Crib to Bed: How to Make a Smooth Transition

Crib to Bed: How to Make a Smooth Transition

You lay your little buddy down in their crib, give them a sweet goodnight kiss and leave the nursery. Then, no more than five minutes later, you hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet softly coming down the hallway before meeting your loveable toddler’s gaze peaking into your room. 

While you can’t help but laugh at your itty-bitty baby ninja, once the reality sets in that it’s time to move your now-not-so-baby to a “big kid” bed, chances are you’ll turn into a mixed bag of emotions.

Like crawling and walking, transitioning from a crib to a bed is yet another important baby milestone —but unlike the others, this one can cause the most resilient of parents to crumble. 

From thinking that the days of having a sweet baby are long gone to the number of sleepless nights that lay ahead as your growing tot learns a brand new bedtime routine, it goes without saying that the transition can be difficult.

Parenthood is an emotional rollercoaster. And while we can’t turn back the hands of time or freeze the clock to keep your little one small and snuggly forever, we can help to make the switch from a crib to a bed seamless

When To Transition From A Crib To Bed 

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer or magic age when kids become ready to sleep in a bed. While some tots are able to move into a bed around 18 months, others might not transition until after their third birthday. 

Here are some of the signs it might be time to introduce a “big kid” bed:

Sign #1: They Can Climb Out Of The Crib 

The biggest sign that it’s time to ditch the crib is when your toddler proves they can climb out of it. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends making the switch when your kid is 35 inches tall because, at that height, they are generally big enough to hop out of the crib — even with the mattress in the lowest position. 

Sign #2: They Ask For A “Big Kid” Bed 

If your toddler is able to expressively communicate their interest in sleeping in a big kid bed rather than their baby crib, that may be a sign that they are developmentally ready to make the transition. Remember, all kids are different, with some developing faster or slower than others. 

Sign #3: They Are Being Potty Trained 

Like water and oil, a crib and potty training simply don’t mix. You want your tiny tot to easily make it to the potty — especially if they wake up in the middle of the night doing the pee-pee dance. 

Keep potty training on track by switching from a crib to a toddler bed so your little buddy can quickly go when nature calls. 

Sign #4: They Are Too Big 

This is a pretty obvious one, but if your kiddo can easily touch both ends of the crib with their head and feet — it’s time to upgrade their sleeping space to a bed so they can snooze comfortably. 

Choosing A Safe Toddler Bed 

When shopping for your toddler’s new sweet-dreams spot, you generally have two options:

  • A toddler bed: which looks just like a mini version of a twin bed (fully disguised as a race car, spaceship, fire truck, or princess castle).  
  • A twin bed: which comes with portable safety rails. 

Both are safe options — so allow your budget, child’s temperament, space constraints, and design preferences to guide your decision. That being said, whatever you decide to go with, make sure your toddler’s new bed is:

Sturdy

No matter how many times we ask our kids not to jump on the bed, they often do it anyway — some things just can’t be helped! Keep your playful, sweet pea safe and sound with a sturdy bed that can stand up to tough toddler treatment. 

Equipped With Rails

 Toddlers can be wild sleepers and roll right out of bed. To prevent any midnight boo-boos or ouchies, a bed equipped with rails is your best bet.

Low to the ground

A bed that is low to the ground can make it much easier for your little one to get in and out all by themselves.

Paired With a quality mattress

Try to purchase a toddler bed that comes with a quality mattress to ensure a snug fit. Gaps between the mattress and frame pose an entrapment hazard.  

Certified

Before purchasing a new toddler bed or any portable rails, check for a sticker from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This important stamp of approval means that a baby product has been tested by an independent facility and has met the highest standards for safety.

Tips And Tricks For Making The Switch 

Now that your little buddy is ready and you’ve picked an awesome new toddler bed, it’s time to make the switch! Here are some of the best tips and tricks for a super smooth transition:

Start With Naps 

If your tiny tot is battling you at bedtime, try to ease the transition by having them take naps in their new bed first. This “practice” will help your child to feel more comfortable with the new digs.

Once your kiddo seems comfortable snoozing in the new bed for naps, set a date to say goodbye to the baby crib and help your toddler count down to that date. 

Let Them Help 

You might not be able to let your little one choose their own bed if you already have one, but you can let them choose what goes on the bed. 

Allow your toddler to pick their own fun sheets and pillowcases so they feel more involved in the process. And to help make the new bed super warm and inviting, let them decide which of their favorite stuffies gets the privilege of snuggling up next to them as they snooze. 

Stick To The Routine

If you have a solid bedtime routine that works, it’s important to continue that routine as your little one transitions to the new bed. If everything is business as usual, your toddler may feel more secure and accept the changes more readily. 

Don’t have a routine? It’s never too late to start one! We’re all creatures of habit, and babies are no different — a habitual ritual of calming activities that are done right before bed can set the stage for good sleep. Find what works best for you and your little sleepyhead and stick to it.

An example of a good bedtime routine may include a warm bath with soothing shampoo and body wash, a calming dose of our Calming Probiotic Sleep Drops, and a relaxing infant massage followed by a snuggly bedtime story.

Whatever you decide to do, just remember — consistency is key!

Enforce The Bedtime Law

For most curious kiddos, the newfound freedom to roam without crib bars holding them back will be irresistible. To prevent your wandering tot from getting into nighttime mischief, it’s crucial to reinforce the bedtime rules. 

Before the final tuck-in, tell your little buddy they get one more chance to get up and use the potty or get water. After that, it lights out until morning. 

Be Patient 

Don’t be surprised if your child tests the new boundaries. This is perfectly normal and will need to be handled with love and firmness. There’s no need to blow a fuse or get especially harsh with a little one who pops out of bed — this is all part of learning the new rules. 

Stick to the bedtime routine, enforce the law, and be patient. We know it can be tough, but we promise, it will get easier. When your toddler hops out of bed, just take a deep breath and tuck them back in with a gentle reminder that they need to stay put. You got this! 

A Final Word 

Transitioning your little buddy into their first bed may seem a bit daunting, but it comes with a great reward— a proud, happy, and comfortable tiny tot who feels like a real “big kid” that is capable of anything!

At Little Yawn Collective, we’re here to empower you and build confidence to establish bedtime routines that work. Whatever milestone you’re going through — whether that be crawling, walking, teething, or transitioning from a baby crib to a toddler bed — you can always count on us to make sleep a little easier. 

 

Sources:

Toilet Training | Healthy Children

Make Baby's Room Safe: Parent Checklist | Healthy Children

Bedtime routines for babies & toddlers | Raising Children

Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association | JPMA

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