- Bumps & Babies
- Kid Stuff
- Home & Garden
Making the move from the crib to a big bed can be a little intimidating for some. You want to ensure that your child is ready for the move as switching them too early can cause sleep challenges.
Wait for the right time
There is no right age to transition a little one into a big bed. Some children can transition as early as a year, while others as late as 3+ years old. Typically the best time is between 2.5 and 3 years as they are old enough to really understand the ‘rules’ of sleeping in a big bed. When contemplating making the change, it is also important to factor in your child’s temperament. If your child is easy going and settles well, an earlier transition shouldn’t be an issue. If your child is feisty, you may want to hold off on making the move too early. The important piece in this is making sure your child has well established sleep habits.
If your child struggles to fall asleep, making the change to a bed too early will then allow them the opportunity to continuously get out of said bed. It may cause more challenges than when they were in the crib. If you are planning on working on teaching your child to learn how to fall asleep independently, we suggest tackling that before making the switch to a big bed. The transition is often a lot easier with a child who already has the skill of falling asleep independently.
It is not ideal to make this transition right at the same time as a major life change such as a move, major change in routine, a transition to daycare, a new sibling etc.
If you are expecting a baby, moving the new baby into the crib very close to the time that you have made the transition to a big bed with the toddler can make the toddler feel like they are being replaced or that the baby is taking over their space. Instead, wait until the child has had a little bit of time to adjust to having the new baby around. Make the change a couple of months before the baby arrives or a couple of months after assuming the newborn will be in the same room as you for a few months. If you choose to make the transition after the baby is born, dismantle the crib for a month or so before setting it back up for the baby.
If you spend some time preparing your child for the upcoming changes, it will give them the opportunity to become excited about the transition. Having conversations about the new bed, reading books about other children and characters making the change can help them relate to the character in the book. You can also psych them up by talking to them about people they know that sleep in big beds (older siblings, cousins, friends etc.) Taking them with you to shop for some new fun bed accessories such as sheets, a pillowcase, wall decals, a new stuffed animal that they can sleep with will also help prepare them. Another fun suggestion, if you bought a new bed, is to let them ‘help’ you put it together as this can make them feel more involved in the process.
You can gradually get them used to their new bed by starting with naps and then moving into overnights however, when you are ready to fully make the change it is best to completely remove the crib so that your child can become comfortable in their big bed without the temptation of the crib nearby.
Make sure that you transfer anything of attachment that they may have had in their crib over to their bed such as a blanket, lovey etc.
Please be mindful that it can take your child some time to adjust regardless of how great of a sleeper they used to be. Giving them a little extra support, a few extra minutes of snuggles and continuing to be consistent with the routine and schedule will ease the transition into this next big milestone.