How and When to Move Your Toddler to a Big Kid's Bed

Is your little baby not really a little baby anymore?

That's never more obvious than when you put them in their crib and it no longer looks like a cozy little spot!

Cribs are a safe and comfy place for a baby to sleep. As long as your child is safe and comfortable in a crib, keep using it.

They're probably not ready to move yet if:

  • They're younger than three
  • They have existing sleep issues
  • They happily fall asleep in their crib and don't look uncomfortable

When to make the switch

At around three years old, most kids can get out of their crib on their own. This is when being in a crib becomes dangerous for them, and when we recommend moving them into a big kid's bed.

Here are some steps to prepare for the move:

  • Shop for a bed. Choose one with a safety rail you can eventually remove. Roll up towels for under their fitted sheet to keep them in the bed while they get used to it.
  • Create a positive association. So your child feels good about the bed, begin to build excitement about it ahead of the move.
  • Child-proofing. Now that they'll be able to get out of bed easily, double-check all your household child-proofing.
  • Start bedtime a bit earlier. Start bedtime routines a few minutes early to allow space for this change. Keep the rest of their schedule the same so they’re ready when they get into bed.

You can also prepare them by explaining what’s going to happen a few days in advance. Tell them everything else is staying the same, and they have to stay in bed until you say it’s time to get up.

If they have trouble sleeping when they get into the new bed, it’s probably not the bed, but rather, their schedule that needs to be reexamined.

Congrats on this new milestone!