This post with tips for a no-cry toddler bed transition is sponsored by SealyBaby and contains affiliate links.
It’s hard for me to believe, but my little guy is already 19 months old. He’s doing SO much these days: running, putting together simple sentences, playing with his older siblings, and trying to climb out of his crib in the mornings. He’s determined to put all of the baby stuff behind him! As I watched him trying to climb out of his crib last month, I realized that it was time to transition him to a toddler bed. Not only is he developmentally ready but, at this point, it’s a safety issue. My older son Jacob suffered a broken arm earlier this year after a fall, and I certainly don’t want a repeat of that any time soon! Luckily for Gideon (and me), we’ve done this crib to toddler bed transition 3 other times now, so I’ve learned a few tips over the years that help make this process an easy, no-cry transition. Today, I wanted to share my tips with you.
Make It Safe
The first thing we need to talk about is safety! While we moved Gideon into a toddler bed to prevent him from trying to climb out, potentially falling, and being injured that way, moving him to a toddler bed created a few other safety risks we needed to take care of.
- Ensure all outlets have outlet covers. Many people take this baby-proofing measure before their baby even begins to crawl. Gideon didn’t spend any unsupervised time in his room, unless in his crib, so this wasn’t something I was too concerned about, until now.
- Ensure all furniture is anchored to the walls. Again, it wasn’t a concern before, but now that he can climb out of his toddler bed on his own and walk around his room, we needed to make sure that every piece of furniture was anchored to the wall. This is not a step you want to skip. Children have died by pulling furniture down on top of them, so take the time to secure every single piece.
- If baby‘s room is on the second story, make sure there is a secured gate at the top of the steps. Even if you typically shut your child’s door while they are sleeping, you never know when they might wake up and quietly open the door while you’re asleep. It’s best to keep a gate at the top of your stairs until you are confident that they are able to climb down the steps without falling.
Now Gideon can climb in and out of bed with ease, all by himself, and I don’t have to worry about him getting hurt in the process!
Make Changes Slowly
If possible, try not to make a lot of changes at once. Now is not the best time to change bedrooms and keep your routine as normal as possible. If you typically read a bedtime story then rock your toddler to sleep before putting him or her in the crib, start out by doing the same, except place them in the toddler bed instead. Although I’d really like to break Gideon of the pacifier habit and rocking him to sleep each night, I decided to wait at least a month from his first night in the toddler bed before we start working on breaking either of those habits.
If you typically put .your child into his or her crib awake, continue to do the same with the toddler bed. If they climb out, gently correct them by saying, “no, it’s time for bed” and placing them back into the toddler bed. You may have to do this quite a few times the first few nights (or maybe not depending on the child) but if you stick with it, they will get the hang of things soon enough.
There’s a good chance that the crib you purchased can be converted into a toddler bed. Not only is that cost effective, it will also make him or her feel more at ease during this translation. The crib/toddler bed pictured is the Kolcraft Elise 3-in-1 Convertible crib (highly recommend it!). Not only is it a fabulous crib, the transition from crib to toddler bed took only 5 minutes! It was so easy!
Make It Comfy
I LOVE climbing into my own bed at night because it’s so comfy! Can you relate? You want to make your child’s bed as comfortable and appealing as possible. I’d noticed that our crib mattress was getting pretty worn (It’s worked its way through 4 kids now over a 7 year period!) so it was time for a new one. I had a few things I was looking for in a mattress. I wanted one that had limited amounts of chemicals in it, one that would be really comfy for Gideon, and I wanted a mattress under $100. Sealy to the rescue!
Sealy is a trusted brand in our house, and, as a winner of the Women’s Choice Award for America’s Most Recommended Crib Mattress and Bedding since 2013, it’s obviously a trusted brand by moms all over the US!
I was delighted to find this Sealy Natural Firm 2-Stage Foam Mattress available at Walmart for under $90! It received the GREENGUARD Gold certification which ensures that a product has met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into indoor air. It also has this innovative design where one side of the mattress is firm (as recommended for an infant) and the opposite side features plush, soft cushioning for toddlers. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even realize that you could find a comfortable crib mattress like this. I haven’t slept on it myself (obviously) but I can tell you that it’s a big difference in softness compared to our old crib mattress. Gideon has been loving it!
You’ll also notice in the photo above that the corners of this mattress are square instead of rounded, which offers a snugger fit in the crib/toddler bed. Despite its snug fit, it’s super easy to change the sheets because the mattress is so lightweight.
Although the new mattress was already waterproof, stain-resistant and made with hypoallergenic cushioning, I decided to add a mattress pad for extra protection and comfort. (Trust me, you want a mattress pad. You never know when vomit might occur! It’s way easier to clean messes like that from a mattress if you’ve had a mattress pad in place…I may or may not be speaking from experience here.) The Sealy Quilted Crib Mattress Pad with Organic Cotton Top was just what I was looking for! It’s affordable, waterproof, and made with an organic cotton top layer.
Make It Fun
You want to make this process fun for your little one! Gideon has been obsessed with Winnie the Pooh – pa-pooh as he calls him. I ordered a Winnie the Pooh pillow case for him online and got him a set of adorable Winnie the Pooh swaddle blankets from aden+anais and a few new plush friends. Then we added them to his toddler bed.
Gideon was SO excited about his new bed! In fact, I have the cutest story thanks to his new Winnie the Pooh pillow. You see, prior to this, every morning when my husband or I would go in to get Gideon out of his crib we’d ask him how he had slept and he would always reply, good in the cutest baby voice. Well, after his first night sleeping on his new Winnie the Pooh pillow, when I asked him how he slept the following morning, instead of saying, good as usual, he responded proudly & excitedly with, on pillow! Kids say the cutest things! My husband and I still laugh about it!
My point is, having Winnie the Pooh in his new toddler bed made a huge difference for Gideon. He was just as excited as he could be to have a new Winnie the Pooh bed!
Realize It’s Probably Tougher on You
The way your child reacts to the transition is greatly going to be influenced by your attitude. One of the things I’ve learned as a mom over the years is that these milestones our kids are hitting are generally harder on me than them.
Although you might think your child isn’t ready yet, he or she will probably surprise you! All of my kids have loved their “big kid” bed and transitioned without a single tear! Be excited for them and with them as they take this next step into childhood!