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If you’ve ever wondered, is my toddler ready for a big bed? How will I prep her for the switch from a crib to a bed? Will we ever sleep again?!
Even as a mom of three, I’ve asked the same questions about transitioning my youngest, Emmy, to a big bed.
I partnered with Big Lots to grab a brand new Serta mattress and bed for Emmy’s new big girl room. Big Lots has an awesome selection of Serta mattresses that are in-stock and ready to be taken home same-day.
Emmy and I went to our local Big Lots and tested a few mattresses out – turns out she’s a pillowtop gal like her momma :).
I was so impressed with the Serta selection at Big Lots – they have a ton of choices for all kinds of sleepers – stomach, back and side – in all sizes.
If you’re looking for something that isn’t in-store, Big Lots offers White Glove delivery service – they delivered Emmy’s new box spring and mattress into our home (versus on the front porch), which is so nice, especially if you have an uncovered porch or live in an apartment or condo.
Aside from the Serta selection, if you haven’t been to a Big lots lately, you need to go! I LOVE Emmy’s bed frame – it’s a cute little ivory scroll frame that was under $90 – I even assembled it myself and it easily fit in the trunk of my SUV but would fit in a regular car trunk or the back of a van as well.
I also found more bedding basics – her pillow and a mattress cover (a must for a toddler bed!), plus some great basic white keep-cool sheets and a cozy, fuzzy ivory blanket.
The transition from a crib to a bed doesn’t have to be painful. As a mom of three, I have some tried-and-true tips and tricks for making the switch from crib to bed as painless as possible!
Crib to Bed Transition Basics
Is my toddler ready to move to a big bed?
First off, there isn’t a magic age for switching from a crib to a bed. Some toddlers are ready at 18 months, some aren’t ready til about 3.5.
You know your child best, so let him or her take the lead on whether or not they’re ready to switch.
A telltale sign is when they start climbing out of the crib, which can be dangerous if they’re repeat climbers.
Another telltale sign? When they ask for a big bed. Let your child lead – this is a major parenting philosophy of mine and holds true here.
Don’t push a big kid bed unless your child is asking to make the switch – Emmy is the youngest of three so she’s in a hurry to grow up because she sees her older siblings doing ‘big kid’ things.
When should I move my child to a bed?
Try to switch to a bed during a time that isn’t full of other changes (ie potty training, a new sibling, the start of a new preschool, etc).
Think about it – you wouldn’t want to move and start a new job on the same day… #overwhelming.
How can I make the switch from crib to bed less painful?
By giving your toddler choices, (s)he gets to have some control in the whole situation.
If letting your child choose their bedding makes you cringe, let them help you shop for a mattress and the actual bed.
Keep The Consistency
If your toddler has a stuffed animal or blanket they love, obviously, don’t ditch it. Also, try to keep their bedtime routine as close to normal as possible. If bath, teeth, book, bed works for you, don’t rock the boat!
Side rails help a small child from rolling right off the bed in their sleep. A definite ‘yes’ when transitioning from a crib to a bed.
Also – your child WILL get out of his/her bed unsupervised (sorry!). Make sure their room is a safe place with the furniture anchored to the walls, anything heavy or breakable is put away, and it’s just generally a safe spot for a toddler to be solo.
You may also want to put a gate at the top of the steps and/or add doorknob deterrents for tiny toddler hands.
Patience and Grace
Obviously, in a small child’s world, switching beds can be a huge deal that can cause some anxiety or clinginess. Try to keep your cool and be a source of comfort and calm.
I get it – dealing with early wake ups and kids getting out of their bed for the 53rd time is THE WORST but it will pass, promise!
Reward Good Behavior
If you have a toddler who loves getting out of their bed, try to make the occasion of putting them back to bed as calm and boring as possible. A negative reaction is still a reaction and toddlers love that ;).
Reward good behavior with a sticker chart if they stay in their bed and earn X amount of stickers. Toddlers also love feeling ‘big’ and they’re little people-pleasers, so let them know how PROUD you are!