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How to Transition Your Child from a Crib to a Toddler Bed

It is inevitable that you will have to transition your child from a crib to a bed at some point! They can’t go off to college still sleeping in their crib! But, when and how should you make the transition? You want your toddler to learn to sleep in their own bed, but are likely wondering when you should make the big move from a crib to a bed. You also want to make sure that the transition from a crib to a kid’s bed is as painless as possible for both you and your child. Below, we have some information to help you decide when and how to help move your child from a crib to a bed.

Signs Your Child is Ready to Move to a Toddler Bed

It may be time to make the transition from a crib to a bed under the following circumstances:

  • Climbing: If your child has started climbing out of their crib, it may be time to move them from their crib to a kid’s bed. However, if your child has only climbed out of the crib one time, it may not be time to make the move just yet. Some kids climb out once, and then don’t climb out again for quite some time.
  • Your child is asking for a big kid’s bed: If your child has started to verbalize to you that they want their own big kid’s bed, it may mean that they are ready to make the move.
  • You are ready to night potty-train: If you are in the process of potty-training and feel that your child is ready to make it through the night without having an accident, you may want to move them to a toddler bed so they can access the bathroom.
  • You have another baby on the way soon: Sometimes, the reason you chose to move your child from a crib to a bed may have more to do with you than your child. If you have another baby on the way and are going to need the crib for your new baby soon, it may be time to move your toddler to the bed. You’ll want to make this move a while before you have the new baby so your toddler doesn’t have to adjust to both a new bed and a new brother or sister at the same time.

How to Ensure a Smooth Transition to the New Bed

Once you’ve determined that it is time to transition your child from a crib to a bed, there are lots of things you should consider before you plunge in and make the big move.

Try to Avoid Scheduling the Move When Other Big Changes or Transitions are Happening

If there are other big changes occurring in your toddler’s life, you will probably want to hold off on moving them from a crib to a bed for a while. If your toddler has just started daycare or preschool, you’re beginning to potty-train, or you’re planning a trip somewhere that will interrupt your routine, it might be a better idea to wait a while to make the transition.

Be Consistent with Placement of the New Bed

Your child is used to the location in which they sleep each evening. They are used to having the same view of the fan in their room, the curtains, and their nightlight. Try to keep this as similar as possible by placing their bed in the same location as their crib. This will help make the move from a crib to a bed easier on your toddler (and on you).

Purchase Special Books to Read Together

There are many books that have been written that are designed to help make the transition from a crib to a bed easier on your little one. These books help ease your child’s fears and get them excited to sleep in their big kid bed. Some titles you can consider are “A Bed of Your Own,” “Big Enough for a Bed,” and “I Love to Sleep in My Own Bed.”

Involve Your Child in Selecting Their New Bed and Bedding

Help get your toddler excited and invested in having a new, big kid’s bed. Make them a part of the process of selecting and setting up their new bed. Bring them shopping with you when you go to pick out the new bed. If you want to make the choices a little less overwhelming for them, you can provide them with two or three options to decide between (this can also help ensure that you are OK with the bed they choose).

You can also let them pick out new bedding for the new big kid’s bed. Maybe, pick out a few new, coordinating decorations for their bedroom too. They’ll be much more motivated to sleep in their bed if they feel like they had a role in creating it!

Reevaluate Your Childproofing

Before you make the big move from a crib to a toddler bed, you’ll want to reexamine their room. You’ve likely already childproofed the space, but that was before they were going to be able to get out of their bed in the middle of the night without you there. Double check that there aren’t any safety hazards in the room. Make sure that all of their furniture is mounted to the wall. Consider putting a gate in their doorway so they don’t have access to the rest of the house in the middle of the night. Do everything you can to ensure they will be safe in their room if they let themselves out of bed.

Stick with Your Current Bedtime Routines

To ensure a smooth transition for your child, it is going to be very important to stick with your current bedtime routines. You’ll want to keep everything as consistent as possible to help your child adjust to their new bed. If you don’t currently have a consistent bedtime routine, it is a good idea to try to establish one before you try to move your child from a crib to a bed.

Be Patient and Offer Comfort

Moving from a crib to a toddler bed is a big change for your little guy or gal. Be patient and comfort them if they are scared or nervous. You can try sharing some times when you’ve been scared and what you did to help yourself get through the rough times.

Moving your toddler from a crib to a bed can be a big adjustment for both of you. With some consistency and planning though, your toddler will be ready and excited to make the big change.