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Tips to Transition from Crib to Bed

Tips to Transition from Crib to Bed

Transitioning your child from a crib to a big kid bed is a significant milestone in their young lives. As a sleep coach, I understand the challenges parents may face during this transition. However, with careful planning and patience, you can make this shift a smooth and positive experience for both you and your child. In this blog post, I’ll share all my tips to help you navigate the journey of moving your little one from their crib, where they have felt safe and secure, to the big kid bed, where there’s more freedom. Keep in mind that each child is unique and may need a different approach than another child.

Signs It’s Time to Transition from Crib to Bed says that most crib-to-bed transitions should take place between the ages of 18 months and three years old. There are three different factors to consider before transitioning your child from their crib to a big kid’s bed.

Physical Signs

If they are climbing out of their crib or if, when standing in the crib chest is above the railing

Developmental Signs

A child expressed interest in a big kid bed. They may have a sibling, relative, or friend who has a big bed, and they like the idea of being a “big kid.”

Emotional Signs

Showing discomfort in the crib – They are outgrowing the crib due to their size.

If you’ve noticed any or all of these signs that your child is ready to make the move into the big kid’s bed, then read on for some ways to make the transition easier.

Prepare your child mentally for their big kid bed

Begin talking to your child well before you transition them from crib to bed. This way, they’ll have time to get used to the idea.

  • Read books to your toddler about moving to a big kid’s bed.
  • Talk about the “new bed” in conversations throughout the day to get them excited about the upcoming change. Keep the transition talk exciting and positive.
  • Involve them in choosing the sheets, comforter, and bed, if possible. If you’re able to have them make decisions about bedding, they’ll feel involved in the process and in the decision-making.

Choosing the right big kid bed for your child

When considering what type of bed to get for your toddler, there are numerous choices. You may have a convertible crib that you plan to use. There are toddler beds – which come in all different colors and shapes, or you could get a twin-size bed. I’d suggest adding a safety rail to the bed if it doesn’t come with one. Whatever you plan to get, try to make it as comfortable and appealing to your child as possible. Perhaps they could decide which stuffed animals will get to sleep in their bed with them.

Keep Safety in Mind When Changing Beds

There will be a lot more freedom for your tot in their big kid bed.

  • If you haven’t already, make sure that furniture is securely attached to the wall.
  • Child-proof latches are on drawers.
  • Electrical cords are out of reach.
  • Electrical outlets have safety covers over them.
  • Check for anything they could climb on and make sure it’s safe.
  • Make sure blinds or window treatments don’t have dangling cords.

It was important to safety-proof the room when they were babies, but now is a great time to double-check and make any revisions that may be needed.

Establishing a bedtime routine

If you already have a bedtime routine, then keep it the same. That way, everything leading up to bedtime will be the same except for the new bed. If you don’t have a bedtime routine yet, it’s a great time to start one. Having a consistent bedtime routine lets your child know what comes next, so there are no surprises. Toddlers handle their behavior best when their schedules are consistent.

When NOT to Transition from Crib to Bed

There are certain times when I would not recommend transitioning your child to a big kid’s bed. The number one time not to transition is when you’re having a new baby! It’s best to purchase a crib before moving your tot out of their crib so a new baby can move in. If you don’t have a choice about this and have to use the child’s crib, then make the transition a few months prior to the baby’s arrival so that your child doesn’t feel like the new baby is taking over their beloved crib.

Another time not to transition your child is when they are starting a new school/daycare or having a new babysitter; then, you may want to consider waiting. If you have recently moved or are going to be moving, or if a vacation is in the near future, it’s best to wait until they’re settled in.

Another time is when your child is currently potty training. It is best to wait until they’ve mastered the potty before transitioning into a new bed.

When Not To Transition Your Baby to a Big Kid Bed List by Sweet Dreams Baby LLC

Any of these changes can be huge and too much for your child to handle if you’re also changing their bed at the same time.

If they’re climbing out but you don’t think they can handle following directions to stay in their bed yet, you may be able to turn the crib around so that the higher side is facing out. Moving the crib to a corner in the room, so 2 of the sides are restricted, can sometimes work, and dressing your child in a sleep sack may deter them from lifting their leg to start the climb in the first place.


Transitioning your child from crib to bed can be frustrating to your little one as well as to you. Keep in mind the physical, developmental, and emotional signs that your toddler may be ready, along with doing all of the preparations for an easier, less stressful move. If you follow all of the tips to transition from crib to bed, hopefully, things will go smoothly, and the transition will be in the rearview mirror in no time.

If you are struggling with transitioning your little one to a big kid bed, feel free to reach out to me for 1:1 coaching. It’s very common to have trouble with this monumental change.

Check out some of my other posts that will give you some ideas on how to help your little one.

January 25, 2024


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Trust me: you don’t want your baby to hit this point. If you notice any of these seven signs, it’s time to put your baby to sleep — NOW!

7 Signs Your Baby Is Overtired

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