When the baby starts to climb out of the crib, it is time to consider moving him/her to a toddler bed. This is a huge transition for the baby and he/she will likely give you some sort of problem when you make the changes in his/her routine. You may get lucky and your baby will simply sleep through the night the first night in the new toddler bed. It isn’t likely though because this is a very exciting time for him/her. It allows the baby a little more freedom and ease of movement to put him/her in a toddler bed and he/she is likely to take advantage of it in every way possible.
What to expect when moving baby from crib to toddler bed:
Crying- Your toddler isn’t used to be in a bed that doesn’t have rails around it. Those rails may represent a bit of security to the toddler. It is the only bed that he/she has ever known. That means that you will likely have to deal with a good bit of crying, at least on the first night. It is likely to be like that for several nights as your toddler gets used to his/her new bed. Once your toddler finds comfort in something else in his/her new bed, the crying will stop and you will be on your way to a more peaceful bedtime again.
Getting Out of Bed– This is probably the worst offense that the toddler will make when he/she is getting used to the new toddler bed. It can be very difficult to break the toddler of getting out of his/her toddler bed at night and wandering around the house. There is just too much temptation when there is nothing stopping your toddler from getting out of bed. Don’t fret too much though. Your toddler would likely be in much more danger from climbing out of the crib because of the possibility of a fall. You have made the right choice in moving him/her to a toddler bed, it just takes time for the toddler to get used to the new digs.
Playing- It isn’t likely that your toddler will distinguish, or care to distinguish, between bed time and play time. Your toddler will probably fidget a lot and find very creative ways to play while in bed. It is a stay awake tactic that many toddlers figure out very quickly. They don’t want to sleep because they might miss something since mommy and daddy are still awake. It is up to the parents as to whether you choose to ignore the play time as long as your toddler is still in the bed or whether you choose to teach the toddler, somehow, that it is not play time, it is sleep time. The toddler will sometimes get out of the bed to play and it is important that you teach him/her that he/she needs to stay in the bed to get a routine going.
Up and Down- You will find that you will not get any rest from the time you put your toddler into the bed until the time he/she finally falls asleep. Your toddler will call your name a hundred times to get your attention. He/she will also likely cry every now and then and when your toddler begins potty training, he/she will use that as an excuse to get out of bed. He/she will want a hundred hugs and then a hundred kisses. The all time favorite is the “I want a drink” excuse. It is important to instill in the child that he/she can’t have anymore drinks once he/she is in bed (unless he/she is ill). That only gives the toddler a real reason to get out of bed to go potty.
These are the main issues that you will be faced with when you move your toddler from the crib to a toddler bed. A toddler bed is low to the ground and the toddler doesn’t have to climb to gain the freedom that he/she wishes to gain. It is an important milestone for your toddler and he/she will likely take advantage of it in any way possible. It won’t be like that forever, but brace yourself, it could be a long time before things settle down.