The following is a query to Child Caring writer Barbara Meltz during a Q&A with Boston.com readers:
Question: What is the appropriate age/stage to take my daughter out of her crib and into a toddler bed? She is 3 1/2 and has never tried to get out.
I don't want to take her out becasue she has been fine, and I don't look forward to being poked in the middle of the night. And I am afraid that she'll start trying to con her way into our bed. She has never slept with us. Any suggestions on when/how to make the transition out of a crib? Thanks
Barbara Meltz: Anytime between 3 and 4. Generally, it's necessity that drives this decision. Either your child is physically uncomfortable or you need the crib for a younger sib. When you make the transition, if it's possible, put the bed in the room with the crib, and keep the two of them there together for a while. Let her use the bed for a nap now and then.
Make a big deal out of the bed: buy sheets together for it, etc., so it's the big girl bed. But also set some rules: if you need something after you go to bed, you call for me just like you always do. Not every kid is running around in the middle of the night! If she's never tried to get out of the crib, I bet she will adapt easily and without the headaches you anticipate.
Agree with Barbara's take? Have thoughts of your own? Let us know in our comments section below.