Around ages 3 to 4, your child is ready for a “big kid” bed. When your child is a newborn infant, a crib is the safest place for them. Of course, babies grow up so fast. In just a few months to a year, your baby will be a toddler, ready for a bigger bed and, eventually, to sleep without crib rails at all. But how do you know when your little dreamer is ready for their very first twin-sized mattress and a bed frame that will stay with them all through elementary school? When is your child ready for their “Big Bed”?
There’s no exact moment; every child develops at their own pace when it comes to sleep, independence, and climbing. Fortunately, you can rely on a combination of signs and knowing your child’s own development to determine the best time to upgrade them to their first twin bed.
Your child is ready for a Big Bed When they…
Even toddlers who love their crib eventually get to big for the baby-sized mattress and space; if your toddler can stretch and touch the whole crib with their fingers and toes, it’s time for a switch from crib to bed. The same rule goes for a toddler bed, close to the same size as a crib mattres and quickly outgrown by fast-growing children.
Keep an eye on how your child fits into their bed and if they ever look cramped while sleeping you will know that it is time to change from a crib to bed. Eventually, it will be clear that their growth rate will need a bigger bed, even if you’ll need twin-sized bed rails for a sleep roller to make their bedtime routines work.
Some toddlers will let you know that they’re ready to move on from cribs and toddler beds by escaping with every chance they get. Avid little climbers, latch flippers, crib shakers, and room-explorers are trailblazing their way to a bigger and less confining bed. For crib escape artists, you not only want to upgrade to a big-kid bed, but it may also be time to set up a quiet floor play-space for an early-rising toddler with an independent streak. Utilizing a convertible crib is a great opportunity for this type of child.
A bigger bed is not only more comfortable for a growing child, but it’s also taller than most toddler beds and many cribs. Can your child climb up and down off the other big beds in the house? Or do they still need help getting up and down off tall and mattresses bedframes?
Children old enough for a twin bed should be able to get in and out of bed on their own. While you can (and should) choose a low-profile bed frame, box spring, and mattress for kid bed transitions so it’s easier for your child to climb up and down. This way, they can start managing their own regular bedtime routine, wakeup, and take greater control of their room as they go through the critical maturing stages. There are times a child might want to revert back, so having something to move with them can be critical. A great item to bring to a big bed is their crib blanket.
Is your child ready to sleep without crib rails? An important part of this decision is whether they understand the idea of invisible or imaginary boundaries. This is a valid safety concern. Can they stay in their beds when you ask them to? Can they understand to stay in their room playing quietly if they wake up early? Children capable of imaginary boundaries are more ready to have their own no-rails bed and more control over their room and space.
This also gives parents peace of mind when kids who are ‘out of the crib’ understand the basic rules of staying safe at night and bedtime rules.
Consider how much supervision your child needs around bedtime – and to stay in bed through the night. Some young children have a tough time with bedtime, and a toddler bed may be the comfortable and safe solution before they’re ready for a big-kid twin bed for a smooth transition. However, children who consistently sleep in their bed all night without trouble are more likely to be ready for a big bed of their own.
Children without middle-of-the-night problems and those who don’t need nighttime supervision can be trusted to stay in their bed all night and to follow a good sleep routine naturally when left alone in a big kid bed.
Some kids are bed-fallers. Tall or low, bed or couch, they will eventually roll themselves over the edge. This is just one of those sleep-style things, like preferring stomach sleeping or side-sleeping, and everyone has a style. Some adults are still bed-rollers and find themselves on the floor decades after leaving the crib.
But for little ones who still roll with fall-risk frequently, it’s best to stick with crib to toddler bed with rails. Don’t worry, though. If your little sleep-rollers are still rolling by first grade, you can fit twin-sized bedframes with safety rails, too. Saftey precautions should always be looked in to.
One of the best signs that your little one is ready to leave the crib is asking about a bed. Toddlers love to talk and explore possibilities around them. They will ask about anything they see older people doing and form their goals based on desire to be more grown-up. When your toddler is asking about getting their own big-kid bed, they may be mentally ready for the bigger and taller bed.
Talk about why your toddler wants a big bed and explore their readiness. Talk about climbing, about sleep-rolling safety, and about invisible boundaries if your toddler wakes up early and gets out of bed.
Choosing Your Child’s First Big-Kid Bed Together
Ultimately, your child will let you know when they’re ready for a big-bed by outgrowing their little bed or outright asking for a bed like the grownups. You can even choose a twin bed frame with railings to protect children who are growing up but still toss and turn in bed. Shop with your child to choose the perfect bedframe, then personalize with your choice of sheets, pillows, and blankets for their new twin bed size. Themed bedding is a wonderful way to make bedtime exciting, and make the big bed feel like it especially belongs to your child.
Ready to find that perfect first big-kid mattress for your little sleeper? Check out NoBull Mattresses for mattress shopping without the hassle.
Be sure to check out this post to see if your lack of sleep is making you gain weight.