Your baby’s growing up so fast—she could be ready for a big girl bed any time now! It’s a joyous time for you and your toddler. However, if you’re a first-time parent, you may be struggling on whether to buy a twin or toddler bed. So we’ve provided several facts to help you decide which bed to choose.
When to Move From a Crib to a Bed
If your toddler is sneaking out of their crib in the middle of the night to play that might be a good indicator that it’s time to switch to a bed. Many children are in a bed between 1½ – 3 years of age. While either bed is a whole new world to your little tike, a twin bed might be viewed as plain to your tot although you can decorate it with stickers to make it fun and inviting; yet a toddler bed is available in many styles and characters such as Hello Kitty, vehicles, Mickey or Minnie Mouse, Disney princess, superheroes, SpongeBob and many more.
Which Bed Is Right for Your Family?
A toddler bed is excellent for your little one to transition to because it uses a crib mattress and sits low to the floor. However, this may not be appropriate if the stork is bringing another baby soon. In this case, it’s best to buy a twin bed and twin mattress or obtain them from a family member who isn’t using their twin bed. Your small fry will also grow into the twin bed allowing her to use it through her childhood.
Maintaining Your Child’s Safety
As we previously mentioned, a toddler bed is low to the floor, but it also has guard rails. So this makes it a really safe choice for your youngster. That doesn’t mean that a twin bed isn’t safe too; but since it’s a higher bed, attaching side rails should be a top priority to help keep your little tike from falling out and injuring herself.
Your little one will now be free to wander around her room. Obviously, you’ve childproofed her bedroom—and the rest of your home—when you were pregnant, but you should go through her room again with a fine tooth comb to ensure she won’t be harmed. Place small toys and items on shelves well out of her reach, put a gate in her doorway so she can’t roam the rest of the house and cover any exposed cords or outlets you might have missed the first time.
When you’re trying to make that all-important decision between a toddler and twin bed, remember to ponder space limitations, design, your budget and your toddler’s temperament. Toddler beds and twin beds are available in a wide range of prices to fit any type of budget. Don’t forget that you’ll need to purchase a mattress as well and we can help with that too.
Speaking of mattresses, if the crib has a convertible mattress, then you can use it in your child’s toddler bed. The soft side of the mattress is composed of springy, viscoelastic memory foam or regular foam; this is the side your little nipper should sleep on.
If you opt to put your tot in a twin bed, purchase a regular, softer mattress with inner springs. A soft mattress conforms to the light, little body of a child.
Bedding and Pillows
Toddler beds can use the same bedding if you’re using a convertible crib mattress. However, this may not be possible if you’re expecting so twin bedding will work just fine too. Even though toddler beds have a wide variety of colorful designs and characters, there are many styles of twin bedding that kids will like.
Pillows serve to make us comfy. But many young tots, 1 and 2 years old, don’t need pillows to sleep soundly and be cozy. As your toddler gets older, 3-5 years old, introduce a pillow. However, if she’s comfortable without one, don’t push it; just let it go for a bit longer.
Once your child needs to use a pillow, there are a few things you should do:
- Let your youngster try out a small selection of pillows to see which one provides the best support for her head and neck while she’s lying down.
- Think about buying a pillow especially for a toddler. These pillows are smaller and designed to support your tot’s head. It doesn’t have all the extra fabric a regular sized pillow has which could aid in suffocation.
- Search for a pillow that’s firm enough to give support yet soft enough to be comfortable.
- Press in on the pillow’s center and watch how fast the pillow returns to its normal shape. If the pillow doesn’t regain shape at all, then it’s unsafe for your small fry because it’s too soft.
Unfortunately, children don’t come with instruction manuals, and each child reacts differently to going from a crib to a bed. While there’s not a set script, we can offer these tips:
- Speak to your little one about the move to a big kid’s bed beforehand. Children like predictability and a normal routine! There’s not a child out there (that we know of) that will be happy to walk into their bedroom and see a new bed in the place of their old one. So give her a heads up and discuss it with her—or perhaps read a book about the switch together.
- Create an inviting big kid’s bed. Change can be scary for a little kid so make up the bed with her cherished sheets and blankets. Load the bed with the stuffed animals or dolls that she loves. If you need to shop for toddler or twin sheets, take her with you and let her choose which sets she likes best.
- Possibly leave the crib in her bedroom for a while. For some children, the transition is easier if you do this. But for other kids, this might not be a good idea because it can make the change more difficult by being a diversion. But if your tot is the type that likes choices, for a couple of weeks what harm would it do to let your toddler pick between sleeping in the bed or crib? It’ll let her feel like she’s in control of the situation.
- The transition won’t be complete in one night. In fact, it’ll probably take 2-3 weeks for your youngster to think of the new bed as “theirs.” You can also expect to have a few hard nights too. But be persistent, firm and stay with it because, in the end, she’ll love her new big kid bed.
- Ready yourself for your tot to become a “jack-in-the-box.” Understandably, her newfound freedom might go to her head, and she’ll attempt to get out of her big kid bed. So make sure you anticipate the inevitable and when it happens react to it without emotion. If you respond to it too negatively or positively, it could very well promote this behavior. Your little one will likely stop this behavior quicker if she can’t get a response out of you.
Choosing a toddler or twin bed can be fun—you can get your youngster involved too. This may even help her have a smoother transition, and a better transition means a better night’s sleep—for both of you!