When is your toddler ready to move to a bed?

I love cribs. I’ve got three of them. And three pack’n plays, too.

You, though, might not like cribs just as much as I do. You might be nice and ready to move your child into a regular bed – after all, why waste time/money/effort buying/assembling/disassembling a crib when your baby’s going to end up in a bed anyway?

Or maybe you want your child to have the independence to be able to get in and out of bed on his/her own.

Or maybe your child simply won’t stay put in a crib, and you see no other option than to move him to a bed.

Or maybe you’re toilet training and you want your child to have the freedom to go to the bathroom on her own.

Loads and loads of reasons to not love cribs quite as much as I do.

So let me tell you why I love cribs so much.

Safety

Yeah, I know the crib has its detractors – the people who call it a “baby jail” and believe it’s a crime to humanity to enclose your child in one for the night.

But the fact of the matter is, the crib’s an awfully safe place for your child to be.

(And, for the record, your baby has no clue what a jail is. So please, don’t get yourself into a frenzy worrying that she thinks you’ve imprisoned her! My kids happen to love their cribs – and your kids can too!)

Babies do lots of rolling around, crawling and climbing, and have very little concept of danger – if any at all.

Even once your child is old enough to safely get out of bed on his own, it’s not safe for him to have free reign of the house at night, when you and the rest of your family are safely tucked into bed.

A crib provides the security of physical restraint that will hold your child back when his mental restraint is not quite there yet.

Development of self-control

If you have a young toddler, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the self-control muscle is still very much in its infancy. They’ll open drawers and doors, grab things, push people, and climb things that an older child never would. They simply do not yet have the self-control to have any concept of holding back from doing or playing with things that they are physically able to do or reach.

It’s not until about 3 years old that most children are mature enough to be in a bed that does not have any physical restraints and stay in it the whole night – from when you put them in at bedtime until wakeup time (around 7ish) in the morning.

If you think about it, staying in a bed and trying to fall asleep while you KNOW that your parents and older siblings are up and doing things takes a lot of self-control. It can be hard even for a three year old. It’s simply not fair to set a younger child up to an impossible (for them) task – it will be frustrating for both of you to try to enforce it.

Of course, every child is different, and some may be ready slightly before the 3 year mark (though I’d caution against transitioning before 2.5 years old). You are the expert of your child!

And if you’re not sure if your child is ready, err to the side of caution! Your child will be just fine if she stays in a crib a couple months longer.

Stay tuned next week for my post on how to keep your child in a crib until the 3 year mark.

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