Raising children calls for planning, preparation and lots of stuff – from cribs and toddler beds to baby bedding and gear, there’s no end to the equipment you need just to make sure your little ones are properly fed, toileted and well rested. Sleep is a critical component of early childhood development; regular naps and a good night’s rest are essential for baby (and parents too!) which is why the nursery environment, crib and bed clothes are so very important – they should encourage sound sleep for daytime naps and nighttime rest.
Sleep quality can be impacted by many factors including light and sound. The nursery should be painted in a neutral and calming color; window treatments should be such that the room can be fully darkened. While you may want cute window valances or window panels you may also need to back them up with room darkening window shades. Random sounds and excessive noise can be a distraction so when you decide on which room will be used as the nursery it is a good idea to factor in any road noise or other issues which may impact the audio environment. Even if you do not have external sound issues a white noise machine is good for blocking out ordinary household sounds.
While window treatments can be used to address natural lighting you must also consider room lighting; dimmer switches are very helpful on both ceiling fixtures and lamps. Nightlights let you check in on baby without disturbing your little one plus you will need some task lighting so you can see what you are doing while diapering or dressing baby. A good reading light is helpful for reading to your little one.
Most cribs feature a standard crib mattress – crib ensembles consist of a fitted crib sheet, a crib skirt and one or more crib bumpers. These are the basics for outfitting a crib. Experts recommend three sets of sheets for any bed with one set on the bed, one set in the wash and one set at the ready but when it comes to crib sheets and kids bedding you are better off with four to five sets. Accidents will happen and laundry can get backed up – there’s no reason to get caught short on sheets and pillowcases. Most modern bedding is designed to be machine washable and dryer-safe but it’s important to confirm this before making a purchase. Dry cleaning is costly and time consuming plus you need a second set of bed clothes if one set is at the cleaners.
You will find that most toddler beds on the market come equipped with side panels or rails to prevent your tot from falling out in the night. If your little one rolls around a lot, this is a practical solution to that problem. Some of these are adjustable, so you can extend the bed as your child grows, remove the side panels and even turn the bed into a chair, using the former side panels as the arms of the new chair.
Some basic requirements you should look for in a toddler bed are that it is sturdy enough to stand up to toddler treatment, is low to the ground to limit injuries from falls and good quality with rounded edges and a smooth finish, to prevent splinters. If you buy the bed and mattress together, you can be certain of a snug fit – a poor fit can lead to your child being uncomfortable, having sleepless nights and can eventually damage the bed and mattress.
With the lighting, audio environment and comfortable bed sorted, your child should be in just the right environment to enjoy sweet dreams.