For us, using a kids sleeping bag was one less thing to worry about when a screaming newborn landed in our arms – and we continued to use one until Freddie was around 2.5 years of age. Thanks to TOG ratings, he was always snug & warm or cool & comfortable. But all good things come to an end, and just when you think you’ve got this sleep thing worked out – its time to say bye-bye sleep sack!
What you’ll find in this article are realistic tips & tricks on when & how to make the switch from toddler sleeping bag to a traditional blanket. These tips are taken from my own experience with Freddie, as well as health professional help given to myself & other mum (mom) friends.
Dive in – and don’t forget to comment with any of your own tips & tricks at the bottom of this article!
Table of Contents
When to begin the transition from Toddler Sleeping Bag to Blanket
Having gone through the transition with my toddler, as well as watching other mother’s group friends doing the same, I can safely say – THERE IS NO ONE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION. Sorry! However, here are a few ideas that may help you to decide when to make the move:
Based on the room temperature
My main tip on timing is to make the transition from toddler sleeping bag to blanket during spring or summer. From what we’ve experienced, this will significantly reduce the likelihood of bub waking up cold and disturbing your precious sleep (that’s really why we’re here, isn’t it!)
When the toddler sleep sack no longer fits
Your toddler can continue using one until the wearable blanket you have no longer fits – most of the main companies that make a baby sleep sack stop producing different sizes larger than 36 months, some even at 24 months.
Quite often the largest size you’ll find is for an 18 month old baby. You may also have an escape artist who won’t keep their bag on (Hint: make sure to try it backwards first!) – looks like they’ve made the decision for you!
In our experience, most toddlers will wear a sleeping bag while still in their cot and then transition into traditional bedding at the same time as transitioning to a bed. I say STOP. RIGHT. THERE. Why make it harder for yourself. One thing at a time!
I’d recommend doing the switch from sleeping bag to blanket when they are in a familiar environment (cot, crib) and then once you’ve overcome that hurdle, start working on the bed transition.
Similiar as the above point….let’s go slowly slowly, one thing at a time! If you’re following along, I’d say the best order for all of this fun toddler transition stuff (!!) is sleep sacks> blankets> cot> toilet training – that way, if your toddler needs to go to the toilet in the middle of the night and they are in a bed with blankets – its very easy for them to make it to the toilet (AND they may not need to wake you up in the process!) – but again, each toddler is a different beast, and you may see a better way through to the end!
How To Start The Transition From Toddler Sleeping Bag To Blanket!
If you’re really wanting to stretch the process out or go about it super carefully & slowly (some toddlers definately respond better to this slowly,slowly method of introducing new things) – you could transition from sleep sacks > sleeping bags with legs > traditional bedding.
Some new parents swear by these “footie jammies” – especially if their child is already toilet trained and needs to get out in the night to use the toilet. It is just another step in the process and they are quite expensive though so, if you can, i’d recommend skipping this step.
Dress your child comfortably
After months (years?) of sleeping bag usage, your toddler will be used to not having to control their own temperature at night.
Those fantastic TOG ratings have been a saviour!! Keeping this in mind, try dressing your child in pyjamas appropriate to the temperature when going through the transition – remember, the bedding will fall off and we don’t want them to wake up freezing cold (again, you don’t want them to wake YOU up!).
Introduce bedding during the day time
A great option is to try turning the transition from toddler sleeping bag to blanket all into a game. While you are playing with your child during the day, grab a light blanket and show them what to do with their blanket if they get uncomfortable during the night.
We did this in Freddie’s pop up toy tent – Mummy & Freddie would both lay down and take their blankets on and off. It has helped him to know what to do during the night. Once they’ve got the idea during play time, introduce during the day nap (if you’re lucky enough to have a toddler that still sleeps during the day!)
Start with a sheet
You can start by using just a light sheet over the sleeping bag, so your child gradually gets the idea that the sheet gets pulled up and is part of the bedtime routine. Then try using a lighter weight sleeping bag, a top sheet and one blanket. .
Once your child is used to the sheet and blanket, try some sleeps without the sleeping bag and see how it goes. If you do this in conjunction with the day time blanket trick, they should get the idea in no time!!
Check & adjust when you go to bed
And for peace of mind, we always peak our heads into Freddie’s room just before we go to sleep, to make sure he is safely snuggled up in his blankets. While it is petrifying if you have to adjust the blankets, take it slowly and cross your fingers they don’t wake up!
Common problems + solutions
My child just does not get the concept of pulling up their blankets to stay warm, help!
Often a child won’t get the concept of pulling up their bedding to stay warm until they are over 3 years old…this is why i’ve suggested to start introducing your toddler to blankets during the day, so that come midnight in winter, they are already familiar with the action. Remember – there is no set age for when your little one should be using a blanket – go with whatever you feel is a good idea
My child keeps waking up and complaining of cold feet. What should I do?
We recommend you dress your child warmly enough that they don’t need much bedding, so it doesn’t matter too much if the bedding ends up at the other end of the toddler bed. Maybe an solution for you could be by using the sleeping bags with legs/feet until your little one gets the hang of those pesky loose blankets!
My toddlers room gets really cold at night – any tips for this?
Remember that the sleep pros suggest a temp of 20-24 degrees celcius (68-72 farenheit) for best possible sleep for babies + toddlers so I wouldn’t stress too much unless it gets well below that. Start in the warmer weather / warmer months with the gradual blanket exposure (day time blanket > top sheet + top sheet + blanket > sleep sack gone!) so that by the time the colder temperatures sets in, your toddler is a pro!
We bought this Tommee Tippee Bedroom Thermometer and it has been the BEST help with deciding what to dress out toddlers in at night.
Toddler Sleep Sack To Blanket: FAQ
Q: What is a toddler sleep sack?
A: A toddler sleep sack is a wearable blanket designed to keep young children warm and safe while sleeping. It typically has a sleeveless or long-sleeved design, with a zipper or snaps at the front or side for easy access.
Q: When should a toddler stop using a sleep sack?
A: Most experts recommend transitioning toddlers from a sleep sack to a blanket around 18 to 24 months of age, or when they are able to climb out of their crib.
Q: How do I know when my toddler is ready to transition from a sleep sack to a blanket?
A: Look for signs that your toddler is ready, such as showing interest in using a regular blanket, being able to climb in and out of bed independently, and no longer waking up during the night because they are cold.
Q: What type of blanket should I use after transitioning from a sleep sack?
A: Choose a lightweight blanket that is appropriate for the current season and the temperature of your child’s bedroom. Avoid using heavy blankets or duvets, which can pose a suffocation risk.
Q: How can I make the transition from a sleep sack to a blanket easier for my toddler?
A: Start by introducing a blanket during naptime, and gradually increase the amount of time your child uses it each day. You can also let your child choose their own blanket, or make the transition more fun by getting a new blanket with their favorite character or color.
Q: Are there any safety concerns I should be aware of when transitioning from a sleep sack to a blanket?
A: Always ensure that your child’s blanket is lightweight and breathable, and avoid using any blankets with loose threads or strings that could pose a strangulation risk. Additionally, make sure your child’s blanket is tucked securely into the mattress or bed frame to prevent it from becoming entangled.
Helpful Resources for the Sleep Sack to Blanket Transition
Toddler Sleep Safety 101
Once your child reaches 18 months, it’s fine for him to sleep with a thin blanket or cuddly toy. But if he’s in a crib, make sure the blanket and toy are small enough so that he can’t use them to climb over the side (a classic toddler manoveur). We don’t want any crib-related injuries!
Why trust My Toddler Life?
My Toddler Life is run by mum’s, for mum’s. All information provided on our site is thoroughly researched and takes in to consideration our lived experiences and the opinions of industry professionals. How are we different from other sites doing the same thing? We have fun while doing it (often with a glass of wine in hand) and don’t take ourselves too seriously! Good Luck!
To wrap it all up…
Hopefully the above information gives you a great starting place, if not to help guide you the whole way through the transition. Here is a little overview:
- WHEN to start the transition: based on the temperature, when sleep sacks no longer fit, before transitioning from cot to bed, before beginning toilet training
- HOW to start the transition: sleeping bags with legs, dress your child comfortably (remember TOGs!), introduce during the day time, gradual exposure starting with a thin top sheet – and don’t forget to check in just before you go to bed!
Remember – there is no hard or fast rule that says you have to transition your toddler from sleeping bag to blanket – and when you should do it – I mean, they make adult onesies that Mum & Dad can still sleep in!! So take your time, take a deep breath, have a glass of wine and dive in ! GOOD LUCK!!