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When to Transition your Toddler from a Crib to a Bed.

Are you about to transition your Toddler from a Crib to a Toddler Bed?


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Do you have anxiety about transitioning your toddler from the crib to the toddler bed?


I imagine you have asked yourself, “When should I transition my kiddo from the crib to the toddler bed, also known as a “big kid” bed? A few other questions may have come up as well “How do I do that? Do I just put them in there and expect them to sleep just as well as they did in the crib? Are they going to keep getting in and out of the bed, playing with toys, coming to wake us up or in some cases prevent us from going to sleep?” There are probably a slew of other questions that are popping up in your head as well.


Dreamy Slumber founder drinking tea

If you are reading this, it could because you are indeed that person that is wondering how this transition is going to take place, or you may have just happen to stop by to see what information I had available to help your little one sleep through the night. No worries the reason you are here, I am glad you are here and I hope the information I’ll be sharing today will help you with SOMETHING!


Now, if one of the question slewing in your mind is, “Should I transition my kiddo to the bed if they are not sleeping independently on their own or throughout the night?”


My quick answer to that question is “No, not right now”..


My question to you is “Why do you feel there is a need for them to transition to a bed?” To be honest there is no rush to transition your child from a crib to a bed. There are plenty of 3 year old's sleeping cozy and comfortably in their crib. Now if you have a crib with a mini-bed and changing table attached to it, your little one may end up outgrowing it sooner than you would like, I know my son did. He just ended up getting to long for it. Luckily, he was sleep trained and able to sleep on his on and plus it was time for us to transition my daughter from the bassinet to the crib, so it was time for my son to transition by default.


Rumor has it, the longer a child sleeps in a crib the more difficult it will be to transition them to a bed when the time comes. Guess what….it’s just a RUMOR or just wrong.


child in bed

Again you are here because you need some help, and if you are here for sleep training but yet you feel like it’s that time to transition your kiddo the toddler bed, I beg you to proceed with caution or just hold off all together until your little one is able to sleep independently throughout the night. Now when I say “Sleep Independently” this means that they can fall asleep on their own without any assistance from you, whether that be, lying next to them, rocking them, etc. I recommend to hold off because there is going to be an adjustment period for your toddler while they learn to fall asleep on their own which will take some getting used to it. It’s a marathon not a sprint.


While sleep training, it is best to ensure your little one is a comfortable in a place that is familiar to them. Everything should remain as is, until they have mastered the skills of falling asleep on their own. This will make the transition to the “big kid” bed a lot easier for you all. Just think…they are less likely to climb out the bed, play with toys in the middle of the night, come and bother you as soon as you start whine down yourself. HAHAH, looks like we may have answered a couple of questions that possibly went through your mind as you started reading this blog.


Let’s assume your little one is a sleep star and have mastered falling asleep on their own, sleeping through the night and now you all are ready to transition to the “big kid” bed. Let’s walk through what that will look like for you all.


Let’s begin with preparation. Let your little one know what will be happening. Let them know they will have a new bed, the “BIG KID” bed and set a date on when that will be. Make it fun and positive, so that they have something exciting to look forward too. Make sure it is not the point where it will stress them out, but exciting enough for them to look forward to.


mother and child

As part of the preparation, involve your child on the selection of what the new bed will be. Check out your favorite IKEA or Rooms to Go store and get to shopping. Giving your child the opportunity to provide input on the bed they want, pillows, sheets and so forth will help them feel comfortable and allow a sense of ownership over their new bed, which could be a big deal when transitioning. If you are feel froggy…LEAP into the thought of allowing your little one to help you put the bed together.


Once the “BIG KID” bed has been assembled and sheets and pillows are nicely placed, you will want to place and keep the bed in the same place the crib used to be. Make sure everything else is the same as well, with the exception of the bed. This is already a big enough change for your little one, let’s try to avoid any other unnecessary changes.


This is also important when it comes to the night of the transition. When it’s time for bed, stick to the same bedtime routine that you have had. Keep everything as predictable as possible, including trying to introduce a new dish at dinner time. Let’s just all stick with what we know.


luxury bathtub

Let them know you are proud of them as you all begin the transition for the first night. Now that they are in the bed and the lights are out, there a few scenarios that can play out.


  • Scenario 1: They adapt right away to their new bed and you have no worries or issues. You are among the small number of Golden Geese. Lol

  • Scenario 2: They adapt right away, but after realizing a week or so later how much freedom they have in their room now, they start playing with toys, leaving the room, calling for you several times throughout the night…(sounds familiar)

  • Scenario 3: They DON’T adapt right away and just start doing all the things you may have been worried about initially.


Don’t worry, I have some suggestions of things you can try. To help address scenario 2 and 3, offer a warning when your kiddo is not doing what they are supposed to be doing. Let them know what the consequence will be if they continue to do things other than going to sleep and be sure to follow-up on that consequence if and when they repeat it. This is also assuming you have consequences established already for your toddler, keep it going, especially knowing I works. Remember, the only thing changing is the bed, so continue to do what you have been doing in relation to managing behavior.


Now if you haven’t discovered or established effective consequence yet, I would recommend taking their snuggly (favorite) stuff animal away for a short period of time and closing the door all the way. This has been proven effective for many people. For each repeated offense, increase the length of time you have the snuggly with the door closed.


Guess what, that pretty much covers it. Pretty straight forward, right? I will close with this. As previously mentioned we do not want this transition to be stressful for your little one. However, YOU ARE STILL THE BOSS!! There is a likely chance your little one test some boundaries, come on, that’s what toddlers are known for me. They will probably try to leave the room quite a bit, want some water, and call out for you or dad to come in and lie with them for a minute or even say they want their crib back. It is very important you stand your ground the whole time, especially for the first few weeks. If you bend to their request this process could take a lot longer than you would like. In this case, you have to do what you have to do to ensure your little one continues to sleep independently throughout the night in their new “BIG KID” bed.


If you are ready to get your little one on the right path to creating healthy sleep habits prior to the transition, book a FREE Meet 'N' Greet call with us today, so we can see how we can help and you support you and your family.

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