Your child’s milestones are something to celebrate, and the crib to toddler bed transition is no exception. All parents experience this milestone differently—some with ease and others with a little more resistance. We talked to Emma Helversen, Certified Sleep Consultant, Postpartum Coach, and mom to two little girls, on the best ways to help your child leave the crib and embrace a new toddler bed.
Is there a right age to transition from crib to bed?
Most commonly, you can transition from crib to toddler bed starting between two and three years of age. Although reasoning with a toddler is not always successful, they are old enough to understand the boundaries you set and the consequences of leaving their toddler bed after going to bed. However, like all things in parenting, there are no hard and fast rules. You may decide to make the transition earlier if your little one begins climbing out of their crib. It’s always important to do what’s best for your family.
What are signs that I need to transition my child from crib to bed?
A strong indicator that it’s time to transition to a toddler bed is if your child has healthy sleep habits in the crib and you have a bedtime routine with independent sleep skills and a regular, predictable sleep schedule.
As I mentioned above, if your child becomes an escape artist or may harm themselves in the process of trying to get out of their crib, it may be time to start the crib to bed transition.
Also, pay attention to questions from your little one if they ask why they’re sleeping in a different bed than you or their sibling. It might be time for a big kid bed!
How long does it take to transition from crib to toddler bed?
Every child is different, but healthy sleep habits and independent sleep skills tend to have smooth transitions. Give yourself time to help your child with the change. Whether it takes one night or a month, as long as you keep to your routine, your child will eventually stay in their toddler bed through the night.
How do I find the right toddler bed for my child?
Each family has their preference, but choose something safe for your child to get in and out of. If your crib converts to a toddler bed, start there. A convertible crib gives reluctant kids the comfort of their crib while offering them the first-time freedom of a toddler bed.
When you are ready to buy a toddler bed, start with one that has rails. If the bed doesn’t have built-in rails, add one to a twin bed. Each child is different and may easily transition, but it’s safe to use a rail in the beginning while your child gets used to the bed. Is your toddler missing their bamboo crib sheets? Try a buttery soft Cloud Blanket or a Sleepyhead Lovey to help with the transition. Our Sleepyhead Lovies act as a snuggly security blanket and sweet friend to keep them company during the night.
How can our family help with the transition from a crib to a toddler bed?
Routine. The entire family can support a predictable and consistent nighttime routine, night after night. Help your child with this transition by preparing for bed at the same time together. The routine will stick by consistently placing them in their bed night after night and not transitioning back to a crib.
Don’t overstimulate your child by going through multiple changes. If you’re about to go on vacation or welcoming a new baby to the family, wait until their routine stabilizes.
Fun idea: Make the transition a family event! Start talking about the transition to a big kid bed a few weeks before the transition. If your child is ready, replace or change the bed to a toddler bed and make it a big reveal! Extra points for balloons and confetti.
How do I get my child to stay in their toddler bed?
Start by making the room distraction-free. Before going to bed, ask your little one to put their toys away so they’re not enticed to get out of bed and play.
Once your little one goes to bed, eliminate the noise and distractions near your child’s bedroom. Distractions can encourage your child to climb out of their bed and leave their room to see what’s going on.
We love sharing resources to help you on your journey with your children. Check out Emma Helverson on Instagram for more! And remember to connect with us in our VIP Group to meet like-minded parents and caregivers.