There is only one bed

Newsflash! You are the parents. You have the power. You can creatively accomplish even the toughest of circumstances, the child won’t be a toddler forever. When it is time for the child to move to the bed, you can make it happen.

Prepare the child

It is important to note that a toddler does not have to be excited about moving to a new bed, prepared is good enough. Avoid hearing no, by not asking those questions that get parents in hot water. “Don’t you want a new bed?” “Are you ready for your big girl bed?” 

Instead begin by reading some books about kids moving to big beds. You don’t have to relate it directly to the child. You are teaching him that this is the process without disrupting his routine and causing anxiety.

My Own Big Bed by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Big Enough for a Bed by Apple Jordan and John E. Barrett
Your Own Big Bed by Rita Bergstein and Susan Kathleen Hartung

Shop for the bed

Again, never ask a question unless you are prepared to hear and deal with the answer. Suggested verbiage would be. “We are going to buy a bigger bed today and you get to come and help us pick one out. “ Know what you have in mind and direct the child that way. “I think this is the bed we will get, let’s go tell the clerk we are ready to load it up. Maybe we can all put it together when we get home.”

Notice you have not told the child this is his bed. It is the new big bed. Ownership will come when the nighttime routine is moved from the crib to the bed.

Take down the crib

If the crib is no longer available that particular choice is eliminated. Take the crib apart, clean the pieces and put in storage. If you are giving it away, it is a good idea to “take it storage.” A toddler who knows his bed is going to someone else will assume someone else can give it back. Even if there is a new baby coming, have it all go away for awhile and then a crib can come back for someone new.

Set up the bed

If the child is interested in helping, allow it. If the child really doesn’t seem to care much about what is going on, don’t force it. It may not be a big deal at all. They may not be excited, worried or at all interested.

Transition the routine

Try to mirror the same routine that was used when the child was put in the crib. If there was music and rocking do that. If there was a story time and a back rub, just move it to the new location. Keep as much of the routine as possible.


When tantrums come about, comfort the child and firmly remind him this is the place he will sleep. Make sure the same bedding is there. If the routine has to be altered, make certain it is something that both of you can live with long term.

Remember parents are in charge and toddlers are teachable.