Inside: How to know if your child is ready to transition from crib to toddler bed, plus 5 steps to make the move a breeze!
The early childhood years are full of big changes! It seems like as soon as we’ve accomplished one thing, it’s time to move on to something new!
Is it Time to Transition to a Toddler Bed?
I don’t know about you, but the transition from crib to toddler bed is a big deal.
It’s so exciting to see your little “baby” grow up. However, I’ll admit it’s a bit scary to think of them having the freedom to get up on their own! And how do you even know it’s time to make the move from crib to toddler bed?
According to the Baby Sleep Site, “the average age for making the switch from crib to toddler bed is between 3 and 4 years.” However, many parents make the move sooner, as early as 18 months.
The arrival of a new baby might make the decision for you, but otherwise it’s up to the parents’ discretion.
4 Signs Your Child is Ready to Move from Crib to Toddler Bed:
- Your child is able to climb out of their crib and does so on a regular basis
- The crib mattress is set as low as it will go and your child’s chest is above the rail
- They’re either 3 years of age or 36″ in height and likely reaching the physical limits of the crib (Playground Parkbench)
- They break off the rails on the crib and make their own “toddler bed” (Yes, this really can happen! Just ask Menucha at Moms & Crafters!)
Note: We’ve included shop-able ad links to products we love and recommend; our disclosure policy is available here.
How to Transition to a Toddler Bed
It’s a major milestone, but it doesn’t have to be a bedtime battle! Here are five ways to make the transition to a toddler bed easier:
1. Prepare your toddler bed
Many baby cribs are designed to transition to a toddler bed when your child is ready. Be sure to save all the building instructions and spare parts, as those will be needed to convert your crib to a toddler bed.
If your crib does not convert to a toddler bed and you need to purchase one, look for a toddler bed that can at least use your crib mattress.
Setting up your toddler bed is an excellent opportunity to get your child excited about the switch. There are toddler beds that feature popular characters, as well as fun themed bedding.
Here are some cute and affordable options for toddler beds:
- Paw Patrol Toddler Bed (fits a standard crib mattress)
- Disney Princess Toddler Bed with Canopy (fits a standard crib mattress)
- Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed (with cushion)
- Hot Pink Toddler Bed (fits a standard crib mattress)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Toddler Bed (fits a standard crib mattress)
- Disney “Frozen” Toddler Bed (fits a standard crib mattress)
TIP: If you need a crib mattress, we love these Waterproof Crib Mattresses from Newton Baby. They’re 100% breathable (proven to reduce suffocation risk), 100% washable, hypoallergenic, and non-toxic. Having a waterproof mattress or waterproof crib mattress pad is also super nice when you’re doing nighttime and nap time potty training!
And toddler bedding sets:
- Disney Cars 4-Piece Toddler Bedding Set
- Mermaid 4-Piece Toddler Bedding Set
- Paw Patrol 4-Piece Toddler Bedding Set
- Dinosaur Land Toddler Bed-in-a-Bag Set
These are just a few of our favorite characters – there are so many more others available too!
One more option: If you already have a full-size “big kid” bed available, you can purchase a toddler bed rail instead of a whole new toddler bed. This temporary railing keeps kids from rolling out of bed at night and can be removed when they no longer need it.
2. Talk to your child about the upcoming move from crib to toddler bed
When we make any major changes with our girls, we always make sure to communicate clearly with them so there are no surprises. This is also an opportunity to involve your child and build excitement about the process, perhaps in picking out fun bedding (see above).
Bedtime stories are another way to introduce the change to your child, without it seeming like a big scary thing. Big Enough for a Bed is a great book on the topic, featuring Sesame Street characters.
3. Childproof the room
Susie from Busy Toddler explains, “your toddler is going to get out of bed [and] play in their room.” She shares this excellent childproofing checklist to create a safe nighttime environment.
4. Take one thing at a time
Stephanie at Parenting Chaos suggests that parents refrain from trying to tackle two major transitions at once. For example, if you’re already working on potty training, wait until you’ve got that down first before starting the move to a “big kid” bed.
5. Invest in a toddler sleep trainer/nightlight
One of the main concerns I hear from parents is the worry that with the freedom to get out of their new bed, toddlers will wake up even earlier. That’s why it’s helpful to give toddlers the tools to learn when to wake up and when to stay in bed.
Since toddlers can’t tell time on a clock, a special sleep training nightlight can show them the difference between nighttime (sleep) and morning (wake up). Suzy Snooze is one of our favorite options for this.
Suzy Snooze is an all-in-one baby monitor, sleep trainer and nightlight that soothes toddlers to slumber and lets them know when it’s ok to wake up. A special nightlight can be a “gift” to your child for this big moment in their life, as well as a practical tool for parents.
What is Suzy Snooze and how it can ease the transition from crib to toddler bed:
Susy Snooze is a night light, monitor, and white noise machine all in one. It helps kids fall asleep AND lets them know when it’s time to wake up (or stay in bed) with its gentle orange glow.
Through the accompanying smartphone app, parents set “morning time,” at which time Suzy Snooze shows kids that it’s time to wake up.
Suzy Snooze is a collaboration between innovative parenting product creator BleepBleeps and Mumsnet, the UK’s largest parenting community. It’s the first 3-in-1 toddler sleep companion…and it’s absolutely adorable!
Here’s how Suzy Snooze works:
Susy Snooze connects to parents’ smartphones through the BleepBleeps app. Using the phone app, parents can set the wake-up time and listen through an audio monitor to make sure their child is sleeping soundly and safely. The app can even recommend a sleep schedule based on a child’s age!
- Sleep Sequence – During the first 10 minutes at bedtime calming music and lights play. Award-winning electronic music producer DJ Erol Alkan composed four custom soundscapes specifically designed to help induce sleep. How cool is that?!
- Nighttime – Following the Sleep Sequence, the music stops and a constant light comes on. This is designed to comfort the child and help them to sleep through the night.
- Morning Time – Suzy’s lights will count down the last hour to morning. At a time set by the parents, Suzy’s hat gently rises to the child know that it’s ok to get up.
Click here to learn more about Suzy Snooze and to purchase on Amazon!
Disclosure: Originally published on July 14, 2016 as a collaboration with Susy Snooze by BleepBleeps; all opinions are 100% mine. Updated June 2019.
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