Moving from a crib to a toddler bed is a big step for kids, and possibly an even bigger one for parents. Besides the logistics — what type of bed? what mattress is best? does he need a pillow? — there’s the emotional (my baby’s growing up!) and the freedom (toddler on the lose!) factors.
My son stayed in a crib until the exact month of his third birthday. Yes, I know that’s old, but he’d grown to love the security of his crib and it worked well for us. Why mess with a good thing? When he turned three, he must have had an awakening — literally and figuratively — because that’s when he learned to climb out. We converted his crib and endured two weeks of late nights until the novelty wore off.
My daughter, always ahead of herself, announced that she wanted a big girl bed and to wear underwear at 22 months. Within a week, she had potty trained herself and shown us she was serious about the bed demand because she climbed out of her crib… repeatedly. So we moved her right into a bed and put the kids in the same room, something they both love to this day.
Here’s what I’ve learned through trial and error about toddler beds (and preschooler beds) and pillows for kids.
If your crib converts to a toddler bed, go for it. However, if it doesn’t, I’d skip that in between toddler bed and go for something that will last longer. I fell in love with the Mammut line from Ikea. The beds are smaller than twins but larger than toddler beds. It’s a perfect size that will last them until at least 6 years old, at which point we’ll want to put them in double beds. I actually have the entire pink and blue Mammut bedroom sets for the kids. Their room is to die for.
Kids’ pillows and mattresses
Quality matters. I know kids will sleep anywhere and they don’t need the best money can buy, but we invested in quality kids’ mattresses and it was a good choice. As for pillows, I learned that again, quality matters.
When they were ready for pillows, I started them out with $3 pillows that ended up on the floor every night. They recently got an upgrade to pillows from Madii & Dyl. My 3-year-old has the Teenii Tot pillow (designed for kids 18 months to 4 years) and my 4-year-old has the Mini Me (designed for kids 4 and up). I have two happy kids. They sleep on the pillows every night and tell me how much they like them. I think it’s a combo of feeling special for having “big kid pillows” and the quality.
And while this really has nothing to do with a toddler bed, I have two words for moms of early risers: Blackout curtains!