Having your little one make the transition from crib to big girl or boy bed seems like one of the more daunting parenting tasks. And it's a lot more nuanced than "Well! You're 2 years old! Time for a bed now!" Kids all grow at different paces, and what's good for your friend's or coworker's child may not necessarily work for yours. You need to read the signs before putting your toddler in a bed of his own, and be sure that he's definitely ready.
Here are five signs your toddler is ready for his own bed.
1. Your child is okay being unsupervised. Of course you have your house childproofed like crazy, but think about it: Would you feel comfortable if your child got up in the middle of the night, or before you did in the morning, and was left to his own devices? If your answer is no, best to leave him in a crib for now.
2. Your toddler is at the point where he can understand "imaginary boundaries." If the first thing your child wants to do when you put her in her own bed is climb out -- and stay out -- she's probably not ready for a bed. You're likely to disrupt her -- and your -- sleep if you put your little one into a bed before she understands this concept. Crib rails are a very clear boundary.
3. Your toddler asks about a bed of his own. If your child seems interested in the concept of her own bed, and you feel comfortable having her in one, it's worth experimenting with. And if she's at the point where she can verbalize something like this, she likely can also understand imaginary boundaries.
4. Your toddler is climbing out of his crib. Kids start climbing out of the crib at different points, but once they're able to conduct this baby feat, safety becomes an issue. There are a few options out there as to what you can do -- you may not have to buy him a bed of his own just yet -- but just make sure whatever you choose is safe. In fact, might want to discuss it with a pediatrician first.
5. Your child shows negativity toward his crib. Maybe it's because his friend or older sibling has a big bed, but once your little one starts disliking his crib, time to entertain the idea of his own bed.
It's also worth noting that your child -- not you -- has to be ready for his own bed. Some parents make the mistake of putting a toddler in a big bed before they're ready because they need the crib for a baby-to-be's arrival. Don't do that. Not only will it cause problems with the transition, your little one might see the baby as "taking over" his crib.
How did you know your child was ready for a bed of his own?
Image via Jenny Elia Pfeiffer/Corbis