As parents, we are responsible for making decisions for our young children. While some of these choices may seem trivial to us, they can be tough on little minds. I’m talking about taking away pacifiers, ending the thumb-sucking habit, moving to a “big kid” bed, disconnecting from a blanket or certain stuffed animal…those kinds of things.
I’ve already shared how my husband and I broke the pacifier habit for our twins when they were just one year old, despite many parents around us continuing pacifier use with their kids past the age of two. We were ready, our girls were ready, and the transition went well, so we have absolutely no regrets about being done with pacifiers early.
Another big transition we choose to tackle sooner than most was the elimination of the crib. We used a standard crib, which the girls slept in until they were fourteen months old. Since then, they’ve slept on a twin-size mattress on the floor.
Why make the switch early?
Big Changes Aren’t Startling Yet.
Think about your earliest memory. How old were you? More than likely, you were over two or three years old. The older our kids get, the more their level of understanding deepens and their brains begin storing memories.
The longer you wait to make a big change with your children, the more they understand what is going on, which can lead to frustration, confusion, and resistance. Generally speaking, if you make a big change earlier, a child’s confusion will be less prevalent and they will adapt sooner.
Instead of wondering why something is drastically different and lingering on a negative feeling associated with change, a child will soon forget the way things used to be. Rather, they will assume that the way life is now is the way it’s always been.
No Headache Down the Road.
I know of other parents who waited quite a long time to transition their child out of a crib for fear that it wouldn’t go well or other reasons. When they finally made the change, they were anxious about the outcome and stressed about their child’s ability to adapt.
If you make a big change before a child’s brain begins storing long-term memories, there is less to worry about as far as their resistance to change. While it may seem surprising to them at first, they will soon forget what once was.
(Potentially) Less Money Spent on Beds & Bedding.
Some parents transition their child from a co-sleeper by their bed to a crib in another room, then from the crib to a transitional bed, to a toddler bed, and finally to a twin or full bed. That’s a lot of different beds to adjust to! It can also be really expensive to buy all those mattresses, frames, and bedding.
While not everyone will spend money on more than one kind of bed for his or her child, it’s undoubtedly cheaper to just go from the crib to a mattress on the floor. I’ve even heard of some people not using a crib for a child at all!
Cribs have “walls” around the mattress, as do transitional beds. If a child isn’t ready to go to sleep yet, he or she may feel confined or trapped in his or her own bed. Have you ever put your child down at night, only to see them on the monitor standing up and holding the sides of the rails? Or, maybe they try to climb out of the crib altogether.
Your child may not be trying to keep you awake, and those tears may not be caused by separation anxiety. It’s possible that your child just isn’t ready to sleep yet, but has nothing to distract him or her from the impending bedtime.
By letting them sleep on a mattress on the floor, you allow them the freedom to explore the room or run around and burn some steam before they collapse into a deep slumber. Trust me, it won’t take your child long to realize that they are much more comfortable sleeping on the mattress than on the floor.
Better Back Support?
This is 100% theory on my part, so maybe someone else can correct me if I’m wrong.
When our girls were in a crib, we never felt like the mattress felt very comfortable. Don’t get me wrong; we aimed to get the most comfortable crib mattress we could from the store. Still, none of them seemed as great as our bed.
Kids are constantly growing, and while they are pliable and flexible in a way that I will never be again, I still don’t want to do anything to hinder their physical development. By letting them sleep on a better mattress earlier in life, I like to think that I’m supporting their physical development and encouraging a higher level of comfort.
Ready to Make the Switch for Your Kid(s)?
Check out this post to understand how we moved our girls from a crib to a mattress!
Hello! I am a work-at-home mom to twin girls and a canine. I’m learning what life looks like when you surrender to God. Passionate about parenthood, marriage, and all things coffee!