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Tips From a Pro: How to Trade the Crib for a Bed

crib to a bedOne of the most exciting times of my kids toddler years is getting their own bed!  We have tried to make it a special coming of age tradition in our household as much as possible and it is something that each kid gets excited about for the next kid.

I became pregnant with our 2nd child, when our 1st was only 10 months old.  Immediately, we decided we never wanted her to feel like her brother was taking anything over and this included her crib. After a bit of mulling over how will this would work, we decided turning the transition to her own bed into a celebration 3 months BEFORE her brother arrived was the best way for us to handle it without making her feel like she had been kicked out.

Talk It Up!

So at the ripe old age of 14-15 months old, we started talking to our little girl about how exciting it will be to have her own BIG girl bed!

Let the Child Make Decisions.

Now, understand me correctly when I say this.  I am NOT saying let your child make the decisions.  I’m saying allow the child to make certain decisions.  The decisions that will make the bed feel like it’s his/hers.  Take your child to the store and let them choose:

  • The Sheets
  • The Comforter
  • The Pillow
  • The Mattress
  • The Bed Frame
Yep, let them Choose the Mattress & the Bed Frame!

My husband and I had actually predetermined which mattress our daughter would use, but we still took her to the store the day of the purchase and tested out ALL the mattresses.  Reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears before going could be helpful because then you can discuss which ones are too hard, too soft, and just RIGHT!  Of course, just right ended up being the mattress we had pre-selected.  But oh, did we have lots of fun giggling at our fakes snores because truly you have to mimic sleep to see if the mattress really is good for sleeping!

Later on when we went shopping for bunk beds, my kids had just as much fun playing on all the beds and giving their opinions as to why this one would be better than the other. We took pictures of each of the beds along with their prices so we could really compare.   We would run over to Mathis Brothers, Bob Mills, and KidZone furniture to shop and compare what they all had, taking pictures along the way of the beds & prices we liked the most, and then we would enjoy a bit of ice cream (because that makes everything more fun) to discuss which ones we were most interested in purchasing.

By the time the bed was delivered and put together, the kids were bursting with excitement to sleep on THEIR new beds!

Protective Bed Equipment

Yes, there is a lot of excitement about moving to a big kid bed, but then there is the thought of “Oh, no!  They’re out of their cage!  How will they be contained?”  Usually, my kids were on the verge of crawling out of their cribs by 16 months already, so the cage was no longer effective and putting them in the bed was much safer.

  • We found a fantastic bed rail from OneStepAhead.com that we have used with all our kiddos.
  • Or of course, you can just throw the mattress on the floor and not use a bed frame until you feel comfortable that they won’t roll off the bed without hurting themselves.
  • Then, there is the good old, put pillows on the floor in case the do roll off.
  • I’ve even seen someone using pool noodles under the fitted sheets to keep kids from rolling off the bed. (Currently, we use two pillows tucked under the fitted sheet to do this same thing.)
4th Child & Climbing into Parents’ Bed at Night

With our 4th child, everything has been done completely different.  He actually never slept in a crib, but with us from day one until he was 22 months old and then went straight to his bed.  We even already had the mattress and bunk bed, but we still went to all the furniture stores and played around on the beds to test them out anyway.

I honestly thought it was going to be more difficult to transition him to his bed because he was so used to sleeping in ours.  But the majority of the time, he does sleep in his own bed all night. Sometimes, he climbs into ours but not as frequently any more now that he’s 2.  Everyone has their own way of dealing with kids getting out of their beds, our way is snuggling them close, realizing this won’t last forever.

What ideas have you found that will make transitioning to a child’s own bed easier?

At what age did your child move to his/her own bed?

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