When to Transition from Crib to Bed?
Latest update: September 26, 2018
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
Good timing, the right equipment and a couple of
smart mommy ideas are what
make your toddler's transition from crib to bed a success. If you
choose an unhappy moment, the bed does not work out practically or it's
all happening in a rush ... your baby will struggle to adapt to the new
In fact, she may resist quite strongly.
Let's have a look at timing first, right below. Or jump to How to help
your toddler transition well right away.
When to transition? Choose your crib to bed moment wisely
the crib to a "big kid" toddler bed is a big step for your little one!
Timing this well is going to be critical. So when is a good age to
transition to a toddler bed, or regular big bed? Most toddlers make
this transition somewhen between 1,5 and 2,5
But as a parent you know that there's never one precise age for these
events. It all depends on your child's personality, ability and your
The best moment to go is when she's physically and mentally "ready".
- Physically ready
she can climb in and out of bed independently and safely. She should
also be strong and big enough not to get squashed in between wall and
bedside or get stuck in the bed rail (see my
recommendations for choosing a good bed rail).
Size can also be a valid reason to
move: when the crib simply becomes too small and she's not comfortable
in it anymore, it will be time to go.
- Mentally ready
toddler has gained some level of independence - whether from her crib
or from the family bed. It will be big help if she has grown sensitive
to being proud to be a big kid.
Not sure about your toddler's maturity
level regarding the crib to bed move?
Imagine explaining to your child what is going to happen, chat about it
regularly, shop for bedding and prepare the bedroom together. Would
she understand what's going on? If yes, then she's oh so ready. If
no, give yourselves some more time (unless the practical constraints
force you to, see below).
Remember, we are still talking about baby-comprehension. It's not about
having a high-level sophisticated talk, just that she gets the
idea, and that it's not all above her head.
Also take your current family situation and any practical constraints
- Family situation:
about to have a new baby? Then consider transitioning your older one to
a bed either well before, or well after birth. Getting a sibling is
already a stressful time for your toddler so too close too birth is not
ideal to make too many changes.
Be very careful to avoid your
toddler feeling "kicked out" of the crib to make room for the new baby.
That wouldn't be a nice start to sibling-hood. And it'd
automatically give troubles with the settling in the new bed.
If there is stress in your family for any other reason (illness, new
job, move, ...) do try to avoid transitioning during this time. Wait
for a quieter moment.
you need the crib for the new baby (see above)? Are you moving to a new
home and keeping the crib just is not practical? Are you going on
vacation soon and would love to avoid needing to take the travel crib,
so she can just sleep in a hotel bed?
These are all valid reasons to get
started with the big bed. They can even help you make the decision, in
case you have been putting it off for some reason.
You don't need every single factor to be perfect for the crib to bed
move to work
out. Sometimes it's just not possible to await the ideal moment. But
the more helping factors you
have, the smoother it will go.
In any case, always weigh in the
ready-ness of your child and your
current family situation first. The practical can play, but
it shouldn't be the most important.
Ready to go ahead? Read on for practical tips on how to transition.