Transitioning Your Toddler From Crib To Bed

Everything you need to know about moving your toddler from their crib to a bed


It’s time to switch your toddler from their crib to a bed. Maybe you’ve been in denial and finally accepting the situation. Perhaps you’re being forced to because you have a crib jumper on your hands. Regardless, you are about to embark on a major transition for your little one and his sleep routine and it’s important that you head into it prepared.

When should we do it?

I normally recommend holding off on this transition until your child is 3 years old, or close to it. The older they are the better they will understand the sleep rules and what’s expected of them during the switch. You may have to transition sooner if your child is climbing out of the crib, but if they aren’t and you don’t need it for another child then there is no need to rush into it.

What do we do first?

Start off by communicating with your child and each other. Explain to your child what is going to happen and get them excited about the change. Mom and dad, you need a plan too. Sit down together and go over all the “what ifs.” What if they come out of their room? How will you handle that situation? Arming yourself with a plan before issues happen will help make you more consistent in how you set those limits.

Also remember to make it fun for you child! Get them involved in the transformation of their room. Let them pick out the bedding and décor. Getting them excited about the change will help them follow the rules you may have to implement better.

TIP! Make it Safe – Remember your little one is now free to move about their room. It’s important to do a once over and childproof the room like installing outlet plugs, childproof door handles on closet doors, and possibly guardrails on the bed. Also make sure all furniture is bolted to the walls.

The bed is up! Now what?

It’s important to establish sleep rules right away. Setting limits can be tough but important when making this transition. You have to expect that they will get out of bed, as this newfound freedom will be too exciting for them to pass up. Be firm with your plan and when explaining the rules, as how you handle it right from the start will make a difference.

It’s always best to make sure any sleep issues you and your child are currently experiencing is worked out before you start, and then make sure you continue to follow the basic sleep fundamentals once the switch has taken place. Having a consistent bedtime routine, coupled with an age appropriate early bedtime, will help prepare your child that sleep is coming next.  They will feel safe and secure in knowing what to expect each night.

If you’re child is already a great little sleeper chances are the transition will be quick and easy. When making any major transition with your little one it’s always better to be as best prepared as you can be and some of these tips will help you get there. Good luck and have fun with it!

Alanna McGinn is a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site. She is a mom of 3 (1 + twins!) and is committed to helping families with their baby and toddler sleep needs.

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