Some toddlers easily move from crib to bed. Yet many find the change unsettling. Accustomed to the warm, cocoonlike environment of a crib, they initially dislike the openness of a bed. The switch can also be difficult because 2-year-olds crave familiarity, and few things are as familiar to them as their crib. You can smooth the way by becoming attuned to signs of your child's readiness, then laying the proper groundwork.
Time It Right
In general, kids are ready to make the move somewhere between the ages of 2 and 3, or when they are 34 to 36 inches tall. At this point, many have begun trying to climb out of the crib -- which (apart from being risky) is an indication that they need more space. Signs of autonomy and independence also indicate readiness. These include a child who feeds himself, wants to dress himself, and takes pride in individual accomplishments. Sleeping patterns hold another clue. "Does your child cry out during the night? If you can call to her and she's reassured without actually seeing you, she's close to being ready for a bed," says Kyle Pruett, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, in New Haven, Connecticut. Often the transition from crib to bed is prompted by the expectation of a new baby. In such cases, parents should make sure their toddler is comfortably settled in his new bed several months before the birth of his sibling -- especially if the baby will be inheriting his old crib. Otherwise, your toddler may feel he has been ousted from his safe haven.