There is plenty of mixed opinion about whether it is worth investing in a toddler-sized bed instead of moving your little one directly into a twin-sized bed that they can use until they leave for college. We have evaluated both sides of this debate so you can decide whether a toddler bed is worth it.
Toddler beds aren’t used for long, but they are easier to clean and provide peace of mind in terms of safety. It is not a must-have but is nice, especially if you have limited space. Whether or not a toddler bed is worth it depends on much you paid for it and if you plan to have another child.
Let’s look at whether a toddler bed is worth the outlay. A good quality toddler bed costs between $100 and $400 and usually comes without a mattress. Besides that, these small beds are typically only used for between 2 and 3 years, so why buy one if you can just use a regular twin bed to begin with?
Is A Toddler Bed Worth It?
If your toddler has reached the stage where they frequently try to climb out of their crib or can lean over the top of the rail, it’s time for them to transition to a bed. You may have some safety concerns or feel like you are pushing your baby along too fast by skipping the toddler bed, but at the same time, you don’t want to waste money.
Toddler beds are a stepping stone between a crib and a regular-sized bed. Saying goodbye to the baby crib can be a huge step for a child and also sometimes the parents. It often signals the official end of the baby stage and the beginning of real independence.
Deciding if you should invest in a toddler bed is unique to each family and child. Some children are happy to sleep in their cribs for longer, while others start trying to climb out as soon as they can stand. You may also be expecting an addition to the family and need the crib again, so each situation is different.
This table is a summary of the pros and cons of getting a toddler bed:
|Pros and Cons of Toddler Beds|
|Close to the ground with secure sides||They are expensive|
|Small and snug – similar to familiar crib setting||The child will outgrow it quickly|
|It uses the same mattress and bedding as the crib||You may need the mattress in the crib for a new baby, so you will have to buy an additional one|
|The smaller size makes cleaning accidents easier||Parents can’t sit on the bed with the child for bedtime reading routine or if they are sick|
|Can make the transition from the crib to a bed easier||They will need to transition to a big bed again|
|They take up less space than a twin bed||You will need to replace the toddler bed with a regular bed eventually|
|More comfortable height for the child to enter and exit|
|The toddler can sit comfortably on the side of the bed with their feet on the floor|
From this basic table, you can see that there is no definitive reason that most children need a toddler bed. Therefore, transitioning to a toddler bed or straight to a regular bed should be based on the child’s developmental ability, room size, decor, and other unique requirements.
Certainly, by around the age of 4 or 5, your toddler will outgrow the little bed and need a regular-size bed. So what are the main reasons that anyone would purchase a toddler bed in the first place? There are several main benefits:
- Safety – Cribs provide a secure space where a child can sleep without any possibility of falling out. A toddler bed is low and fitted with safety sides. Many parents worry about moving their toddler directly into a much higher twin bed.
- Familiarity – Some parents need to move their toddler to their own bed because they need to use the infant crib for a new baby. The familiar mattress from the crib can be moved and will usually fit the bed. The transition to a similar-sized, low toddler bed can make the move smoother.
- Practicality – Let’s face it. Being a parent to a toddler is often messy. Chances are a child will be using the toddler bed while they are potty training, and staying dry through the night can sometimes take a while to achieve. When accidents happen, it is much easier to remove and quickly launder the mattress protector and linen from a small toddler bed than from a full-sized bed.
- Convenience for the toddler – Toddler beds are made especially for tiny people. Imagine yourself sleeping in a bed so high that you had to make an effort to climb onto it! So these small, low beds are simply more accessible for little people to sit on and hop on and off.
- Space – If the nursery is a small room, you may not want to use an adult-sized bed right away because it may make the room feel cluttered or full. Toddlers need space to play, and often their toys are big. A tiny bed may, therefore more sensitive.
By the time the child outgrows the toddler bed and needs a regular size bed, they will probably spend most of their daytime hours at preschool, so they won’t need as much ‘play space’ in their bedroom.
Another reason some parents opt for a toddler bed is that the new baby and the toddler will be sharing the nursery with the new baby. So an adult-sized bed along with the crib may take up a lot of space. In this case, a toddler bed can feel like a natural stepping stone for a little one, and specialty-themed beds, like this Paw Patrol one, may excite your little one to give up their crib to a younger sibling.
There is also a lot of support for moving a toddler directly into a regular twin bed. Understandably most parents are extra vigilant for the first few nights after the move, but if you know your child’s sleeping pattern and take a few basic precautions, you can entirely skip the need to buy a toddler bed. Let’s go through some reasons why a toddler bed may just not be worth it.
There is no doubt that a toddler bed is a nice-to-have item for those who need the extra space or want to indulge in your little one’s growing stages a bit longer. But toddler beds do also have some distinct downsides that may even cramp your style slightly
- Expense – You know that you will also have to purchase a twin bed for your child in a few years, so the outlay for a relatively short-term piece of furniture may not feel worth it.
- Discomfort for Parents – A toddler bed is not a comfortable space where you and your little one will be able to snuggle under the blankets together as you read their favorite bedtime story. It is simply too tiny for an adult, so the bed becomes a ‘toddler only’ zone.
- Safety rails can be purchased separately and fitted to any regular bed. These handy fittings, which cost around $30 to $50, will prevent possible nighttime tumbles. So this negates the primary concern of most parents about the safety aspect of transitioning straight to a big bed.
The best way to decide if a toddler bed is worth it is to consider the child and whether they would benefit from a special toddler bed. For some kids, moving out of the cot to a big bed is a highly anticipated event, while for others, it can be a little overwhelming and unsettling.
We all want our children to feel that their bed is a safe nest to relax and sleep comfortably. If a toddler bed is what it takes to allow your child to relax so that they get a good night’s sleep, then there is no harm in getting one. Sure, you’ll have to replace it in a couple of years, but the step to a big bed won’t seem so big by then.
Can A Toddler Move Directly To A Twin Bed?
Toddler beds are a relatively modern invention. Children can move directly from a crib to a regular-sized bed. Investing in a special mini-toddler bed is often a matter of convenience and continuity for the child, rather than any physical requirement.
Let’s discuss how to safely transition your child to a regular-sized bed should you decide not to purchase a toddler bed. Take note; it must not ever be the case where a child is expected to move one evening without warning as it is a huge adjustment moving from an enclosed crib to a regular bed.
6 Steps To Transitioning Your Toddler To A Twin Bed
Children need to understand what is happening around them, so include them in even step of the planning. We have broken down the steps to help you successfully encourage your toddler to move directly to a regular-size bed.
Step 1: Have the new bed in the same room as the crib. Put colorful toddler-friendly linen on it. Sit on it with your child during story time or other quiet activities. Let them get used to it. Don’t remove the crib and let the child continue to sleep in it if they want to.
Step 2: The bed must be positioned against a wall. If it has no headboard, try to place it in the corner so that the top and one side are closed. This will provide a sense of security to the child.
Step 3: Fit a safety rail on the open side of the bed. (Optional depending on your child’s developmental stage or if you know they move around a lot at night) Safety railings are available to fit any size bed.
Step 4: Practice getting in and out independently. It may be frightening for a child to wake up in the night to use the bathroom if they are confused and can’t remember the ‘feet-first’ safe way of getting down off their bed.
Step 5: Create a soft landing space. It is unlikely that your child will tumble out of the large area of a big bed unless they are restless sleepers, in which case you should invest in a safety railing. However, a regular bed feels high for a small child, so place a spare mattress or a few large pillows on the floor below the bed for the first few nights, especially if you don’t have a carpet. This can go a long way to provide a sense of security even though it hopefully isn’t needed.
Step 6: The big night. When they are ready to sleep in their big bed for the first time, make sure that they are truly tired, so they are more likely to sleep through. Surround them with the familiar toys that they had in the crib.
Parents should stay with their toddlers as they settle down, but they are not encouraged to climb into the bed and snuggle as this may become an expected bedtime behavior that may not always be possible. Instead, pull up a comfortable chair alongside the bed and read stories out loud until your child is sound asleep.
Step 7: Peek in to check regularly. Most parents are naturally a little anxious the first few nights that their toddlers start sleeping in beds that they can get out of on their own. Checking frequently will also enable you to check if the child is staying safely in the center of the bed.
Step 6: Celebrate the following morning. Once your toddler has managed their first night out of the crib, it is a big deal. Make them feel so proud that they can’t wait to repeat the experience the next night.
Toddler beds are worth it if you are worried about safety and don’t mind the extra expense of investing in an item that will only be used for a few years. These small beds have many advantages, but they are not vital, and a toddler can successfully transition directly to a regular-sized bed.
However, they are cute, take up less space, and are much easier to clean than a regular bed, so it is up to each family to decide whether or not a toddler bed is worth it in their unique situation.