When you’re expecting baby number 2, you are probably experiencing a mixed bag of emotions. You’re excited to add to your family, but how will the new baby impact your relationship with your first? One of the most tangible changes for many families is moving baby #1 out of the crib into a “big kid bed.”
Where do you start? It’s a good idea to think first about your goals with this new bed. Are you looking for something that will serve your child into adolescence, or would you be happy purchasing another bed in a few years? Your child’s age and safety are also imperative to consider. Let’s review the options and the positives and negatives to each.
Top Picks for Moving Your Toddler to a Big Kid Bed
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- Thematic toddler bed. This bed is perfect for a kiddo who LOVES a certain theme (trains, Disney’s Cars,). There is quite a range of prices here, but one big benefit is that this style bed utilizes a standard crib mattress (which is pretty inexpensive). You’ll only get a couple of years out of this bed (though that timing may be perfect for baby 2 to move into it!).
- Traditional toddler bed. If your toddler has a variety of preferences that change from one day to the next, stick with a traditional toddler bed. This option is still relatively cost-effective and uses a crib mattress. It’s low to the ground with rails to keep your little one in bed if they move a lot while sleeping. Expect a weight limit for these beds; if your child is getting close to the limit (which may happen by age 4 or 5), spend your money on something else.
- Extendable bed. IKEA offers two fun bed options that grow with your child – the Busunge is $199 or the Sundvik is $169. They start out at a toddler bed size, and then you can extend it twice to end up as a twin-size bed. The extendable mattress is $69 and comes with two pieces to add in as the bed expands.
- Twin bed. If your child doesn’t move too much while sleeping, you might want to go with a twin bed. This will probably be the right bed for your child at least through middle school, if not longer, so it is a good investment. If you are concerned your child will fall out of the bed, you can always put the box spring and mattress on the floor (removing the bed frame) to make it lower to the ground. If your child is shorter, you may also want to get a small step to make getting into and out of the bed simple.
- Bunk bed. Do you anticipate that your child will have a big problem being displaced? If you won’t be too anxious (full disclosure – I’d spend all night terrified my kids would fall), she will probably love a bunk bed. With a bunk bed, she gets to pick which bed she wants to sleep in each night, and that freedom to choose will go a long way with the emotions she will feel with the new baby. Bunk beds typically aren’t cheap, plus you’ll need to buy two mattresses, so if you’re looking for something cost-effective, this one isn’t likely your right fit.
- Kids also tend to love loft beds, and you can get creative with how you use and decorate the space under the loft. A reading nook? An art desk? Your little one will feel like such a big kid with this bed! The price range is pretty broad, but a loft will probably cost you less than a bunk bed.
- Double bed. If you are really invested in only buying one more bed for your child, go with a double. You’ll need to buy a new mattress down the road, but this size bed will work well into adulthood. While not inexpensive, you’ll never need to buy another one.
There are many options available, and once you decide which type of bed is right for your child, you may want to involve him in choosing the bed itself. Have him pick out new bedding and maybe even some new room accessories. Getting him excited about his new bed (and room, if he’s moving) will be key to easing the transition.
Have you already transitioned your toddler to a big kid bed? What type of bed did you choose? Share in the comments!
Which bed option solved your bed conundrum? We’d love to hear!
14 thoughts on “The Bed Conundrum: Moving a Toddler Past the Crib”
These are all great choices, my kids always went from crib to a bunk bed. We always skipped the toddler bed phase.
Toddler beds are always fun to shop for. I went with one that was like a race car. Our boys LOVE cars and we got a really good deal for one from a friend.
My firstborn was in a cool cars toddler bed early on ? he loved it ! He was in it from a very young age my second child we haven’t even started yet lol
We moved our 2.5 year old to a new bed a few months into baby 2 making her arrival. We went with an IKEA bed that will transition with him to a loft bed. In the meantime we added one of those safety rails just in case and he’s done well so far. Fingers crossed it continues!
I don’t yet have kiddos of my own but I can imagine it would be a bit tricky to make the switch!
Great tips for different beds and when’s best to move them to each type of bed.
Such great ideas for different beds, and what a time of transition for kiddos. Im a fan of the convertible beds because of their multiple uses.
I just wrote a guess post about this! We used a crib that turned into a toddler bed. It worked pretty well, but them getting out of bed was hard on us at first! I never thought about trying to get a different bed, really wish I would have!
My daughter is all grown, but i know a lot of people buy a crib that can convert into a toddler bed. It makes the transition a little easier.
I am literally in the middle of this now! We were just looking at Lightning McQueen beds last night. I think we are going to go with that. My son is going to go crazy over it.
Nice selection of beds here. I never thought about considering how much a child moves while sleeping when deciding in a bed. Good tip.
I love how complete this post is. I’m making sure I share this with my sister, she’s going to be through this very soon :) thank you for sharing!
My kids are all grown now, but I do remember going through this transition with them. With my older two I used a toddler bed but by the time I transitioned my younger two I decided to forgo the toddler bed and went straight to a twin bed.
Those are GREAT beds! I’d kinda like a couple of them for myself! ha! :)