How To Transition From Toddler Bed To Big Kids’ Bed

This post was most recently updated on July 28th, 2021

Transitioning from a toddler bed to a regular-sized bed is a big deal for both the parents and the child.

For parents, it is a reminder of how quickly their children grow. For children, it is an exciting and sometimes scary change.

Making this transition a little easier for your child can be accomplished with a few small tricks.

When your child has outgrown his bed, you can make the change to a big boy bed or big girl bed easier by planning a whole day of activities around the change. Some of the activities that you can do include:


Picking out the bed

Taking your child with you to pick out the new bedroom furniture.

Now that she has outgrown her bed, you can give her a chance to pick out her big girl bed so that she feels more comfortable when it comes time to sleep in it on her own.

For a big girl, picking out her own princess bed can give her something to look forward to, and anticipate the change.

Ordering a bed online can intensify this anticipation.

Consider it from your own perspective. When you order something for yourself online, don’t you wait impatiently until it arrives – even if it’s “next-day shipping”?

The wait plays a psychological trick on your brain and makes you want the item even more than when you placed your order.

The wait for the new bed might intensify her desire to transition to the new big girl bed, and make your job a little easier.

Conversely, if you’re picking out a new big boy bed, a race car bed for boys is always a hit!


As far as size is concerned, the two mattress sizes that are commonly used for children are Twin or Full.

For the first “big kids bed”, we would suggest choosing a Twin-sized mattress. The transition from a toddler bed to a Full size might be a bit too extreme.

Having a ton of empty space in bed might sound good to you as an adult, but it can be the opposite for a child.

The focus here is on the transition to a big bed. Transitioning to a Twin-sized bed is much easier than transitioning to a Full-sized bed.

A toddler bed is small and narrow – it’s a cozy fit. A small child in a Full-size mattress isn’t as cozy. The abundance of space can make a lot of children feel uncomfortable.


Picking out their own bedding

Let your child pick out the bedding. Picking out sheets in their favorite color or favorite print can make the new big kid’s bed feel a lot more personable.

Now that your child has outgrown his bed, it may also be time to get a larger pillow and bigger blankets for the bed.

Give your child a chance to pick out their own to make the bed feel like they are “big” enough to make these decisions because they are big enough to sleep in this bed.

Pick something out to change the room as well. Get a new picture for the wall or a new lamp or something your child will enjoy. Make it a “room change” and not just a bed change.


You May Meet Some Resistance From Your Child

Even though your child has outgrown her bed, it does not mean that she wants a larger bed.

Children, especially when they are small, become attached to items because of the routine and security it provides.

Because of the emotional attachment to the toddler bed, you might be met with a little resistance when it comes time for the change to the big girl bed.

One of the things that you may want to do at first is to allow your child to keep one of the smaller blankets or pillows from their small bed.

Letting them keep this in their new bed will give them a reminder of that security and help them learn to sleep in a larger bed. You can then gradually transition to newer bedding items.

It is also very important that you keep to your same bedtime routines when you make the change.

If you read them a story or had a bath right before bed, do the same things now. Sticking to a routine is very comforting and can help make this change feel less dramatic.


Safety and The Larger Bed

Learning to sleep in a larger bed takes practice.

It may sound silly, but your child will be sleeping in a bigger area and higher off the ground. It will feel different, and they will move around more and sleep differently at first.

Parents must be prepared for a few sleepless nights as their child becomes adjusted to the new and larger bed.

It has been scientifically proven that a change in height to the bed affects how a body feels gravity and that it will change your sleep pattern until you get used to the change.

This is why so many people find it hard to sleep in hotel beds because they are different heights than their normal bed.

It is recommended that you place one of the longer sides of the bed against the wall while your child learns to sleep in their new bed.

You may also want to get a safety rail for the open side to use until they are comfortable in the bed.

These small rails are lightweight and designed to slip under the mattress to hold them in place. The small rail stands up on the side and keeps your child from falling out of their bed.

Once they are used to the bed, you can remove the rail just by slipping it out.

Bed bumpers are another alternative. Bed bumpers are placed on either or both edges of the bed and act as a roadblock.

Bumpers are usually around 6″ in height, and are tall enough to prevent your little one from rolling off the edge of the bed.

You simply place the bumper on top of the mattress and then cover it with the fitted sheet.


This Is A time To Celebrate

Changing to a bigger bed should be a cause for celebration. Having a little “party” with your child to celebrate the new bed is also a fun way to help them get used to the thought of having a new and larger bed.

Throw a “welcome” party to welcome the new bed into your home.

As silly as it sounds to an adult, it translates very well to a toddler. Parties are fun and good, which means a new bed is fun and good.

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