When to Start Transitioning from Crib

It’s a little bittersweet when it comes time for your baby to move out of their crib. It’s another reminder that they’re growing up and they aren’t little babies anymore. I’ve often heard many parents ask when it’s the right time to begin transitioning from crib to bed. The truth is it’s different for each family depending on the circumstances, but at some point they will have to make the move. Here I’ll discuss when it’s a good time to make the transition and how to go about it.

toddler climbing out of bedWhen to Move Out of the Crib

Generally, most kids are ready to move on from their crib by the time they are 2 years old. Once your child reaches a height (approximately 35 inches) where they are physically capable of climbing out or attempting to climb out of the crib, then you’ll need to move them as a safety concern. It is ideal to move them before they actually start trying to climb out of it because they could potentially hurt themselves. For some toddlers, this comes sooner than others. Likewise, it may come much later or not at all if your child is perfectly content in their crib and shows no signs of trying to get out.

Of course, there are circumstances where you don’t have much choice such as the arrival of a new baby. In this case, where you’ll need the crib for the other baby*, you may have to transition them even sooner. The best time for transitioning from the crib is when your child isn’t experiencing any changes such as potty training or right before a new baby. Do so early enough in advance so that your child can become accustomed to the change and avoid regressing.

**If your child will still be less than 18 months old at the time the new baby arrives you may need to find an alternative sleeping solution for your baby such as a bassinet until your toddler is old enough to move on to a big kid bed.

Making the Transition a Smooth One

toddler in big bed

If your toddler is past the age of 2 and is still comfortable staying in their crib, you’ll need to make the transition as smooth as possible. The longer your child stays in their crib, the harder it will be on them to move up. Here are some pointers to help ease your little one into making that big step.

Get them excited – There are many variations of toddler beds to choose from with some made to look like cars while others feature famous princesses. Talk to them ahead of time and talk up about their special big kid bed. If you’re not into buying a toddler bed, opt for a twin and let your child choose their favorite bedding set to put on it

Remove the crib – When you have decided to take the step and introduce a big kid bed to your toddler, put the crib away or out of sight as you encourage them to use their new bed. If your child has become attached to their crib, seeing it will only add to the stress of transitioning them to a bigger bed. This is, unless you have a crib that converts to a day/toddler bed that you intend on using.

Keep a Routine – just as establishing healthy sleeping habits is beneficial for younger children to sleep better, it’s important to stick with them when your child is transitioning from crib to a bigger bed. Continue following a routine, such as bath, book, and bed or set one in place if you haven’t.

Your child may still be anxious about transitioning from crib to toddler bed and that is perfectly normal. They no longer have the security of the four sides surrounding them. Be sure that you have safety rails on a bigger bed like a twin as these are higher off the ground than toddler beds. It’s tempting for little ones to want to get out of their bed now that they are no longer confined, so it’s important to make sure they understand that bed time is sleep time and they have to stay in their bed. You may have to remind them of this several times and stay close by to keep them from getting out of their crib for the first few days but they’ll soon catch on.

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