You are trying to transition your toddler out of the crib but he refuses to stay out of your bed. He can get up and roam the house or play with his toys. The only way he will actually sleep is if he comes in with you or you lay down with him. I know that means no one is getting enough sleep so you are all cranky. Check out this easy way to get your toddler to sleep in their own bed that will help you all sleep better!
Check out the FREE printable worksheet to create your own bedtime routine in the Resource Library!
The Easy way to get your toddler to sleep in their own bed
It can be hard to fathom why sleep is such a difficult thing for our favorite little people. From the time they come into the world most of them struggle with staying asleep. Then when we finally get them sleeping well, it’s time to change something for one reason or another. So I want to give you secret to how I have both my toddlers sleeping in their own beds all night long. Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve letting them cry it out unless that is what you want to do.
toddler bed or big kid bed?
I want to touch on this subject first. A question I see moms asking all the time in Facebook groups is about where they should transition their toddler when they take them out of the crib. Whether it is because a new baby is coming and needs it or their toddler is climbing out of the crib, they need to get them sleeping in their own bed.
I believe that toddler beds are a waste of money. And all they do is create yet another transition for you to worry about in a few months.
The idea of a toddler bed is that it has the extra rails and it is low to the ground so it’s easier for little humans to climb in and out. Plus, it’s a shorter fall. But I don’t think it is necessary.
Most beds (twin or full size) that you would get for a child are not going to be much higher off the ground than a sofa. And I would guess that your toddler can probably climb up and sit on the sofa with you. But even if they can’t (I switched both my kids to twin size beds before they could climb that high) I have a way to make it work for you!
So, all that rambling to say, I recommend a big kid bed for your toddler.
- Skip the extra transition.
- Save a few hundred dollars.
- Don’t waste your time and storage space trying to put the toddler bed together just to take it down in a few months.
Make it “no big deal”
When you get the big kid bed for your toddler all set up, don’t try to push them to sleep in it if they are nervous. Make the fact that it is there in their room seem super casual. You can even kind of brush off the fact that it is there and put them to bed just like you always do. Most toddlers will be very interested in it to begin with, and even more so if you say something like “oh, that’s just a big kid bed. Maybe you can try it soon.” and then say goodnight.
With my kids, I took the approach of just putting them to bed like I always did but doing it into the big kid bed. Keeping it natural and simple helped my toddler go to sleep in their own bed right from the start.
transition them early
**It is important for me to mention here that I am NOT a medical professional. So you need to make your parenting decisions based on what you are comfortable with and if you have concerns or questions about safe sleeping practices, please consult your pediatrician.**
Now, you may already be past the point of this. And if you are, that is totally fine. But I wanted to mention this anyway because I think it had something to do with my success.
Assuming you have the proper safety rails in place, move your toddler to their own bed early. Both of my kids were transitioned around the time that they turned 1 year old. I know you may be thinking that I am crazy. But here’s why I did it.
With my first, I needed him out of the crib because his baby sister was coming. My kids are only 15 months apart and I had no intentions of buying a second crib. And since it went so smoothly when I transitioned him, I tried the same timing with my daughter. Guess what. It worked again.
So if you have missed the chance to transition them before they turn 2, I don’t think it will make a huge difference, but I do think that trying to do it at an age where they are potentially a little less fearful of change was helpful in our success.
stick to your bedtime routine
This is probably the most important thing you can do. Don’t uproot your toddler’s bedtime routine completely when you make the transition to a big kid bed. That will cause them to not want to sleep in their own bed.
Do everything as you usually do at the same time. Just put them to sleep in the new bed. If they are a little bit older you can talk about it if you want to, but don’t forget to make it “no big deal” so they don’t feel any pressure or nerves about the change.
If you want more information about sleep and bedtime routines for your toddler, check out How To End Toddler Bedtime Battles for Good
These are the things I used to make it super simple and an easy transition for both of my toddlers to sleep in their own beds.
- Twin Wood Bunk Bed – This is the exact bed we use. We set them up as 2 separate beds and transition the kids into the top bunk with the rails put up. We pushed the opening against the wall so it has full rails and they can’t roll out. When we moved my youngest in, we switched my son (around 28 months at the time) into a full-size bed with no rails and he has never fallen out.
- Sound Machine – We use one of these in each of our kid’s bedrooms. It helps to keep their rooms consistent no matter what is going on in the rest of the house.
- Swing Down 54-Inch Extra Long Bed Rail Guard – If you decide not to go with the bunk bed option, this is a great bed rail. It is extra long so it covers a lot of the edge of the bed. It is a good quality and decently affordable!
I know you are ready to get a good night’s sleep. So try these simple tips to get your toddler sleeping in their own bed. By keeping it casual, setting up a routine, and sticking to it you will make the transition much more easily.