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Friday, February 19, 2010

Toddler Beds: I Just Don’t Get It!

By Katie M

We just crossed a major milestone in our house this past month and that’s getting rid of our crib. It makes me so sad. We’ve had it as a regular piece of furniture for six years and parting with it makes for a big reality check that I no longer have babies – I have kids! But, it was a necessary step as my son just turned three (yes, we held onto it as long as possible), and he was more than ready for a “big boy bed.” The transition was great, albeit we had many talks (a.k.a. threats) that big boys don’t get out of their bed in the middle of the night. And keeping the crib in the room the past few weeks has proved good leverage in case he did decide to slink out. He was psyched for the big move and has been very good about it, and we’re excited to switch his room from a nursery to a boy’s room.

So, when we were ready to cross this step off our parental “To Do” list, we immediately started to plan for what kind of bed would make the most sense. And I have to say, I am still curious as to why parents purchase toddler beds.

If you did purchase a toddler bed for your child and you love it, then that is great. But the question I am posing in this blog is why would purchase a toddler bed (which can be a pretty big investment) for something you use for such a short time? I know, I know…to each their own…but I’d still love to know how you came to your decision.

Here’s why. For us, the main reason for not purchasing a toddler bed was our budget. Jen P of Charlotte Smarty Pants wrote a great blog on toddler beds vs. crib tents (a whole ‘nother topic in itself) and offered a website for good deals on decent toddler beds. But the average price for these beds starts at $100 – and most are much, much more.

With that price in mind, we decided to move our children directly into twin beds (beds they will, hopefully, stay in until they are 18!) with a bedrail until they are old enough to ensure they won’t roll out of bed. We also held off on using the box spring for both our children so they are sleeping pretty low to the floor; we just added the box spring to my daughter's bed a few months ago and she's almost six.

So essentially we spent more than the cost of a typical toddler bed, but our thinking is that we won’t have to purchase another bed in a few years. We’re thinking this is it until they move out for college! Seriously!

Are we crazy and cheap? I hope not! I spent 15+ years in the same twin bed in my parents’ home growing up. Was I ok? I think so! And I also think I was on the same mattress and box spring all those years. Is that crazy? That makes for another blog because I’ve been told by someone that you need to purchase new mattresses and box springs for your beds every FIVE years. Ok, to me, that’s a little crazy!

The other reason we opted to go directly to a twin bed is décor. I am the kind of person who likes to finish the look of the room (at least get close) when I buy furniture. When we purchased both of our children’s beds, that meant we immediately had to buy super cute comforters, coordinating sheets and pillows, and curtains (although the house we purchased came with super cute curtains that we matched the bedding to). If we bought a toddler bed (and in our case, but not our choice, they would most likely be replicas of Lighting McQueen or Barbie Fairytopia), the décor would also need to be updated in a few short years.

Another option I wished I had the opportunity to explore – one that I think is fabulous – is the convertible crib! You know – the kind of crib that can turn into a toddler bed? I wish we had one of those, but – again our budget won over desire with that argument. We bought our crib hoping we’d have more than one baby sleep in it – and we weren’t sure what the timing would be. So, to turn it into a toddler bed would only make sense for our last baby.

So when it comes to toddler beds, for us it wasn’t a viable option. Perhaps our children would be upset if they knew there were other options out there versus their boring twin beds. But we did our research, and I still question the necessity of – or desire of – a toddler bed.

For those of you out there who defend your toddler bed purchase, please prove me wrong! Add your comments below!


Stephanie said...

Absolutely 100% agree. We got a toddler bed with our first child and it was a waste of time and money. Neither of our next two kids got one. Much better choice to move directly to a twin or a full size bed.

Summer said...

We had twins with our first pregnancy and were gifted 2 convertible cribs. When our TWINS figured out how to get out of their cribs at 18 months (and they were sharing a room!) I was glad to be able to just take the side of the bed off so they wouldn't break their necks jumping out of the beds. I feel your pain on the toddler bedding, I ended up making some little comforters and buying plain white sheets and monogramming the pillow cases. I am not a fan of character bedding. When we needed a crib for the next baby, we moved the twins to twin beds. I liked the security of having the smaller beds (I e convertible crib) that was so low to the ground, because our kids were so young when they were able to get out, and if our beds hadn't been convertible, I think i would have been tempted by a toddler bed, because you can buy them used fo $20 and not have to buy a new mattress. A crib tent never appealed to me, I don't think I would have been able to keep a straight face as I was zipping them in.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. We just switched our 2 1/2 year old from crib to twin, which we expect to keep her in until college. I also slept in the same twin bed for all those years. The other reason I didn't want a toddler bed is because it adds another transition.

stella said...

Our toddler bed was used to help give me more time. I needed more time to decide what kind of big boy bed I wanted. I was trying to decide if I wanted twin bed or bunk beds or... you name it I considered it. I bought it used from a friend then resold it for the same. I bought inexpensive bedding at target and consigned it so it doesn't have to be a big expense if you play your cards right.

Katie M said...

These comments came in from our Facebook page:

Kristin Lidbom Redfield: I guess I will be the first to post counter to the argument here.....

We are ones who chose toddler beds for our boys as their post-crib beds -- we shopped on the resale market and picked them each up for about $20-25 each -- solid wood ones that looked like "big boy" style beds -- not the plastic ones ... these still look like furniture. We also already had the mattresses (from the crib) so that cost was non-existent, as was the sheet/blanket cost, so for less than $50 we felt that we could certainly fit that "middle stage" into our budget -- the rails to add to the beds cost far more than that! I also wanted them to sleep on a plastic-covered mattress until after they were fully nighttime potty trained (yes, I realize you can get really good covers to protect the mattresses -- at again a high cost -- but do you really want to knowingly sleep on a mattress at 13 or 14 years old that you peed on, even covered, at age 3 or 4?!?!). Ewwww.....

Yet another factor in our decision was that we wanted smaller beds for their room since they share a single room -- this still gives them plenty of play space in there without the beds filling up so much of it. As for their bedding, we have blankets that their great grandmother made them -- we are not a family who feels the need to have everything match as we decorate.... ...
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Hopefully this gives some ideas as to why the toddler beds work for some families. Originally, we too opposed them, but when we looked at the needs/desires of our family, the toddler beds seemed to fit us well.

Kristin Lidbom Redfield: Should I add that our 5yo is still in his toddler bed that we got when he was 2? He loves it!

Anonymous said...

SPACE! Some people live in smaller spaces and there just isn't room for every child to have their own room with their own bed. Also, some families co-sleep so a way that they transition their child from the family bed to their own bed is by having a toddler bed in the same room. We have a toddler bed from Ikea. It's larger than a U.S. toddler bed and will last the child longer.

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