Last updated on May 26th, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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This week’s video blog is from Kid’s in the House, a wonderful parenting resource filled with expert advice on hundreds of topics, including sleep. This video will give you some guidance on how to gently transition your toddler from a crib to a bed. Here’s the transcript:

“When and how should you transition your child from a crib to a toddler bed? This is a super common question. The ideal age for this transition is two and a half o three years old. Ideally, I like around the age of three. The average two and a half year old child begins to understand cognitively staying in their bed all night long.

At about two and a half years old, they have a little more impulse control than when they were younger. But again, it’s just an average age to start gently making the transition. Of course, at this age you can start to talk to them about making the change to a bed, and ideally put the bed in the same place that the crib was located.

Some parents like to keep the crib and the bed in the same room and then eventually just remove the crib. Some parents like to convert the crib into a toddler bed. Then you can have a big day of celebrating the change. I like the whole idea of the excitement of the change and getting new sheets. But just be forewarned, this is a great new freedom for them. They’re pretty excited about this freedom and may come out of their room – because now they can.

So, for the first few nights, stay upstairs or stay around their bedroom and say things like, “I know you’re super excited honey, but remember, we’ve got to stay in our bed.” Just be careful. Don’t start any bad habits like going and lying down with them. Maybe you could just say, “I’m going to stay upstairs in my room. I’m going to go brush my teeth. I’ll check on you until you fall asleep.” And then usually within a week or two, they’ve got it down. And they’re really excited about sleeping through the night in their big boy bed or big girl bed.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that once the crib rail falls below a child’s chest (while standing in the crib), it’s time to transition. For most toddlers, this coincides with my recommendation, especially when the crib mattress is dropped to the lowest position available.

This transition can be both an exciting and scary time for parents and toddlers. Discuss rules with your child and make sure you stick to them. And be prepared for changes in sleep patterns – you may have to refer back to The Shuffle to get your child back on track.

If you have experienced a similar problem or experience, please share it with us on The Sleep Lady’s Facebook Page. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!


Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!