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It is one of those exciting parenting milestones – transitioning your toddler to a big bed! And as most milestones are, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where or when to start the move from crib to a big kid bed. While every kid is different, we did have quite a bit of success with our toddler and were able to transition her out of the crib in just one night!
When To Transition Your Toddler From the Crib
There are a lot of factors that go in to deciding when the right time is to move your child from crib to a big bed. And remember that every kid is different! I will probably say that 50 times in this post just to drive the point home.
We made the decision to move our daughter to a big bed just after she turned 2 because she had a baby brother coming and we didn’t want to buy a new crib. She had also expressed some interest in sleeping in a big kid bed so we felt that we weren’t pushing her too soon.
If your child is climbing out of the crib, that might be another indication that they are ready to move to a big bed. And it might be safer for your kiddo to not be crawling out every night!
I did have several friends say that if your kid is sleeping fine in the crib, not climbing out, and you don’t have a sibling coming that requires eviction of the crib – wait to transition them.
There is no hard rule that says that kids need to be out of the crib by a certain age. And as my grandma says about so many parenting milestones “They won’t go to college that way”. (And even better they won’t still be in the crib when it comes time for Kindergarten)
How to Transition to a Big Bed
Before we started taking any steps toward moving our toddler to her own bed, I took a poll on Instagram to see how some of my followers successfully moved their kids out of the crib. I have the best followers who always have the greatest suggestions and advice!
Talk It Up!
One of the best bits of advice we got was to put the big bed in their room while the child is still in the crib. Let the bed just sit in the room for a month or two without ever trying to put your kid in it.
During that phase, you just talk up the big kid bed. Tell your kid how comfy it is going to be and what a big step it is going to be to sleep in it. This will help get your child comfortable with the idea of the big bed and it won’t seem so foreign when them when they actually start sleeping there.
When your kid first moves into their big bed, they are likely going to move around a bit more as they get used to having more room. The last thing you want is for them to accidentally fall off the edge of the bed.
We got these bedrail inserts for our daughter’s bed. I have heard of some parents using pool noodles as a cheaper alternative. These bedrails are soft so it doesn’t disrupt sleep, and there are grippers on the bottom of the bedrail so your toddler won’t be able to move it once it is tucked under the sheet.
Let your toddler be a part of picking out the new sheets and pillows for the big kid bed. They are going to be a lot more excited to sleep on a bed that they were a part of putting together.
I took my daughter to Pottery Barn Kids to pick out her comforter and it was such a fun day for the two of us. I had already narrowed it down to two comforters that I was ok with purchasing, but she loved getting to go to the store and sit on the sample beds and be a part of the shopping process.
How We Transitioned from Crib to Bed in One Night
After we went through all of the above steps, we planned one Friday evening where we took her to play at a park and get extra tired before bed. Then after going through her nightly routine, we put her to sleep in her crib.
At about 11:00 PM, we snuck into her room, picked her up out of her crib and put her in the big kid bed. The key here was to make sure she was VERY asleep so she wouldn’t wake up during the transfer.
She continued to sleep through the night and woke up at her normal time the next morning. We did plan to be close by upstairs so we could be right by her side when she woke up. She was a little disoriented when she first woke up and was a little nervous (called out “mommy where are you?!” when she woke up).
The minute we came into her room that morning, we acted SUPER excited for her having slept in her big kid bed and gave her lots of praise. She took it all in for a minute and then proudly said “I did it! I slept in the big bed!”.
At that point, she hadn’t even taken a nap in the big kid bed, but later that afternoon when nap time rolled around, I asked if she wanted to sleep in her crib and she said “No, I sleep in my big bed. I am a big girl!”
And honest to goodness we have had not one single issue since then.
I think the keys to our success was not rushing her, and building up her confidence. Once she realized she could sleep successfully in her bed, all fear was gone. She also grasped that this was a big step in her growing up and that it was a big deal. So we celebrated her with ice cream and her favorite playdates all weekend long.
We loved going through this process with our daughter and plan to follow the same course of action when it comes time with our son. It is a huge help that our toddler can now get in and out of her bed on her own – and I think it is beneficial for her feeling of independence too.
How did you transition your kids from crib to bed? Let me know what worked for you in the comments below!
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