Switching from a Crib to a Bed: When and How to Do It

by | Aug 25, 2023

One of the questions I hear most often as a sleep consultant—and also as a mom to a 2 and 4-year-old—is “When is it the right time to transition my little one from a crib to a ‘big-kid’ bed?” Well, my professional and mama bear advice is: aim for age 3 if you can. Trust me, I know it might seem like a long wait, but let’s talk about why it’s worth it.

The Three Big Reasons: Safety, Sleep, and Smarts

Safety First

We all want a peaceful night’s sleep, but more than that, we want to know our kiddos are safe and sound. Cribs are designed to provide a secure sleeping environment, minimizing the chances of those little tumbling acts or midnight explorations that could lead to injuries.

Consistent Sleep Routine

Kids thrive on routine; we all know that! A crib offers a consistent, familiar space that helps cement a solid sleep routine. We’re talking fewer midnight wake-ups and more of those golden hours where everyone in the house can actually, you know, sleep.

Cognitive Development

Around the 3-year mark, your child’s cognitive skills have developed to a point where they understand the “rules” of bedtime better. They understand the importance of staying in bed rather than roaming the house in the night. 

The Safety Exception

There’s always a “but,” isn’t there? If your little one is channeling their inner Spider-Man and trying to climb out of their crib, it’s definitely time to make the safety switch to a bed, even if they’re not yet 3.

How to Make the Crib to Bed Transition: Tips & Steps

Step 1: Talk About It

Discuss the transition with your toddler, so they know what to expect. Make it exciting—after all, this is a rite of passage!

Step 2: Choose the Right Bed

Whether it’s a convertible crib, a new twin bed or a mattress on the floor, make sure it’s a safe and comfortable choice. Allow your toddler to help pick out bedding to make them feel involved.

Step 3: Safety-Proof the Room

Before the big night, go through the room to ensure it’s child-safe. Secure furniture to the wall and remove any hazards. Consider adding a door monkey to prevent your child from roaming the house overnight.

Step 4: Keep the Routine

Stick as closely to your existing bedtime routine as possible during the transition. Familiarity breeds comfort.

Step 5: Celebrate the Milestone

After the first successful night, make a big deal out of it! Positive reinforcement can make a world of difference.

Pro Tip: If you’re experiencing early mornings, consider an okay-to-wake clock like the Hatch Baby Rest. It’s a fantastic tool that lets your child know when it’s officially morning time.

So there you have it! The transition is not just about age but readiness, safety, and a few smart strategies. Remember, I’m always here to guide you through these transitions with personalized advice. To chat, book a Discovery Call.

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How to Transition Your Toddler From a Crib to a Big Kid Bed - When and How to Do It!
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