Ultimate Guide to the Toddler Bed Transition

Written by: Laura Hunter, LPN & Jennifer Walker, RN, BSN



Time to read 6 min

Wondering if your toddler is ready for a big-kid bed? Learn how to tackle the big toddler bed transition with our guide, which takes you through the signs to look for and offers essential tips to ensure a smooth, happy transition from the crib to the toddler bed

Transitioning my little one from a crib to a toddler bed was quite an experience – it's something so many of us moms go through. It's this bittersweet blend of excitement from seeing them grow and a bit of worry about their safety and comfort. But, honestly, we made it through with a lot of love and patience plus some clever little tricks up our sleeves from Moms on Call . At the time, it felt like a big step for both of us; looking back, it's just another special memory we've created.

Key Things to Have in Place Before Starting the Toddler Bed Transition

Before you begin the transition from a crib to toddler bed, having the following 3 things in place will help pave the way for success. We’ll discuss each in more detail throughout this guide.

  1. A solid nighttime routine
  2. A safe, inviting space
  3. Confidence that will bolster everyone’s experience

Moms on Call’s Toddler Book has the entire transition mapped out for you in outline format. Prepare to be amazed at how your child breezes through this transition with a little help from Moms on Call!

Understanding the Right Time

Deciding when your little one is ready to transition from a crib to a toddler bed is a big step. Generally, you'll notice signs like their newfound skill of climbing out of the crib or their growing curiosity about having a 'big kid' bed, especially if they have older siblings. It's also a consideration if your toddler seems too big for their crib. And while the arrival of a new sibling might make you consider the shift, it's wise not to rush if your toddler is under two. It's all about finding the right balance and ensuring your child is ready for this new chapter. Each child has unique timing, and it's okay to trust your instincts as a parent and take it one step at a time.

Preparing Your Child

Shifting to a big-kid bed is a big deal for our little ones, and prepping them well can make all the difference. Moms on Call provides clever ways to smooth the path. A tip I love is setting the right vibe and using smart, subtle strategies like triangulation from the Moms on Call Toddler Book to encourage your toddler. Triangulation is this neat communication trick where you talk about your child's progress to someone else when your child can hear. It's a way to praise them indirectly, making them feel proud and motivated. For instance, when Grandma comes over, I often say, "Hey, Mom, did you see how amazing ____ is doing with their new big-kid bed? They're just loving it and feeling so proud!" It's not just a little brag; it's a clever way to boost your little one's confidence. They overhear how well they're doing, and it just makes them beam with pride. Plus, it helps Grandma know we're all on board with this big step. It's all about creating a positive experience when transitioning to a toddler bed!

Choosing the Right Bed

Choosing the right bed for your toddler is like picking the perfect pair of shoes; it needs to be just the right fit, super comfy, and safe. When scouting for the perfect toddler bed, safety features are the top priority – think sturdy build, secure rails, and just the right height so your little explorer can get in and out easily. Comfort comes next; a cozy mattress that invites sweet dreams is key. And let's not forget design – a bed that sparks joy and fits snugly into your little one's world makes bedtime something they'll look forward to. So, take your time, maybe even involve your toddler in the choice. After all, it's their little throne in the kingdom of dreams! And while you're at it, don't forget to check out Moms on Call's favorite sound machine . These must-haves complement the perfect bed, ensuring your toddler's sleep space is not just a bed but a cozy, safe, and inviting personal haven.

Safety First

Safety's the name of the game, especially when your little one's about to get their own big-kid bed. Think of it like toddler-proofing your phone, but it's their room! The Moms on Call Toddler Book recommends making sure those dressers are anchored down tight — we don't want any climbing surprises. Keep those cords out of reach, and clear out the tiny toys that are more trouble than they're worth. And the door? Moms on Call suggests switching the knobs so it can lock from the outside, just to keep the midnight adventurers where they should be. Safety first, so we can all sleep tight!

The Transition Process

Transitioning to a toddler bed is quite the adventure, right? On the first night, make sure you've got their room ready and everything is childproofed — they might just turn into little explorers! Bath time sets the mood. Then it's pajamas, soft music, and dim lights to wind down. When it's storytime, choose two favorites, and at the end, offer a reassuring, loving statement like, "Now it's bedtime. You're going to do great staying in this big kid bed, and I'll see you when the sun comes up."

Remember, they might test the waters when you say it's bedtime. It's all new to them, so tears or a bit of fuss is just them getting used to this big-kid change. Consistency is key, and by morning, regardless of how the night went, start fresh. Reaffirm how awesome they are and how confident you are in their ability to ace this big-kid bed thing. Keeping those routines consistent is our secret sauce to making the toddler bed transition smooth for our tiny tots!

Dealing with Challenges

In this big-kid bed journey, there might be a few bumps along the road. It's all part of the process! If your little one is struggling to adjust, remember that patience and consistency are your best friends. Keep using that positive triangulation during the day, like, "____ is doing so well with their big-kid bed. Soon, they'll be snoozing through the night just like us!" And at night, stay strong. If they try to negotiate for just one more hug or a glass of water, remember nighttime is for sleeping. Address any little hiccups in the morning with a fresh start. They'll get the hang of it, and before you know it, they'll be champion sleepers in their new bed!

Remember “Confident Face”

Embrace the "Confident Face" technique from Moms on Call's Toddler Book — it's a game-changer. Toddlers are our little mirrors, capturing and reflecting every reaction we show. And yes, they have a knack for turning even the smallest mishaps into grand dramas. A tiny spill? To them, it might as well be a catastrophe. That's where the magic of the Confident Face comes in. By maintaining our composure and showcasing that serene, 'we've got this' demeanor, we communicate the stability and control they desperately seek during their most dramatic moments. It's a Moms on Call secret: displaying confidence not only helps manage their meltdowns but also fosters a sense of security and calmness, precisely what they need to navigate the ups and downs of toddlerhood.

A Few Final Words about Your Toddler's Journey from Crib to Bed

As we close this Ultimate Guide to Transition from a Crib to a Toddler Bed, remember that this journey is as unique as your little one. You've got the tools, the tips, and the heart to guide your toddler through this big change. From recognizing the right time, preparing your child to ensure safety, and handling challenges with a Confident Face, you're more than equipped to make the toddler bed transition a cherished milestone. Embrace each step with love, patience, and confidence, and watch your toddler thrive in their new big-kid bed.

You're not in this alone. Every parent navigates sleep challenges differently, and that's okay. Loving and understanding your toddler's needs is what matters most. For that extra layer of support in your child’s transition from crib to a toddler bed, the Moms on Call Toddler Online Class is here to assist. This resource offers you everything needed to navigate your toddler's sleep routines with ease. You'll gain access to dependable advice, uplifting encouragement, and the reassurance only experienced moms (and pediatric nurses) can provide. Tailored to meet your family's specific needs, our guidance will help streamline your nighttime routines for peaceful nights and smooth transitions. For that extra support in your child’s shift from crib to toddler bed, remember: Moms on Call is just a click away. Let's thrive through this journey together.

Co-Founders of Moms on Call

Laura Hunter, LPN and Jennifer Walker, RN, BSN

Co-Founders of Moms on Call, Pediatric Nurses and Moms to 8 kids between them, Laura Hunter and Jennifer Walker created Moms on Call to simplify parenting. Through their books, online courses, podcast and content, they help parents everywhere navigate the first four years with confidence and better sleep.

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