baby monitor, if you can find one with motion alerts that’s even better. We did not have one with motion alerts with our two boys and honestly, Baby Girl refuses to climb out of bed on her own.

It’s 100% OK if There are Reasons This Wouldn’t Work

I understand there may be plenty of reasons that you cannot move your child out of a crib early. 100% get that. Please know that I am generally talking about children who have no serious medical conditions and no serious developmental delays. There are plenty of reasons it would be dangerous for some kids to be able to climb out of bed on their own. You mamas are facing a whole other set of challenges and I applaud you. So please know that if you are facing those types of challenges I understand that this will not work for you.

You also might be facing space challenges. Your little one might be sharing a room with an older child and making it safe for them to potentially roam around without a watchful eye might not be possible. Keeping tiny legos and army men picked up (or finding all of them even when you do get them picked) up is impossible.

3 Reasons 10 Months is the Perfect age to Transition to a Toddler Bed

1. They generally don’t know they can climb in and out of it yet.

You will probably get a month, or even two possibly, where they don’t even realize they can get out of bed. You might not like with my second but, honestly, he learned very quickly that his bed was more comfortable than the floor. He crawled out of bed a few times when he wouldn’t go to sleep and cried at the door but for us we didn’t see a difference between him crying at the door and him crying in his crib. We were going to do the same thing either way. The only trick was opening the door slowly so you didn’t run over his toes. Bonus tip: It’s OK for them to sleep on the floor if they won’t stay in bed.

2. They are really too young to want their old bed back.

This is super easy if you have a crib conversion (which I highly recommend). We simply bought a toddler rail, took off the front piece, and lowered the bed to its lowest setting. Their bed basically looked and was the same as it had always been to them. They had absolutely no trouble adjusting to the “new” bed. I think a huge plus of this is still being able to have the same sheets as they had before. I would highly encourage you not to go out and get all new bedding when you first transition them no matter how old they are. One more new thing can just add to the stress.

I see this advice all the time when parents are trying to transition older kids. They get “fun” new big kid bedding and make this big deal about it. Except that bedding tends to smell terrible. Even if you wash it before use, it still doesn’t smell like it’s been snuggled and loved. In fact, I would encourage you not to use fresh sheets at all that first night. Just leave the sheets they had on the previous day (unless of course they have to be washed for an unavoidable reason). The smell of having something familiar to sleep on will be far more comforting than you realize.

3. They are too young to be too stubborn.

I know that they can be stubborn at 10 months (see my second as an example), however, they are way more pliable and less stubborn at 10 months than they are at over 2 years old. N was stubborn from the get-go but has only gotten more stubborn rather than less. We are so grateful that we moved him early because I cannot imagine attempting to move him right now when he thinks his way is the best way.

Bonus tip:

You can always go back. If you try it and switching that early just isn’t for you, there is always the option to go back. Once they are a certain age you really don’t have that option. Plus, it’s way easier on your back. Your kid is much smaller at just under a year old than they are at 2. You are saving your back nearly a year of attempting to lift them in and out of their bed. You could end up saving yourself over 1000 lifts in and out of the crib! That is a lot of lifting you don’t have to do.

Whatever your decision is, make sure you consider all the options and figure out what is best for your family.

Want to remember this post when you’re ready to transition to a toddler bed? Pin this to your favorite boards!

Transitioning to a Toddler Bed why and how we move them early light color toddler bed with stuffed animals
Move them Early Why and How we transition to a toddler bed at 10 months a small childrens bed with white bedding and two teddy bears on the end

Transitioning to a Toddler Bed

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