When it’s time to update your child’s sleeping arrangements, you can save both some time and money by learning how to change crib to toddler bed. A regular wooden crib can be easily converted to a functional bed for your kid. The simplest option is to integrate a universal guardrail. If that won’t work or if you want to board on a more advanced project, you can trim down one of the sides and make it into a toddler railing instead.
Switching to a Toddler Bed
Unlike some developmental breakthroughs of early childhood like potty training or eating solid food, transitioning from crib to bed doesn’t always come naturally. Some kids might even reject the idea of changing the bed they’re used to. As a general rule, though, parents should make the switch before their kids learn to climb out of their cribs on their own and possibly hurt themselves.
Changing a Crib to a Toddler Bed
To convert a crib to a functional toddler bed, you’ll need the following:
- Convertible crib
- Universal toddler guardrail
- 4 Phillips-head screws, 1 inch (2.5 cm) each
- 2 metal L-brackets, 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) each
- Phillips screwdriver
What to do:
- Choose the right toddler guardrail.You might need to purchase a separate one in case your child’s crib doesn’t come with its own guardrail. The best option to buy is a universal toddler guardrail in order to complete how to change crib to toddler bed. It’s readily available in most stores and is designed to fit the most recent models of manufactured cribs. It’s also more practical since it comes in a complete pack, with all the metal brackets and screws you’ll need. Toddler rails are essential to let your child access his bed without your help. At the same time, it prevents any accidental rolling out of bed when your child is asleep.
- Remove one side of the crib.
Remove the screws holding one side of the crib in place using a manual or electric screwdriver. Crib models vary; however, the standard ones will have a few screws on both the right and left sides of the crib posts. Remove only one side of the bed. In case you opt to remove both sides, install a guardrail on one side and push the bed against the wall. This process only works for convertible beds, since stationary cribs do not have removable sides.
- Remove your child’s bedding.
Access the bottom slats of the bed in order to install the guardrail. Thus, remove all crib beddings and the mattress prior to the transformation. You can utilize the same linens for your toddler bed since the dimensions won’t change after you convert it.
- Attach the brackets to the bed rail.
Place an L-bracket on the inside of each bedpost. Then, attach the brackets using a screwdriver and screws. Guardrails usually come complete with L-brackets and screws. However, if you need to purchase one, choose a 2-inch or 3-inch L-brackets with four mounting holes and 1-inch Phillips-head screws. Install one bracket for each bed post. The foot of the bracket should lie flat with the bottom of the post. On the other hand, the vertical portion should be aligned with the center of the guardrail post. Use two screws to secure each post.
- Position your guardrail.
Take your guardrail and position it on the bare part of the crib. Line up the end posts and the attached brackets to the separate slats located on the bottom part of the bed. Leave a 9-inch space between the rail and the headboard. Do the same as well with the footboard. By doing so, you can give your child enough space to get in and out of bed easily.
- Fix the guardrail to the bed.
Hold the rail steady and insert two screws through the holes on each bracket to the slat rolls at the base of the bed. Using two screws will give you enough security and durability. Ensure that the screws are tight and firmly hold the brackets in place. When you’re done, wiggle the bed to check if the guardrail is stable.
- Make the bed.
Once the guardrail is secured, return the mattress to the bed. Cover it with comfortable sheets, blankets, and pillows as needed. You have now completed the process on how to change crib to toddler bed. If you need or want to install another rail on the other side of the bed, just follow the same steps used for the first guardrail. Install both rails before putting in the mattress and bedding.
How to Transition your Toddler from Crib to Bed
There are no foolproof ways to transition a toddler from using a crib to a bed. Each child is uniquely different, and so are their reactions and responses as well. However, here are some simple tips, to hopefully make your transition more acceptable and smooth:
- Toddler-proof your room. Once you remove the crib bars and finish how to change crib to toddler bed, your child will have unlimited access to his room. So it’s important to make sure that your toddler will be safe when doing so. Install guardrails to keep your child safe and avoid falling off the bed when asleep.
- Talk to your child about the transition. Informing your child before you make the transition can help them prepare for the “big change.” Let them understand the need to do so to avoid negative reactions upon the reveal.
- Make the bed welcoming. Pile up all your kid’s favorite toys and throw in some cute and colorful blankets and beddings. This will make your toddler more excited and positive towards the transition.
- Don’t expect your child to accept the change overnight. It will usually take a few weeks before your toddler gets comfortable with his or her new bed. Expect rough nights and be more patient, firm, and consistent.
Transitioning and learning how to change crib to toddler bed can be an important decision you need to think through. Your toddler might reject the idea of a new bed. However, stay positive that your child will fully adjust to his new environment in a few weeks. His newfound freedom can also lead to a lot of adventures. Be ready to put your child back in bed a few times before he can finally settle. However, significant transitions should not be rushed. Observe your toddler if he is ready to adapt to change. Only then can you reap a more positive reaction and experience. Find out more about toddler beds.