Switching From a Crib to a Bed

Sleep Safety · Toddler Sleep

Is my toddler ready to move from their crib to a bed? How do you transition from a crib to a bed easily? These are great questions, and one that every parent will ask at some point in time. Here are a few ways to know when they are ready and how to make the change.

Every child needs to move from a crib to a bed at some point in time. But when do you move from a crib to a bed? And how do you transition out of a crib without too much stress? That answer has less to do with an age and more to do with the cues your child gives you.

When Do I Move My Child From Her Crib To A Big Kid Bed?

If you’ve been asking when the right time to make the transition from crib to bed is, you’ve probably found a variety of answers. Why is that?

Well, it’s because it’s not about an age or a milestone so much as it is about your child’s quality of sleep.

Kids as old as three or four can still fit in their crib and enjoy that space. (Please note: And some children have moved to a bed much younger. So how to you determine the right time to move where your child sleeps?

(Please note: Safety is always a priority.  Refer back to your crib manual for your specific crib height regulations.)

Does My Child Sleep All Night Long?

If you’re here on this blog looking for advice on sleep training, then that’s the first step. Making additional transitions, like moving baby from crib to bed, is only going to add stress and confusion to the process.

Before you consider making changes to where she sleeps, you want to get her sleeping through the night.

During the journey of sleep training, you’ll want your precious baby to have all the comporting surroundings and safe boundaries of a crib to make the journey easier. Just be patient.

What If I Wait Too Long?

You might have heard that letting your child sleep in their crib past a certain age means they won’t transition well to a bed. That’s actually not true.

It’s much more important to make sure they are sleeping well at night than it is to hit an age marker.

After all, which do you think will be easier for both your and your little one: introducing a new bed when they are well rested or doing it when they’re overtired from not sleeping well?

(Hint: quality sleep and a well rested body and mind make any transition much easier!)

How Do I Move My Child From A Crib To A Bed?

If your child is already falling asleep independently and sleeping through the night and you decide it’s time to upgrade to a bed, how do you make it happen?

Well, first you need to recognize that toddlers aren’t in love with change, so it’s going to be a gentle, gradual process just like sleep training was. But you can do it, and here are some steps to take to make the transition for your toddler from crib to bed as seamless as possible.

Talk About It

The first step is to prepare your little one by talking about it. If you’re excited about it and answer any questions they have, they will be, too.

After all, there’s no one they trust more than you…and with good reason! After all, look how hard you’re working to make this go well for them.

On the flip side, don’t make it too big of a deal or you’ll make them nervous. Just a normal chat is perfect!

Include Them In The Process

Let your little one be a part of the process. You could let them help you pick out the bed, or if you have one already, maybe a new blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal.

When your child has ownership over at least part of the process it can make them more secure overall, so the unknown is less scary and overwhelming.

Keep To Your Schedule

The routine of bedtime needs to stay the same, even if the sleeping location is different. That security will also help on the first nights in the bed from the crib.

Whatever you did before, do now. Do not suddenly change things up because “You’re a big kid now! You don’t need (insert other habit you think you could change now).” That might seem logical to you as an adult, but it will just make things more challenging for your little one.

Handling Challenges During Crib To Bed Transition

What if it doesn’t go smoothly? What if they cry, get out of bed, play with toys, or do anything other than settle in for a good night’s sleep?

Offer A Warning With A Consequence

Explain what the expected behavior is and tuck them in to bed. If they do any of the unwanted behaviors, just give them a warning.

“If you do _____, then you’ll get a consequence of _____.”

Follow Through

If they repeat the unwanted action, follow through with your promised result so that they they don’t want to do it again.

Just be consistent; you’ve got this! You’ve set the expectation and you need to follow through.

You don’t need to yell, you don’t need to lecture, you just need to calmly do what you said you were going to do and keep helping them back to bed so they can do what they need to do.

A Successful Crib To Bed Transition

Your first few nights will probably be a little challenging. Just expect it going in so you don’t get exasperated or even worse, angry.

Change and transition can overwhelm a toddler and new boundaries will always be tested. That combo added to the fortitude of a toddler will make for an interesting few nights, but your consistency will win.

After all, you’re the boss! Just keep your cool, use your parental authority and your deep love for your child to talk to them and do what’s best for them even if it’s not what makes them happiest in this moment.

Before you know it, you’ll both have made a successful crib to bed transition. Congrats in advance!

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