Transitioning Your Toddler to a Big Kid Bed

Transitioning a toddler to a big kid bed can be challenging to parents and child. I know it was for our family. My toddler fought tooth and nail to get her crib back.

The toddler may not be ready to give up the crib, but the new baby’s arrival is on the horizon. We transitioned our 2.5-year-old about 1 month before I was due with our second child. In retrospect we tried to do the transitioning too quickly. Our toddler was giving us signs that she was stressed about the new baby. While she didn’t have to give up her bedroom, she did see us working in the new baby’s room.

The crib was a huge issue. She didn’t want to give up her crib. She liked her big girl bed, but felt cozier in her crib. After trying our toddler in the big girl bed, I quickly noticed that her sleeping was off. We left the crib in her bedroom. she would start in the crib, insist on moving to the bed, want to go to the crib again. It was a nightmare.

Transitions in our house are hard. I have found that when you are frustrated it is good to take a break for a short period. My advice: Let your child nap/sleep in her crib for a few more weeks aftet you make the decision to transition her to a big kid bed.

At the end of the 2-3 weeks,

  • Start talking about your child’s new bed.
  • Make it sound awesome and exciting. My toddler started showing iuterest in trying the “new” bed.
  • Let your child choose sheets.
  • Let your child arrange her stuffed animals/blankies on the bed.
  • Check out a book from the library on the new baby and siblings. We loved the Berenstain Bears and the New Bed. It’s all about Brother Bear getting a new bed before the birth of Sister Bear. Papa Bear makes him a bed as his crib is too small. Click Here! for books.

Once you are ready,

  • Suggest that your child nap in the bed.
  • A couple of days later, let her choose crib or bed at bedtime.
  • If it’s going well have her help take down the crib. Toddlers love using tools to do a job — mom and dad tools are golden to them. My toddler liked helping to take the screws out of the crib. 
  • Put the crib away for a few weeks, then bring it out for the new baby. Hopefully your toddler will be so in love with her new bed/big girl room that she won’t notice.

With my 2nd child the transition out of the crib was seamless. My second child was almost 3. I was not yet pregnant with her brother. My daughter was anxious to move to a crib to be more like her big sister who slept in a bed. With the 1st child it was awful. I wish we had done the gradual transition with our oldest child.

Once our child was in her new big girl bed. Napping essentially ended for her. She took a cat nap every now and then, but napping was over.

If you are struggling with transitioning your child from crib to bed, take a break, take a breather, and when you are ready go for it.

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