5 Tips to Prepare to Transition your Toddler to the Big-Kid Bed

toddler sleeping
Image via Mindi Stavish

Within the next couple of weeks, we will be transitioning my toddler to a twin bed. He now climbs into his big brother's bed at night and lies down, so I know he is ready.

I am the one who is not ready.

Taking down the crib is yet another transition from baby to big kid. How did time go so quickly? Wasn't I just putting the finishing touches on his whale-themed nursery? As much as I would love to keep him little forever, I know he is ready for this next step in development.

Unlike his brothers, he has already given us quite a medical scare from breath-holding spells. One of the episodes required a helicopter ride to the children's hospital after he hit his head and became unconscious.

Needless to say, I am a bit wary of letting him roam free around the house. We will be taking a few extra precautions when we make the transition in order to keep him safe at night. Other than putting up bedrails, we didn't do any preparation when we transitioned our other two out of their cribs. I asked a few friends for some tips, and here is what they did.

Image via Gro-Clock

Use a clock

A life saver for us has been the Gro-Company's Gro-Clock, which teaches your child to stay in bed until the sun comes up.

This updated Gro-Clock uses cute images of stars and the sun, which help a child know when it's time to go to sleep or when it's time to get up.

toddler bed
Image via Flickr/ Abigail Batchelder

Put up some guard rails

  1. Bed guard rails will help prevent your child from falling out of bed.
  2. As an alternative to guard rails, you can use pool noodles under the fitted sheet as a barrier so your child cannot roll out (as easily).
  3. Guard gates at the top of stairs exist to prevent your child from falling down the stairs and from roaming around downstairs without your supervision. 

{ MORE: How to Stop Toddler Aggression }


toddler sleep
Image via Flickr/ Bradley Gordon

Work in stages

If your child is having a difficult time with the transition, you can place the mattress on the floor prior to putting it on the bed frame. Then transition the mattress back to the frame when you feel your child is ready.


toddler sleep
Image via Flickr/ Jessica Merz


When making the transition, timing is everything. If your toddler still hasn't figured out how to climb out of his crib and appears comfortable, then why change what is working?

toddler sleeping
Image via Mindi Stavish

Give them ownership

Provide your child with a sense of ownership in the transition to a big-kid bed by bringing him shopping to pick out a new pillow, blankets, or a stuffed animal. If your child needs a step stool to climb into bed, help them pick out a fun step stool as well. 

{ MORE: Here's More Proof That Early Bedtimes are Good for Everyone }

Do you have other tips to share? We'd love to hear them in the comments! 

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5 Tips to Prepare to Transition your Toddler to the Big-Kid Bed

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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