Bye Bye Crib - tips for transitioning Crib to a Bed

Preparing your child for the transition from crib to bed is a scary milestone for many parents and a challenge I am working on with my own child at the moment with this very transition.

I am a very big believer in waiting to transition your toddler until they are 2.5- 3 years. Many people start the transition prior to this for many reasons, including welcoming a new child or having a climber. If you are welcoming a new child I highly recommend if you can just get a second crib. Maintaining a safe place to put your older child can be invaluable for the first months after welcoming your new baby. If you have an early climber (like mine) establish a firm rule of “no climbing” to keep this at bay. If this is happening at night this can also be addressed with a silent return. If they continue than for everyones peace of mind making an early transition might be needed.

My youngest “A” is 2.7 months old now. She is mature enough to understand sleep rules. She is an excellent sleeper and clearly ready to proceed to a bed. “A” is toilet trained, is a skilled crib climber and uses the ends like a ladder.

To prepare her for the transition to a bed have started to introduce a ready to wake clock while she is still in her crib.  In addition we will be moving many of her toys and books out of her room. This is two fold. First is to reduce the number of distractions in her room and second to ensure her room is safe for her to roam around in without our watchful eye.t is also recommended to secure closet doors and ensure all furniture is secured to the walls.

Start an open dialogue with your family about sleep rules. Have a family meeting to talk about sleep. What are your family rules.  “Stay in your bed until Mom and Dad get you.” “You  can always get up to use the washroom” “Allow others to sleep.” Explain why sleep is important to everyone. By 2.5 years a child should be able to understand these types of basic rules.

Start to create excitement for your child in growing up. Let them help you by picking out new big kid bedding, help with decor or even a special new lovey to keep them company. Talk about how this is another step in becoming a big kid. Her new bed is close to the ground so I don’t have to worry about huge falls. Alternatively place your mattress on the floor to allow time for your child to become more comfortable with sleeping in a bed not a crib.

As parents you need to be ready for a few rocky days during the transition. Come up with a written approach of how you will deal with night waking, bedtime pop-ups and the early wakings. All of these are normal occurrences. Your child has a new level of freedom and will your limits. Maintain a clear and consistent approach to all these challenges to allow you to quickly deal with any problems. You know I am always here if you need any additional support.

As I enter this new stage of parenting I am preparing. No Cribs and No Diapers. Wow how did this happen so fast!!!!! I admit to feeling apprehensive but am systematically getting ready as she is ready. Wish me luck as I wish you luck. If you need any additional support during this transition or any other please feel free to reach out. I'm happy to help 

xx Alison




I was recently asked on my facebook account the following questions.

“My 3 year old has recently started waking up once (at least) in the night. Most of the time, I think she is crying in her sleep. Is she having nightmares? She doesn’t seem phased by it in the morning but I would like to sleep through the night again! Any Suggestions?”

Nightmare will usually occur during REM Sleep and most nightmares will occur in the second part of the night when REM periods have lengthened. Nightmares are thought to have many triggers in children. These include:

  • Illness – children can be prone to nightmares when they have fevers. This could also be as simple as they are too warm sleeping.
  • Overtired  

  • Having irregular sleep routines

  • Developmental milestone – when they are conquering a new skill.

  • Stress or Anxiety – something like moving, birth of a new sibling or some outside circumstance.

  • A traumatic event.

Experts say anything can cause nightmares: a new television show or a scary story they overheard. The cause might not jump out at you but the following are a few simple tips to tips to get her back on track. 

  1. Try getting her to bed even 10-15 minutes earlier for a couple of weeks. If she’s overtired she might just benefit from a couple extra minutes of sleep.

  2. Try lighter Pajamas in case she is too warm. I will often go in and pull off my daughter’s heavier blanket once she’s asleep especially when she insists on wearing her warm fussy pj’s for bed

  3. Teach an her an action in case she is waking up. – “Cuddle your pillow and say I know it’s over and I’m safe in my bed.” And go back to sleep.

  4.  If she does wake you respond to her feelings and provide a big hug. Try not to over react to her fear by looking for monsters in her closet. Don’t show your anxiety or unhappiness with her waking.

  5. Try adding something relaxing to your bedtime routine such as meditation, relaxing breathing or a warm bath.

  6. It only takes repeating the same reaction like looking for a monster or a glass of water to create a habit or expectation in small humans so try to minimize the reward for night wakings.

  7. Start a sleep diary for your child. See if you can see a pattern to her night wakings. What might be her trigger? Could it be a later bedtime, heat wave, watching something scary or even more disagreements with siblings?

  8. Try talking about the nightmares when she is calm, relaxed and feeling safe. Asking if something might help her – extra night light or an extra special teddy. Something to make her feel safe at night.
  9. Try ear plugs for yourself or alternate with your husband to allow you a better night's rest.
  10. If your child is waking at approximately the same time each night try gently waking her slightly before her normal dream time to see if she will sleep through them. This is hard if you have to wake yourself but you might be able to get back to sleep more easily knowing she’s okay.
  11. Remember dreaming is a good thing as it helps kids become more confident to deal with their problems. It helps them work through some of their worries.

I will mention Night Terrors. These occur earlier in sleep (1-2 hours after bedtime) with loud screams, eyes wide open and your child appears to look through you. Please get in touch with me - and I can provide additional pointers until I get a blog post up about these.

If she is tired the next day this could be an indication that she is losing too much sleep and it might be medical reason. If that is the case seeking assistance from your doctor would be recommended.

I hope this helps.