How to Smoothly Transition Your Toddler to a Bed

As a busy mom of four one thing that I relish is sleeping!! My oldest (who is now 8) was a terrible sleeper! I don’t think he slept through the night until he was 5 or older. My oldest daughter (who is now 5) slept great until she was 2 and then woke up multiple times per night until she was 4. To say we felt exhausted constantly is an understatement. Now with four kids we joke we may never sleep again.

My philosophy as a parent is to basically do whatever it takes so that we can all get sleep. I’ve shared some of our favorite sleep tips before because sleep is so important to me. When we don’t sleep, I am such an evil mom. I am cranky, impatient, and unkind and the kids are too.

Over the years as we have tried a lot of different things and failed at many of them, we are starting to figure a few things out with regards to kids and sleep. This week we are transitioning our third child from his crib into a bed. Today I’m going to share some of the things we do to help create a smooth transition from crib to bed.


Here are our top 10 tips for making the transition into a bed smooth for little ones:


1. Wait to make the transition until your child is ready!

My 3-year-old started climbing out of his crib about a year ago. I was not ready for him to move into a big bed yet so I encouraged him to stay in his crib. I may have bribed him some nights with a sticker chart and promises of toys at Target. It took a week or two but eventually he got back used to sleeping in the crib and we managed to avoid transitioning into a big kid bed until I felt like he was a bit more mature. Now that he is 3, potty trained, a decent sleeper, and pretty good at following directions, I think this is the perfect time to transition him into a big kid bed. If your child is sleeping happily in a crib and not complaining I would keep things status quo for awhile.
Sometimes you just don’t get to wait until your child is mature enough. When my daughter was two she started climbing out of her crib. I tried to encourage her to wait, but she wanted to get out of there! She was so little when we moved her and had the hardest time staying in her bed and sleeping. Sometimes I would wake up at 3am to find her wide awake playing in her room. It took a good 4-5 months for her to finally get into a good routine and stay in bed and sleep through the night.

2. Talk about the transition to a bed a lot!

With my daughter her transition was super quick and out of necessity because she was being unsafe. With my 3-year-old son we have been talking about moving into a big kid bed for several weeks. We’ve talked about where it would go, what he could bring into bed, and how cozy it will be.

3. Utilize big siblings or older friends to help your child get excited about his new bed.

My older two kids have jumped on the big kid bed excitement train and have been telling my 3-year-old all about how awesome it is for the past week. Over the weekend we bought my 3-year-old his new mattress and it arrived Saturday morning. My big kids took him into the garage to check it out and were so excited to help out as we set up his bed. The big kids helped him make his new bed, ooed and ahhhed about how cozy it was, and got in bed with him to help him try it out. Their enthusiasm made him SO EXCITED for this big step!


4. Create a super cozy space for your child.

One of our biggest mistakes with my daughter was going from a crib to a toddler bed and not really thinking much about the cozy factor. The toddler bed used a crib mattress that was super firm. The bed was small and pretty uncomfortable. Although we got her some blankets and pillows, we didn’t think about how this hard bed would impact my daughter’s sleep.

After a few months of no sleep and finding my daughter sleeping against her door on the floor we decided to invest in a bigger cozier bed. We ended up buying her a queen mattress with a soft pillow top. We figured that if we were going to have to stay nearby to help her sleep we might as well make ourselves comfortable too. We got her a big down comforter and several cozy pillows. We also got her some new fun bedding that she LOVED.


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