Your child’s toddler bed is often the last toddler-thing they will use. However, you might be unsure of when it’s time for them to graduate to a big boy/big girl bed and say goodbye to the old one. This can be tricky. They may have a strong emotional attachment to their bed.
If it were up to them they would never leave it. You also have your own reasons for wanting them to stay in this bed. It’s small and it takes up very little space in their bedroom. Also, you’re scared of doing anything that could disrupt their delicate sleep cycle.
To help you make your decision, here are three signs that it’s time to upgrade and two reasons to keep them where they are.
1. Their Height
If your child is starting to sleep on a bit of an angle, odds are good that they have outgrown the bed. Most toddler mattresses are about 52” in length and about two and a half feet wide. That’s not much room for someone who’s growing quickly.
If you have a tall child, they may outgrow their bed physically before they outgrow it emotionally. If this is the case, try to make the upgrade fun. Consider getting them bunk beds from a company like PerfectSense and tell them they can use it for sleepovers. That can get them excited about the new bed.
You can also let them pick out new sheets and covers so it truly feels like their own.
2. Their Weight
You should check your specific bed’s thresholds. But, as a good rule-of-thumb, most toddler beds aren’t meant for kids much bigger than 50 lbs. That’s not to say that you need to run out and buy a new bed as soon as your child hits 51 lbs. However, as they approach that weight, you should start talking to your child about getting them a new bed.
The further you push the bed past the recommended limits, the more you could be compromising their comfort and safety.
3. Their Grade
Depending on the variables we’ve mentioned above, you should also consider that most toddler beds aren’t made for kids who are old enough to be in school. You should begin looking into getting them in another bed before the start of kindergarten or PK.
However, we certainly don’t recommend making the switch right before the start of the school year. That could be too many changes to their routine and this could lead to some bad sleeps for both of you. We don’t have to tell you how tenuous a child’s sleep routine and schedule can be. Treat it with care.
Reasons to Keep Them in a Toddler Bed
It may not be a good idea to switch your child if they’ve recently had sleep issues of any sort. This may include trouble falling asleep, nightmares, sleepwalking, or waking up in the middle of the night. If they have finally found a good rhythm, it’s best not to mess with it. Keep them in that bed as long as you can and build good sleep habits.
Also, if you have any concrete reasons (aside from parental protective anxiety) to believe your child may not be safe in a bed with no protective rails, don’t force the issue. These reasons could include your child having a history of very restless sleep, or perhaps rolling out of other people’s beds.
If this is the case, you may consider splitting the difference and getting a full-sized bed that has some sort of protective rails. This could include bunk beds. It’s easy to get kids excited about sleeping in bunk beds, but it’s important to remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your kids on the lower bunk until they are at least 6-years-old.
Of course, it’s also very possible that your child will simply want a new bed when they reach a certain age. Like a sudden flick of a light switch, your child can suddenly decide that they don’t like “baby stuff” anymore, even though it was fine yesterday.
However, if that epiphany doesn’t arrive before they reach any of the other thresholds or milestones, you may have to make the decision for them. Keeping an eye on your little one’s height, weight, and stage of life will give you a pretty good idea of when you should start looking for a new bed.