12 ways to get your toddler excited about their big kid bed

My son didn't want to leave his crib for a big kid bed—so here's what I did.

Girl playing in bed
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

When my son was ready to transition out of his crib to a big kid bed, I was nervous. He slept so well in his crib, and we had a rock-solid routine I didn't want to disturb. But he was quickly outgrowing all the sleep sacks, and even boldly climbing out of his crib with the sleep sack on so I was worried that if we didn't transition him quickly, it would be a safety issue.

So one night, I just bit the bullet. I took the side of his crib off and decided then and there that he would be sleeping in it as the toddler bed it converts to instead.

Well, that was a terrible idea.

The transition was too abrupt. He took one look at his beloved (now dismantled) crib and said, "Fix it! Fix it!" and then he found the crib side that we had just taken off (hastily chucked into my bedroom) and pointed it at it and said, "Da-da, fix it it!" as he pleaded with his father. (His father is the ultimate softie.)

I felt terrible and realized that while I had been thinking about this transition for months, for him, it was just something that changed one day overnight for him. I needed to ease him into the idea of a big kid bed and help him process it the same way I had been doing this entire time. To be successful, he needed to feel like he was a part of the transition, not just be told that it was happening.

So, we "fixed" his crib for that night and began the process of getting him used to the new change. I started talking about big kid beds all the time, pointing out that his beloved older cousin slept in a big kid bed, and look, Doesn't that seem fun? I bought books that told stories about transitioning to a big kid bed, and I even asked for his opinion on what kind of sheets he liked and ultimately what kind of big kid bed he wanted to sleep in.

And after a few weeks (or a month? I can't remember) of us hyping up how awesome the big kid bed was, we decided to go for it again. We took his crib out (fully intact, in case he decided to change his mind) of his room, and had him watch us as we put together his new bed.

We told him every step of the way that his new bed was going to be so fun and how he could pick which stuffies to bring with him to sleep in it. When the bed was assembled, he was excited! He asked if he could sleep in it (yessssss) and once we did our whole bedtime routine, he was ready.

As I stared down at my toddler who was no longer a baby, he looked so tiny in this new twin-sized bed he was about to sleep in. I said, "You're such a big boy! Do you love your new bed?"

He didn't answer me. He was already rolling over, hugging his foxie tight, and closing his eyes for sleep.

These new (and old) objects are what helped both of us get used to the idea of a big kid bed:

We added two new books to our bedtime routine so that sleeping in a big kid bed would be top of mind:

But then we kept some old classic books he already loved so there wouldn't be too much change:

We chose some fun new bedding (that he helped pick!):

But we brought his favorite blanket from his crib to keep something comforting and familiar in the mix:

I also let him pick a new stuffed animal to bring to the new bed:

While, keeping the old faithful stuffy he's had since he was a baby:

And, last but not least, there were two crucial things that stayed absolutely the same in his bedtime routine:

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