Knowing when to transition from a toddler bed to a twin bed isn’t always clear. Learn the typical age range —and the circumstances—that kids switch.
“We definitely won’t be buying two cribs,” I told my husband when we were discussing the upcoming arrival of our twins. Our eldest was three-years-old at the time and had been sleeping in his converted toddler bed since he was two.
“No, we’ll definitely need to switch the toddler bed back into a crib,” my husband agreed.
There was no point in getting yet another convertible crib when the toddler bed could revert back to its former state. But what about our eldest? Would switching from a toddler bed into a twin bed be a smooth transition for him?
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When to transition from a toddler bed to a twin bed
We’ve all faced the dilemma: When should my toddler move to a regular twin bed?
After all, they’ve slept in a small, cozy bed all this time. We avoided potential falls with side rails and a low-to-the-ground height. At what age is a twin bed for, and is my child ready for this big step? we wonder.
Like many milestones and choices we make for our kids, you won’t find a one-age-fits-all rule for sleeping in a twin bed. Some kids sleep in their toddler beds through five-years-old while others were already transitioned at 18 months.
That said, my toddler switched to a twin bed at three-years-old. And after surveying other moms, I learned that that’s about the mid-range for most of us. On average, many kids switch to a twin bed between three- and four-years-old.
But it turns out, it’s not always about age. Many of us transition our kids from toddler to twin beds either because of our circumstances or their developmental growth. Below, I list several reasons that might make you more likely to make that switch:
1. A new baby is on the way
If you’re like me, the decision to switch your child into a regular twin bed happened right around when you were expecting a new baby sibling.
Your child has likely been sleeping in a converted toddler bed and would happily keep doing so. Except the new baby needs a place to sleep too, which makes the idea of converting the bed back into a crib tempting.
Considering that she’ll eventually outgrow the toddler bed, switching it back into a crib can make sense. She also learns that she’s a big girl who gets a big kid bed, while the baby gets the crib. She won’t feel like the baby “stole” her bed when she gets a new one herself.
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2. Your child is uncomfortable in a toddler bed
I kept hearing thuds and smacks as my twins slept in their toddler beds because they’d hit the boards as they moved around at night. It seemed like every time I found them asleep, they were diagonal on the bed, as if maximizing all the space they could get.
Sometimes, you know it’s time to transition from a toddler bed when it’s just gotten too small for your child.
Besides the size of the bed, the crib mattress might be getting too uncomfortable. Many crib and toddler bed mattresses are designed extra-firm for safety’s sake. Not only is your child fast outgrowing the bed’s boundaries, the mattress may not provide the comfort of a good night sleep, either.
3. You’re redoing your child’s room (or moving to a new home)
Now that your older child is growing up, you might be considering redoing her room. From new paint to drilling shelves and even new construction, you start thinking ahead about her future bed. Putting in this much effort around a toddler bed doesn’t make sense as designing it with a twin bed in mind does.
Or maybe you’re moving to a new home, where you’re not inclined to bring the old toddler bed with you. Instead, you have the option of getting a new twin bed, one that fits perfectly into the setup of her new room.
Either way, the twin bed feels like a good choice in this “coming of age” moment for her.
4. The toddler bed is poorly made
Maybe you just converted your child’s crib into a toddler bed and found that the “bed” version isn’t nearly as good as when it was a crib. It doesn’t come with a guardrail. It’s rickety. And all the years spent as a crib left the headboard scraped and the mattress frame cracked.
As hard as it may be to switch her again into a new twin bed, the toddler bed just isn’t cutting it anymore.
5. The toddler bed has a maximum limit
And sometimes, parents simply stick it out with the toddler bed up to the maximum age or height and weight range. For instance, some toddler bed frames recommend using it for kids up to age five or 50 pounds.
Your child sleeps fine in the toddler bed, and you have no other compelling reasons to switch any time soon. But once she has reached those limits, that’s when you know it’s time to find a new twin bed.
Best practices for transitioning to a twin bed
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Now that you’ve decided to ditch the toddler bed in favor of a twin, what are some best practices for a smooth transition?
- Place the mattress on the floor. Worried your child isn’t used to sleeping without bed rails? Start by placing the mattress on the floor for a few days or weeks. She’ll be less likely to fall from a tall height, and she won’t have to struggle with climbing on and off the bed.
- Add a bed rail to the twin bed. Want to go straight to a twin bed? Push it against the wall, and add a bed rail to the other side of the bed. Make sure to get a rail specifically for a twin bed like this (they’re different from those that go on toddler beds).
- Get fun new bedding. You’ll likely need to get new bedding, blankets, and pillows, especially if this is the first twin bed in your house. Grab new ones your child will love and get excited about, so she has another reason to qualm the anxieties she might have.
What other parents say
I surveyed my Facebook page to see when parents decided to transition from a toddler bed to a twin bed, and this is what they said:
“18 months, 13 months, and 14 months. We did floor beds with the second and third so they moved to a twin bed easily early on.”
“Just shy of 3. We actually went from cribs to full size beds for them. We did the memory foam bumpers that go under the sheets. It is also nice that the beds are big enough for when we have to snuggle them to sleep on a bad night or for story time.“
“Funny you ask this! My twins are 4.5 and looking into bunk beds right now! My oldest was about 5 when we bought him his bigger bed. We are very slow at doing things in our house!“
“A little over 2.“
“3.75 years-old. He loves his new big boy bed but he still wants us to sleep in his room with him.”
“About 15 months old. He’d climb out of his crib getting wedged upside down between the crib and wall.”
As you can see, when to transition from a toddler bed to a twin bed isn’t a one-age-fits-all number and more about your particular circumstances.
While most kids can sleep in a twin bed around three or four years old, other factors can help you decide. A new baby might be on the way, your child looks uncomfortable in her toddler bed, or you’re redoing her room (or moving to a new home).
Maybe the toddler bed is poorly made, so you’d like to get a new one to replace it altogether. Or she’s hit the maximum limits of the toddler bed, signaling that it’s time to get a new one.
Making that switch to a twin bed can feel like a momentous milestone for everyone. As for me, it helped me avoid buying two cribs when I could get a twin bed instead.
Get more tips:
- How to End Bedtime Battles and Get Your Child to Finally Sleep
- How to Respond when Your 3 Year Old Won’t Stay in Bed
- Find a 3 Year Old Sleep Schedule That Works
- 7 Proven Strategies to Handle Bedtime Tantrums
- Effective Ways to Handle the 3 Year Old Sleep Regression
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