Tips for Transitioning Your Toddler from Crib to Big Bed

Is your toddler ready to move from her crib to her very first big-kid bed? 

Transitioning your toddler to a big bed usually happens around age 3. While the age may differ for each child, baby sleep experts advise it’s best to keep your little one in a crib as long as possible providing it continues to be comfortable and safe. But if she is routinely climbing over the rail, or too big for the crib, and shows interest in a big bed you’ll know it’s time to make the move.                                                          

To make your toddler’s transition as stress-free as possible include her in the preparation and set-up a sleep routine from the get go.  How do you go about doing this?  We share best tips from sleep and parenting experts we think you’ll find very helpful:

From Baby Sleep Site, Emily Delu suggests:  Talk to your toddler about the switch ahead of time. Few toddlers will react well to entering their room and suddenly seeing their old bed replaced with a new one. Remember, toddlers like routine and predictability! So let your toddler know what’s coming. Talk about it and maybe read a book about it (like this one) together.”

Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting advises: "If you’re moving your child to make room in the crib for a new sibling, be sure the transition occurs a good two months before you expect the new baby.  You want your toddler to be happy in his new bed before he sees an interloper in his crib. If your child is not really ready to leave his crib, you can save yourself and him a lot of grief by borrowing a second crib for a while, until he’s ready.”

Kim West, The Sleep Lady writes:  Make it special. This is a big deal and a big transition for your toddler.  Make it special by having him help you pick out new sheets, blankets and even the bed itself if you’d like. This may also be a good opportunity to redecorate his room if you’ve been thinking about it. Have your child as involved as possible, as it will help him take ownership of this new responsibility and ‘big kid’ status.

Here at Satara Home, we've also found picking out a new pillow with your child is another way to make the move to the new bed special.  A toddler size natural pillow filled with wooly bolas, shredded latex, kapok or PLA fiber is a safe, comfortable choice.  

And, when choosing a bed, consider one that will grow with your child. If you’re transitioning your toddler to a twin bed make sure you attach a guardrail to prevent any falls. Children should not sleep in the top of a bunk bed until they reach 6 years old.

Rebecca Kampton of Baby Sleep Pro shares this on sleepjunkies.com: Create sleep rules.Remember, a bed without four “walls” offers freedom!  And before you can say good-night, your toddler might follow you out of the room.  When you do make the transition, create sleep rules: establish a consistent pre bed routine; and use a toddler clock to help him understand the “right” time to leave the room in the morning.  Lastly, make bedtime fun to balance the new rules.”

Photo: Merlin 3-Drawer Dresser by Oeuf