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When should I move my child to a bed?

When should I move my toddler from a crib to a big-girl bed?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

The best time to switch a child from a crib to a bed is around 3. Before this age children don't really have the cognitive ability or the behavioral control to understand that they have to stay in the bed. Although some children do transition around age 2 and do just fine, in general switching a child too early can turn a good sleeper into a waking nightmare. If your kid is climbing out of her crib, experts suggest getting a crib tent instead of relying on a bed to solve the problem. Chances are if your child gets out of her crib, she'll hop up out of a bed as well. If you're expecting another child and would like to avoid buying a second crib (and who could blame you) consider keeping your new baby in a bassinette at first, which should buy your older child a little more time in her crib.

Once you move your child to her big-girl bed, don't be afraid to back-peddle a little if the transition doesn't go so smoothly. It's totally fine to let her move back to the crib for a few more weeks. Keep the bed in her room, however (beautifully made up for her with bedding and stuffed animals she helps pick out) and eventually she'll want to sleep in it. It could be that she just wasn't ready -- and rushing her is only a recipe for disaster.

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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My son was 18 months when we moved him to a twin size bed. We wasn't sleeping well and he was growing very fast. One side of the bed against the wall and a safety rail on the other side.
Submitted by keonaking80
My daughter turned two a few months ago and is still in her crib. We had been thinking about trying to move her to a bed, but really there is no reason to right now as she is really comfortable in her crib and sleeps great in it! I am planning to work on it once we start with potty training in 6 months or so. Glad to hear we are not necessarily behind the game with this!
Submitted by RoseyBabyGirl
We moved our son out of his crib at 19 months. He wasn't sleeping well at night. We just made a bed out of his crib matress on the floor of his room. He really likes it. I don't think age matters. I'm not too sure why "they" say it is so bad.
Submitted by juzwiak77
All 3 of my kids were in a twin bed before they were 1, and all of them sleep great every night, even the youngest who is 23 months now. He never falls out, and sleeps 11+ hours nightly! I think it depends on the child, not the age.
Submitted by karieparties
My daughter is 16mnths and we moved her to a Tinkerbell toodler bed it has the safety rails, we had the issue of her climbing out of the crib. We have stuff animals such as things that light up and sings that she sleeps with. We give her a bath, get her ready for bed, read her a book, and tuck her in. It goes great she don't get up in the middle of the night and it seems she is more comfortable in the big girl bed. This bed is made for 15mnths and up. Good luck :)
Submitted by megan_bird_2008
My daughter got a full size bed with safety rails at 20 months. She was already potty trained and needed to be able to get out at night. My son is just turning 2 this month and just moved into a toddler bed. He was beginning to climb out so we felt it was safer this way. We placed a gate at the door to his room so we know he is safely in his room in the middle of the night, his bedroom is on the second floor.
Submitted by ajhklh1