Toddler Sleep Issues: When is My Child Old Enough to Move to the Big Kid Bed?

Jeanne Sager
3

Flickr photo by Lance Shields

Moving to the big kid bed is a big step for little people -- it doesn't matter if you co-slept or opted for the crib early on.

So how do you know when it's time to make the move? We asked the experts.

The optimal range is between 18 months and 3 years. "The general consensus is that when a child is crawling out of their crib, or when they hit about 3 feet tall, they are ready for a toddler bed," says Leslie Barakat M.D., a pediatrician with Cigna Medical Group in Phoenix, Arizona.

A smaller version of a twin bed that's usually lower to the ground and has rails, the toddler bed is just one step on the path to their "forever bed." Dr. Barakat says most kids will have outgrown the toddler bed by age 5 or when they hit 50 pounds.

As for bunk beds, hold off until they're at least 6, and keep rails on the top bunk. 

We moved our daughter into a toddler bed (actually converted her crib) well before 3 -- in fact, I called my husband at work the day she climbed out of the crib on her own and told him to prepare to help me make the change that night. I was afraid she'd get hurt.

Skipping the toddler bed seems to be a growing trend too. My friend Ben from Pennsylvania said his kids -- ages 18 months and just shy of 3 -- went straight into twin beds. The same goes for an old high school classmate from North Carolina; Dara moved her daughter into a regular bed at 2 years and 2 months.

When did your kids make the move?

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