From Crib to Big Kid Bed: 4 Tips for Easing the Transition

Your little one is starting to grow up before your eyes. When is the best time to transition from crib to toddler bed?


Typically, children make the move between the ages 2 and 3.5 years old. But parents should trust their instincts regarding when their child is ready.

There are many factors that will impact this process, from your child’s interest in climbing to the costs of buying new furniture. Here are four considerations—and tips to manage them—before you pack up the crib and set up the big kid bed.

1. Safety

Most toddlers are able to climb over a crib rail when they are about 35 inches tall, and between 18 and 24 months old. It’s a long drop from the top of a crib rail for such a little person, so the situation quickly gets dangerous once your cherub becomes an escape artist. If your child can climb over the crib's railings, don't hesitate to make the move to an open-sided bed.

After you decide it's time to switch beds, consider how you are going to make sure your toddler's room is a safe space and the rest of the house is off-limits at night. You may need to add a child safety handle on the inside of the door until your child understands nighttime exploring is a no-no.

2. Sibling issues

The impending arrival of a baby may influence when you make the move to a toddler bed. This can be a very sensitive time for your toddler, especially if you have a one-child household. It's best to start the process of switching to a big-kid bed one to two months before the new baby is due, assuming that your toddler is at least 18 months old.

Knowing there are many changes to come, make the big kid bed experience special for your toddler. Let your little one help you choose some bedding, and when the frame arrives have them pull out a toy drill or hammer to help you with assembly.

3. Costs

Toddler beds can be quite affordable, though prices range widely. A quality mattress is essential, and a bed frame can add substantial cost, particularly special types like racecar beds and bunk beds.

Consider paying for a sturdy bed that can hold the weight of an adult so that you can lie with your toddler to share bedtime stories without worrying about collapsing the furniture. Other costs you should budget for include a safety railing, bedding, a mattress protector, and child safety locks.

4. Bed type

There are a variety of options for big-kid beds. These include a toddler bed, which is low to the ground and can support a crib mattress; a twin mattress on the floor or atop a box spring; and a traditional bed set-up with a removable guardrail to keep your child from falling out.

Congratulations, Mom, and Dad! This is a big milestone not only for your child but also for you.

Consider the details before making the shift to make sure you have everything you need, and then look forward to a new kind of bedtime with your big kid.

If you found this article helpful, consider sharing it on TwitterFacebookPinterest, or Instagram or emailing it to any van lifers who might benefit from a better night’s sleep. Sharing is caring!