Transitions: From Crib to Bed

Transitions: From Crib to Bed

One of the biggest transitions for our toddler and preschool aged children is the move from the crib to a big bed. This can be a very interesting (aka difficult) transition.

Let’s put this into perspective. Your little person is used to being in a crib which restricts their ability to move about the room or house throughout the night. Once in the bed, your little one will be able to get up and move about the house as they wish. This new found freedom often takes time for our little ones to get used to. After the novelty of having the freedom wears off it does get easier when you remain consistent with the expectation that they stay in their bed.

When should you move your little one from the crib to a bed?

The best time to transition your little one to a bed is when they understand the concept that a behavior has a consequence. When does concept begin to be understood? Typically, children begin to understand that behaviours have a consequence closer to the age of three. Therefore, I recommend waiting until your child is 3 years of age or older before you begin the transition to a bed.

What if my child is climbing out of the crib?

If your child has learned how to climb out of the crib and you have exhausted all efforts to keep your child in the crib safely then you will have to transition your child to a bed before age 3. Safety trumps developmental readiness.

How can you keep your child in the crib longer?

There are a few things that you can do to prevent your little one from climbing out of the crib.

1. Remove anything from the crib that your child can use to stand on to help get their legs closer to the top of the crib when they lift a leg over the rail. The most common thing people do is to put a bumper in the crib. Your child will use the bumper to help get over the railing.

2. Lower the mattress to the absolute lowest level possible.

3. A sleep sack can help to prevent your child from being able to get their leg over the crib railing. Here is an article that may help.. Sleep  Sack: Is It Really Necessary?

4. A number of cribs have one side of the crib that is lower than the other. I recommend that you turn the shorter side so that it is against the wall. This could give you a few extra weeks/months with a child in the crib!


Excellent! Now, you know when you should do the transition. So the next question usually is…


What type of bed should I move my child to?

Honestly, this is a personal preference. If your crib transitions to a daybed or toddler bed pretty easily I’d stick with that for a few months if possible (it may not be possible if you need the crib for another child). If the crib does not transition or is not available then the next bed is really up to you.

For us, we took the rail off the crib and he slept there for about a year. Then he transitioned into a double bed. We went to a double bed so that we could lay with him to read stories. Initially, he found the bed too big. We placed pillows beside him and he dis great.


How do I prepare my child for the move?

The best thing to do is to involve your child in the preparation of the new bed. Let your child help with picking out the bedding and any paint colours.

The next thing to do is to make sure that all the furniture that can be climbed is anchored to the wall. If you are concerned about your child getting out of the room in the middle of the night I would put a baby gate up in their doorway. We made sure there was a gate at the top of the stairs.


My child’s room is ready! Now what?

For the first few nights, I would stay close to the room at bedtime. Then when your child exits the room you guide them back to the bed with minimal communication. If you find yourself guiding your child back to the bed a great deal I would switch to a camp out sleep teaching method.

This transition does take about 3 to 4 weeks for it to be complete. I have seen it take as long as 6 to 8 weeks.


As with all things parenting the transition will not be the same for all children. Pack your patience and have fun!


My Child is Suddenly Afraid of His Crib or His Room, Now What?

My Child is Suddenly Afraid of His Crib or His Room, Now What?

As parents, the last thing we want is to see our children sad, upset or in pain.  In fact, we’ll do anything we can to try to ease their suffering and help them feel safe, happy and loved.

But, as we know, sometimes children need to learn new habits, and it can be a bumpy road until they realize this is just the new, improved way of doing things. That is definitely the case with learning to sleep. For babies who have depended on bottles, breastfeeding and rocking to lull them back to dreamland every time they wake up, it can take a while to learn how to do it themselves.

One of the side effects of sleep training is that babies/children can temporarily protest the crib or their room. It’s no wonder. They associate these things with something they don’t like: Having to go to sleep on their own. This is a pretty common complaint, and many parents experience it when their babies or children start the process to go to sleep on their own. Some even tell me their babies start to cry the minute they walk them into the bedroom.

The good news is that it’s usually very short term. In fact, I often encourage parents to see it as a great thing. It means their child is very smart and has figured out that the bedtime routine now means they are getting close to going to bed. This is not necessarily a happy moment for your child because she doesn’t know how to do this yet and it is not what she’s used to. It’s only natural that she’s a little anxious.

With time and practice, though, your little one will get better and better at his own skills and will go to bed happily. In the meantime, just be patient and use soft, soothing tones when you put your baby to sleep. Remind him that it’s just bedtime and that everything will be okay. It often takes a very short time for babies/children to get over this fear and learn to put themselves to sleep.

Hang in there and soon enough your child will be going to bed without a fuss.

Tips and Tricks for Moving From a Crib to a Big Bed

Tips and Tricks for Moving From a Crib to a Big Bed

Sleeping comfortably in my crib!

I am truly amazed at how fast my little man is growing! It is hard to believe that two years have passed.  We have reached so many amazing milestones.  One of the next milestones will be moving from a crib to a big bed.

Honestly, I will keep him in his crib as long as it continues to be safe to do so.  The reason for this is that his sleep is very important for his sanity and let’s face it mine as well.

How do I know he is still safe? He does not climb out. He is in a sleep sack which prevents him from climbing out.

I realize he cannot stay in a crib forever, so here are the 7 tips I will use when he is moved to a big bed:

  1. Remove any furniture that is not safe.  His book shelf which is very tall and not anchored to the wall will be moving out.  He is adventurous, need I say more?
  2. There will continue to be no toys in his room. This drives home the point that his room is for sleeping.
  3. His books will remain in his room.  They will be in a container that is easy to remove if the books are preventing him from going to sleep.
  4. I will include him in picking out the bedding for his bed and accessories ( lamp, wall art, etc). I will guide him to bedding that is not overly stimulating but catches his attention.  I can foresee his current sea theme (my choice) changing into a sport themed room (his choice).  I am sure to shed a tear or two when I am removing the sea themed items and I will make sure he does not see that!  This is exciting, not sad.
  5. He has a crib that converts, so he will “help” us convert the crib to a bed.  If we were looking for a new bed I would include him as much as possible.
  6. I will positively reinforce him the next morning when he stays in his bed. I will reinforce with words, gestures (high-five, “pound it”) and even develop a sticker chart if required.
  7. If he is struggling with staying in his bed, I will simply take him back to his bed with no words until he stays in bed.  I will repeat the key phrase we use for him to go to sleep, which is “it’s night night.” If he continues to leave his room, I will shut the door and hold it shut for a few seconds then let him know the door will open up when he is in bed.  This worked like a charm when he slept on an air mattress when we were visiting family.  I am not a fan of leaving a door locked.

Have fun celebrating this milestone with your little one!

Enjoy and happy sleeping,