How to Transition from a Crib to a Bed

Like most parents, it probably took a while before you could let your baby sleep in the crib without sneaking a peek every few minutes. Over time, the naps grew longer and letting them sleep without peaking became peaceful, almost celebratory.

It’s now time to consider transitioning him or her from the crib to the bed. Are you prepared for this major milestone? Of course not, but here’s what you need to know to be sure that your child is ready.

Your baby may have adjusted great to the crib or he could be eager to climb out at every opportunity. One day, you’ll wake up and realize your baby isn’t so little anymore. It’s time to consider transitioning your child from the crib to the bed.

It’s important to understand when your child will be ready for the move and how to make it a smooth transition for both the parents and the child. There are little signs but like most other areas of parenting, you will just know it’s right. To assist with your parenting instinct, there are a few factors to consider.

Is Your Child Ready?


There is less preparation for this milestone than others, such as potty training, bottle weaning and other developmental transitions. There is no list of things that must be done before the big kid bed is set-up but there are a few safety concerns that effect the final decision. In most cases, the transition should be made just before the baby can climb over the crib guard on his own and injure himself. This is the recommendation given by most pediatricians.

The ability to climb over the rail usually happens when kids are around 34 or 35 inches tall. Most reach this height somewhere between 18 and 24 months old. Again, parents must use their judgement because not all babies grow the same. Some will even start to try and climb out of their crib sooner than this and if so, the need to transition may arrive sooner than later. In any case, if the toddler finds the crib comfortable and makes no attempts to crawl over the rail, the crib can be used up until he’s just over two years old. This is only with extreme caution given to the safety of its use and making absolutely sure that the toddler isn’t a climber.

Parents should be mindful that allowing toddlers to remain in the crib too long could make it more difficult to transition to the big kid bed. Kids can easily become emotionally attached to the crib if they remain in it longer than necessary.

Special Circumstances


Sometimes other circumstances require toddlers to transition and although safe to move them to the big bed, be careful to consider their feelings. For example, parents will often move toddlers to the big bed if they are welcoming a new baby into the home. The new arrival gets the crib and the older sibling (the toddler) must move to a bed. This can become confusing for the older sibling and cause feelings of displacement or loneliness.

In this case, it is easier to make the transition before the newest family member arrives. This allows the toddler to adjust to the new sleeping space and it won’t be such a new thing when the baby comes home.

Other circumstances such as redecorating, decrease in space or converting the room into a big kid room can also make a transition necessary. Most importantly, make the toddler comfortable with the transition and express excitement about the move to the big bed. This will lead to excitement in the child and makes it seem like an adventure.

No matter what prompts the transition, parents should not make it during a time that other major changes are taking place in the toddler’s life. If a toddler is training on the potty, trying to let go of the pacifier or starting a new childcare regimen, allow them to adjust to the newness of these things before transitioning.

The smoother and less complicated parents make the transition, the more accepting and excited the toddler will be to make the switch.

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