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One of the biggest changes to your child’s daily routine will involve the move from a crib to an actual bed.

By age two, most children are ready and big enough to sleep in a bed rather than their old crib. Here are some indications that your child is big enough to make the adjustment:

  • Your child is 35 inches or taller
  • Your child is capable of lifting his or her leg on or over the top rail of the crib
  • Your child is physically able to pull himself or herself over the top rail of the crib
  • Your child’s crib mattress is already as low as it can go
  • The top rail of the crib is less than three-quarters of your child’s height

Establishing Normal Sleeping Routines

It is normal for toddlers and preschoolers to sleep between 10-12 hours a day. In order to establish a regular sleeping routine, be explicit about a set bedtime with your child.

Preparing your child for bed is equally as important as setting up a definitive bedtime. Getting your child to sleep can be made simple by engaging him or her in calming activities before bed like a bath or a bedtime story. Video games and TV watching should stop at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

Keeping Your Child Safe in their New Bed

Guard rails are one of the easiest ways to keep your child safe once they have made the move to a full-size bed. Make sure your child’s mattress fits well in the bed frame to avoid creating any gaps.

Consider the placement of the bed within the child’s room, but do not allow your child to sleep under a window. Small pillows are acceptable for children after the age of 2. Avoid using bunk beds or raised bed frames until your child has reached the age of 6.

Provide a nightlight or lamp that can provide light for the child if they need to get out of bed.

Keeping Your Child in Bed at Night

If your child is having trouble remaining in bed for the entire night, address the issue right away. In the event that your child gets out of bed and wanders, send him or her back to sleep immediately.

Your child’s restlessness may persist for a few days, but stay consistent with the nighttime routine you set in place for your child. Consider offering your child a reward as well as plenty of praise if they remain in bed for the entire night.

If you feel the need to provide additional monitoring of your child’s nighttime activity, consider keeping a baby monitor in the bedroom.

Ashley LeGrand-Rozovics, DO, MHA

Methodist Physicians Clinic - Hawthorne Court

Dr. LeGrand-Rozovics answers your questions about child health and parenting.  Becoming a physician was a life-long dream of Dr. LeGrand-Rozovics. As a child she was hospitalized with pneumonia. The compassionate care she received during that 2-week hospitalization sparked her interest in medicine.  Dr. LeGrand-Rosovics believes in treating her patients in the way she would want her family members to be treated. "When you have that perspective, you want to explain things dif ...

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