Transitioning Your Kid from a Crib to a Big-Kid Bed
Most kids move out of the crib by age 3, although I don't personally think there's anything wrong with keeping a kid in the crib until 4 years old. Whatever his age, try not to push him and remember, there's no correlation between Harvard admission and transitioning to a bed early!
Here's how to know if your kid is ready to make the move:
- He should be at least 2½ years old, preferably 3.
- He should know how to put himself to sleep and back to sleep (transitioning to a bed rarely solves pre-existing sleep problems).
- He can climb out of his crib, although this in and of itself isn't a reason to switch his sleeping arrangements.
- Get your kid involved! Have him help pick out special sheets for his new bed. Make a big deal out of it. Have him help "assemble" the bed--put on the new sheets, pick which stuff animals will sleep with him etc.
- If you need to take the crib out of his room to fit the new bed in, put the bed in the same place the crib was.
- If you can have the new bed and crib in the same room, make the transition gradually as your child is ready. Start with reading books on the bed or have him nap there. Once he's sleeping in his bed for naps and night you can remove the crib.
- If you're moving your kid to a new room, decorate it, spend time in it with him and talk about the change a couple of weeks before you actually change rooms. You may even suggest he nap in there on occasion. Try to put the bed in the same relative place to the door as was in his old room if possible. Once all his things are moved in to his new room, you can pick the first night that he will sleep in his new room and then don't turn back!
- If moving your kid temporarily disrupts his sleep, you may need to do a modified sleep training program like my Sleep Lady Shuffle to help your child adjust to his new sleeping arrangement.
- Make sure the room is safety proof now that your kid can get out of bed unsupervised! And use a bed rail so he won't fall out.
- Remind your kid that with this privilege come rules—like staying in bed all night. Sticker charts are wonderful behavior incentives for older children.
- On his first night in the big bed, explain how important it is to stay in his bed all night long until morning time. Remind him that you will check on him before you go to bed. For the first few nights stay near his bedroom at bedtime, and reassure him verbally if he calls out to you. If he comes out of his room, quickly and quietly return him to his room, tuck him in and remind him that you expect him to stay in his bed all night long.
Do you think your kid is ready to make the transition from crib to bed? Have you tried to make the transition yet? What happened if and when you did? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
More sleep advice articles:
- Commit to Getting Your Kid to Sleep
- Educate Yourself About Your Childs Sleep
- Start a Sleep Log
- The Importance of Consistency When Sleep Coaching
- Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine
- Create a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom
- The Importance of Putting Your Kid to Sleep "Drowsy but Awake"
- The Sleep Lady Shuffle: What It Is and How To Do It
- Do Step 1 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 2 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 3 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Be Your Kid's Nap Coach
- Check Off Your Sleep Coaching Checklist
- Create a Solid Sleep Plan
- Nightmares and Night Terrors (And How to Tell the Difference)
- Potty Training and Sleep
- End Early Rising
- Ending Bedtime Stalling