Relax, It’s Just a Crib!


I have heard it all, every reason there is to move your child to a big kid bed. The new baby will need it, we don’t want to spend the money on another crib, it’s just time, we have to give the crib back, he seems to want a big boy bed but he won’t stay in it!

I am writing this for all of you, that for one reason or another, are fighting the crib. I hereby grant you permission to KEEP THE CRIB! The crib is not a cage, a baby prison, nor is moving out of one a significant milestone. The crib is where your child sleeps, and probably, sleeps well. Sleep is finally going well, and time and time again, I see parents try and mess with it. People justify moving kids out of their cribs all the time for reasons that are far less important than sleep. So again, I give you permission to KEEP THE CRIB. I give you permission to spend the $100.00 dollars on another crib if you have a new baby coming. I give you permission to keep the crib up once you buy a big kid bed. I give you permission to keep a crib AND a bed in your child’s room for a good six months (or until your child has been consistently sleeping in a bed for at least two months.) If your child has been sleeping in a bed but simply WON’T stay in it, I give you permission to PUT THE CRIB BACK UP. If he stays in it at night but not for naps, I STILL give you permission to PUT THE CRIB BACK UP. He’s not ready for his big kid bed just yet.

You see, his crib has been his home for a long time. At one point he was in it for 15-18 hours a day sleeping. It smells like him, and it smells like you, it’s cozy and warm and safe. He doesn’t have to worry about falling out, or getting out, he knows you will come. He doesn’t have to open the door to check who is there or what that noise is, he knows you will do it. His crib allows him to sleep, it affords him the right to just relax and fall off to sleep.  There is nothing to worry about at all in his safe little spot.

When you do move him from his crib, it’s a big deal. He’s spent a lot of time there, so please; let him go slow with this crib business. Put the big kid bed in his room for a while; let him look at it, let him jump on it, let him have stories and playtimes there. Let him try to sleep there if he wants to, let him try it for a few minutes and if he changes his mind, let him go back in his crib. Really, it’s ok because I assure you, if you push a child into a big bed before they are ready, it will be a problem, a power struggle and loss of a lot of sleep for everyone.

Especially, hear me now, ESPECIALLY if you have a new baby coming, don’t put your child in a big kid bed unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is ready. This is a huge change for a little child that is about to deal with an even bigger change. Please let him keep his safe place. He may not look at a bed as a reward for getting bigger; he may see it as losing his special place. So please, follow his lead on this one. I promise, everyone will be happier for it, and no one will go off to college without learning how to sleep in their big kid bed.



24 thoughts on “Relax, It’s Just a Crib!

  1. Such good advice. We didn’t do the transition well with our eldest. After he fell out of his cot in the middle of the night we panicked and rushed the transition. Looking back we should have trusted him more. We had been letting him climb into it with the side dropped (we r still allowed drop side cots here thank goodness) then with the side raised he couldn’t climb out comfortably. One night he did it in his sleep – he said he was dreaming he was climbing in to bed. He probably wouldn’t have done it again having dine it once, but we got scared

    What I do think we did right though was going to a mattress on the floor rather than on a bed frame. That way he let us know when he was ready for his bed to have legs and falling out was never an issue and he never never needed rails

    This time around, with our youngest, we will take the above approach

    • Yes, I don’t address climbers in this, as that’s another post completely. My son has a platform bed so falling out of there hasn’t been an issue either. He was in his crib until almost 4! He loved his crib and went back and forth for several months. Change is hard for some kids.

  2. Great post. This does seem like one of those things people like to rush. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the cribs that convert to toddler beds.

    • Hi Mindy!
      I’d just go slow. Have him “help” you take off or drop a side, let him have it like that for a while then convert it more. This way he gets to keep his bed it just looks a little different but feels and smells the same. I wouldn’t overly prep him for it or make a huge deal about it. No need to plant ideas that aren’t there. 😉

  3. Why even do a crib. Have them sleep on a twin mattress from the start like the Montessori way. I did it twice and I never had a problem transitioning them to another bed. The best part was that I could do side-lying nursing and I would transition myself out of the bed instead trying to lay them back down in their bed like a ticking time bomb.

    • Well for one I didn’t know about Montessori or RIE until my youngest was born, but my oldest was an EXTREMELY sensitive sleeper. He could never settle even in bed with me very well. He would not allow any foreign object of any kind in his crib including blankets, toys or books. He would get very
      Upset at the suggestion he just liked his own space and does to this day. I’ve also tried having my daughter sleep other places and even at 18 mos she’d try it bad after 5 mins say back to my bed. So cribs were my way. My kids like physical security and boundaries. It makes them feel
      secure I guess, maybe the open space and the freedom was too much for them to be able to
      settle well. I don’t disagree that other kids would do fine in other situations at all. I’ve learned that kids preferences can be VERY different, that’s why we observe carefully. This is in no way insinuating that people who’s kids did fine on floor beds or co-sleeping did anything the wrong way at all.

  4. But I agree with your post if you do a crib. There is no rush. Relax and give yourself a break, they won’t be going to college in a crib.

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I had been beating myself up about moving my three year old back into his crib after the transition to toddler bed did not go well. I went out at night and secretly bought a second crib for the baby and moved him back into his old crib. He went back to sleeping through the night and going down easily, from three months of completely horrible bedtimes. 6 months later, his toddler bed is still in his room, and he has never asked to sleep in it. He’ll likely outgrow his crib and move right into a full size bed, this time whenever he’s ready for it!

  6. My daughter, almost 3, has shown no interest in moving out of her crib. Her crib converts to a toddler bed, but she does not seem discontent with the crib. Like you’ve written, it’s her safe, cosy place.

    What are some signs that she will eventually be ready to move from the crib to a toddler bed? She’s not a climber.

    Kelly, I used that line the other day when my mother in law asked when I was going to move her out of the crib. I said, “I am in no rush and neither is she. We will when she’s ready. She won’t go to college sleeping in a cot.” 😉 She then asked how will I know she is ready?

    • You will know she is ready when she asks for a bed. Literally. You can tell her she can do it when she is ready so she knows it is an option and she will tel you.

  7. Cribs have always been a hit and miss with my kids, one day they loved them and wanted to sleep in them the next night, no way were they going to stay in there. My daughter (now 4) never liked her crib and it was a struggle to transition her from nursing to sleep in my arms to putting her down in the crib. We had guests over for a few weeks and changed her room into a guest room for them while they were there, complete with a double bed. Once they left, the bed was still in there so I started to put her for naps in it and then slowly to bed in it. She was about nine months when we started doing this. The crib was still in her room because there were times when I needed her to sleep in there and times when she would. By the time I changed the crib do the daybed setting she had no interest in sleeping there and only used it for her dolls. So the transition to a big bed was easy because she got to sleep with mom in that big bed sometimes.

    With my son (20mths), he liked the crib but was very active and at 12 months I figured if he really put the effort in, he could climb out on his own. My Daughter got a new bed (they share a room) and instead of taking out her old one I left it in there and let him play on it, pretend sleep on it, and like before nights when he wouldn’t fall asleep without knowing I was there, I slept with him, until he was out. He transitioned completely to the big bed at 16 months and then I took the crib out.

    I didn’t force anything, I didn’t worry too much about where they slept as long as they felt safe and comfortable sleeping where they chose to.

    As parents we often get caught up in the old ‘milestones’ and the ‘you’re baby should be doing this by than’ advice. But somewhere along the line we forgot to trust ourselves and our kids. So don’t sweat the small stuff, like where they sleep, because the most important part of sleeping is that they DO IT, safely, comfortably, and peacefully. In a crib or in a bed, as long as they are sleeping, who cares what so-and-so says about what they should be doing. You KNOW what they CAN do!!!

  8. That’s why I wanted a convertible from the beginning – a 3 stage number that’s a crib, a wee bed (with one side off), and then bits of it become a full size bed for later. My so-close-to 5yo still sleeps in the daybed that was once her crib and when she outgrows that she’ll have a bed with a footboard and headboard that were always hers.

  9. It’s not a huge change if you never put the child in a crib to begin with. I’m an advocate of the Montessori-style mattress-on-the-floor approach; we’ve done with our son (now 22mo) and have had no problems. Best of all, the mattress should last through high school!

  10. The issue for us when we were about to have a second, was whether our first would learn to climb out of his cot in the next six months (he could certainly get his foot up on top of the bar and was showing signs of trying). So although, he wasn’t climbing out yet, we didn’t want to have to deal with moving him to a bed when I was in the last couple of months or pregnancy or when we had a newborn. He certainly wasn’t ready to move to a bed – it took nearly three months before I would say his sleep was totally back to normal, and we had to figure out how to do some things differently. But on the other hand, at least I could deal with it when I was in my second trimester rather than my third or with a new baby.

  11. Both of my kids climbed out before 18 months so we had to make the transition and luckily they did great. I wouldn’t mess with sleep stuff if it is already working–ever. Good advice on the crib situation.

  12. My first son is now 15-months and the second one is due soon. I’m pondering of whether I should get an additional crib for my second baby. What you’ve pointed out gives me the few important things that I should take into consideration but I realized I’ve overlooked them.

  13. I have a question my 2yr old we are transferring him to a big boy bed but he isn’t sleeping hardly at all should I put the crib back up and wait til he climb out or 31/2 or should I just keep up the transfer he was doing sooo good when we started then he got sick and that when e really started fighting it he continued to fit from when he was better to now please help

    • When I transferred mine from a bed to a crib we had both up for some time. Sometimes when he had a hard time staying in bed, I would say “it looks like the bed is too much tonight. We’ll try again tomorrow.” and I would move him to the crib fore the night. We went back and forth for several months and I didn’t move the crib out until he’d been in his bed for two months without needing the crib. The crib may make him feel safe, so yes, I would put it back up. I don’t think most children are capable of staying in a bed until about age 3. Ours loved his crib and stayed til age 4. Our other one was out at 3.

  14. Thank you for your honesty and boldness! I don’t understand the big rush to transition to a toddler bed either. When they are ready they will let you know but if they are not ready it may be traumatic.

  15. Hello Kelly

    When you left the two up in the room at the same time, did you have two different mattresses or move one between the two frames? I’m wondering if I need to buy another mattress…

    • Yes, we had a regular mattress. I think someone was getting rid of their old toddler bed and gave it to us. I think for a while we might have used a blow up mattress. Good luck!

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