Discovery Point Blog

May 14, 2021

4 Tips for Helping Your Child Transition from Crib to Bed

Is your child ready to transition from a crib to a bed? Are you anxious about this transition? This step can feel like a major one in your child’s development. After all, it does give them a newfound sense of freedom and independence, as well as the ability to wander around their room at will.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about when a child should move from sleeping in a crib to sleeping in a bed. Sometimes, this move is dictated by having a brother or sister on the way who will need the crib more. 

Other times, it’s a safety issue. If your child is tall and adventurous enough to attempt to crawl out of their crib on their own, it’s most likely time to make the switch.

Below, we’ve gathered some tried and true tips to give you confidence as you set the stage for your little one to experience this next big milestone in their growth.

1. Bring the bed into the room before the transition occurs.

Your baby doesn’t have to sleep in their new bed as soon as it arrives. Instead, bring the bed into their room and let them get used to it being around. 

Start referring to it as their bed, read books to them in it, and place some of their favorite comforting objects in it. Think of this as giving them the chance to mark their new territory before taking away the familiar space of their crib.

2. Do a safety sweep of the room.

Before your child could toddle around the room on their own, you may not have thought of every last safety detail. However, now that they’re bound to get out of bed after you’ve left the room, it’s crucial you prepare. This means:

  • Anchoring all furniture to the wall that has tip-over potential 
  • Removing interactive toys that could distract your child from sleeping
  • Removing anything with attached cables or cords
  • Considering installing a video monitor

You may also want to consider a baby gate for their room. Most parents are not comfortable closing or locking their child’s door (nor should you because it’s a fire safety hazard). But without any restrictions, your child may be tempted to explore and wander the house at night. This isn’t safe either.

Purchasing a removable baby gate that can be positioned at the door allows a safe way to prevent wandering while still providing you with peace of mind so you can sleep comfortably.

3. Use nap time for test runs.

Avoid making the transition to sleeping in the bed at night so abrupt by starting with nap time. When nap time comes around, tuck your child into bed and instruct them to stay there until they fall asleep. Then leave the room.

What happens next? Well, your child will probably get out of bed. Depending on how they feel about the situation, they could throw a mini independence party or cry at the door. Either outcome is fine. 

This transition is a process, and you can’t expect your child to get used to it all in one go. Giving them small doses of time in the new bed to get comfortable is a great way to ease into this new sleeping arrangement. Starting with nap time will be an easier way for them to build up to sleeping through the night in their new bed.

4. Move bedtime up a bit.

Many children find a new bed exciting and love the ability to get up and move around at will. To help them embrace the excitement without losing sleep, try moving bedtime up by 30 minutes. This additional time will allow your child to get any exploring out of their system before it’s time to settle down for the night. 

As your child becomes more used to their new bed and the novelty of getting up wears off, you’ll be able to shorten the time needed to get ready for bed. Soon enough they’ll be able to skip this extra time and just head to bed. Or you might find you enjoy this new wind down time for book reading and quiet moments.

Preparing your child to transition from their crib to a bed may take some trial and error. With these tips, you can be ready for the road ahead and minimize common sources of friction as you undergo this change together.