Saying Goodbye to the Crib

Toddler Transitions: Saying goodbye to the crib is a big milestone for both parents and children.  Most parents will miss the safety of the crib and wistfully wish for the days when their little one couldn’t climb out of bed. Toddlers are usually excited by the new sleeping arrangements and a little fearful of this newfound freedom.  Whenever possible, a gradual shift from crib to toddler bed is best for most children.

Goodbye Crib:  Some children benefit from a formal goodbye ceremony.  While other children are too interested in the new bed to look back at the crib.  Gage your child and find the best solution.  If you own a crib that converts into a toddler bed, have your child “help” as you transform the bed.

Naptime Experiments:  Testing out the new bed during naptime gives you all a chance to acclimate to this change in sleep routine.   Lowering your expectation for actual sleep during naptime may help you feel better as your child tests the boundaries of the new bed.

Take a Deep Breath:  As always, approaching this new twist in the routine with a matter-of-fact or nonchalant attitude will help your child see the change as “normal”.  Center yourself and keep your energy in check as your toddler learns the ins and outs of the bed.  Remember that all children are unique and respond differently to change.

Safety First:  A safety gate or half-door is a must as your little one learns to stay in bed and in the room.  Pushing the bed up against a wall and placing a safety rail on the other side will help your child avoid rolling out of bed.  Toddler beds also utilize the same or similar crib safety mattress.

No Fun Zone:  If your child is used to playing in his or her room, naptime or bedtime with a toddle bed can be challenging.  With no barrier, children can just hop out of bed and play.  Creating a “no fun zone” during naptime and bedtime may help the transition.  Parents have very creative ways of taking the fun out of the room.  It may be as simple as relocating the toy box.  While other parents have a special quilt that covers the toys during naptime and bedtime.

Smooth Transition:  Enlist your child’s help in making up the new bed.  Ask your child to choose who will share the bed with him/her – a stuffed animal or special blanket?  For most children this is the first time a pillow is introduced.  Point out how your child’s bed is just like your big bed with a pillow and everything.  Encourage your child to test out the bed, while you state how comfy and snuggly the new bed feels.

Total sleep independence is within your reach.  Toddlers are growing and changing so quickly that their sleep is often disturbed.  Be patient and know that this to shall pass; every child learns to sleep in a bed when they are ready.  You are the expert when it comes to your child.  With a little thought and planning you can institute the best transition method to meet your child’s needs.  For more information on toddler sleep transitions contact Kim at


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