The best time to move a toddler out of the crib

Pediatrician & Author Alanna Levine, MD, shares advice for parents on when the best time is to move your toddler from a crib to a bed and how to recognize the signs they are ready to transition
When to Move Your Toddler Out of the Crib
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The best time to move a toddler out of the crib

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Parents should let their child decide when it's time to transition from a crib into a big kid bed. Different children will reach this stage at different times. But because parents want that child to stay in the bed, you really want that decision to be the child's, because they'll be more motivated to spend the entire night in the bed and not come creeping into your room. If you do find yourself with a child who seems to want to be at your bedside at 2-3-4 in the morning, don't engage in a power struggle. Take them by the hand, scoop them up, and very quietly and calmly, return them to their bed. They may come running right back, and you may need to keep repeating this ritual many times throughout the course of the night. But ultimately your child will understand that the place for them to sleep is in their own bed. If you let your child sleep in your bed just one night, they're going to keep on trying to hope to get lucky again to be able to get back in with you. So consistency is the key. You want both parents to be on the same page, so daddy doesn't let the child in the bed when mommy says no. Be persistent, be patient, and be calm. Because even negative attention is attention. So if you get into a full-on brawl with your child at 2 in the morning, you're giving them attention for what they're doing. So if you just quietly walk them back right back, they're not getting your attention, and they'll be less motivated to come back into your room. There's one caveat, and that's where a young child, say 18 months old, climbs out of their bed on their own. That's a child who might not really be old enough to say that they want to be out of the bed, but they clearly have the motor skills. And this becomes a safety issue. So my advice for parents is that first night that you find your 18-month-old standing next to you in the middle of the night, disassemble the crib. Take the mattress out of the crib. Put the mattress on the floor. It's much safer for that child to sleep on that mattress on the floor until you have time to actually buy a bigger bed.

Pediatrician & Author Alanna Levine, MD, shares advice for parents on when the best time is to move your toddler from a crib to a bed and how to recognize the signs they are ready to transition

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Alanna Levine, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Dr. Alanna Levine is a New York-based pediatrician and a mom of two children.  As a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Levine frequently appears on television and in print speaking about breaking medical news and common parenting topics.  Dr. Levine is also a contributor for BabyCenter.com, on the board of advisors for GetSweaty.com, and on the executive committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Communications and Media.Dr. Levine sees patients at Orangetown Pediatric Associates in New York and is on staff at Nyack Hospital and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.   She completed her internship and residency at the Mount Sinai Hospital, received her medical degree at Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel, a master’s degree in medical sciences from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin.

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