These must-haves ease the transition into a big-kid bed

These must-haves ease the transition into a big-kid bed

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Saying goodbye to the crib is a trying transition for children and parents. I felt the pang as we said goodbye to what felt like the last part of the baby stage. And though my son was mostly excited for the change, he was also a little scared.

It's important to remember that while your child may physically be ready to kiss that crib goodbye, the emotional adjustment can take a bit longer. That's why its important to ensure the room is not only safe, but comfortable as well.

We just made this transition in our home, and after a lot of trial, error and Amazon orders, we found some great items that helped.

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  • Bed bumpers

    Many cribs transition into a toddler bed with rails, but if your child is moving directly into a bed you'll want to add protection so they can’t fall out in the middle of the night.

    Instead of bed rails, I went with these hypoallergenic, BPA- and chemical-free foam bed bumpers. They fit under the sheets and are encased in waterproof gripping covers they don’t move around. They're low enough for children to climb over if they need to get out, but big enough to keep them from rolling out by accident. What's more, on the nights my son crawls into our bed we surround him with the bumpers to keep his legs from making contact with our faces. Or kidneys.

  • Night light

    We've tried more nightlights than I can count, and something was not quite right with each one. Until we found the Gleam Portable Light by Boon.

    I've been using Boon products since my son was a newborn, and everything the brand makes seems to be perfect — this light included. It's a dual-ended wand that rests on a base to project a LED light pattern on the walls or ceilings that my son calls "all the lights and stars in the world." It's soothing, but not bright enough to keep him awake, and has a sleep timer.

    My son's favorite part: it becomes a flashlight when removed from the base. He uses it to check for monsters, and light his way on the nights he needs to sleep with mom and dad.

  • Door alarm

    My sleep coach, who helped with this transition, gave us a great piece of advice: Once your child leaves the safety of the crib you need to treat the entire room as a crib. It should be safe, and should keep your child inside. Baby gates are an option, but my son likes to sleep with his door closed. Enter the game-changing (and cute!) Toddlermonitor.

    It hangs on his bedroom knob and connects to an app that alerts us if he leaves the room. My son calls it his "monster alarm," and has decided it will protect him from any monsters that make their way to his bedroom; for my husband and I, it's solid peace of mind. This has been one of the best products we've used through this transition.

  • Bedding

    Saying goodbye to my son's crib opened us up to new bedding options, which was both exciting and sad. He’d really come to love his whimsical crib sheets from Rookie Humans and cried when he realized he wouldn’t be sleeping on them anymore.

    The stars must have aligned, because the brand launched a line of toddler and big kid bedding right on time for our switch. My son loves the consistency, I love how soft these sheets are, and how they haven't faded despite years of washing. I actually wrote the company and asked if they plan to make bigger sizes, because I would love a set for my bed (they said maybe one day!).

    Available at

  • Another bedding set we have our eye on is from Snurk Living. The line from Snurk (Dutch for snore), includes sets of duvet covers and matching pillowcases that make bedtime fun for little ones because they can transform into their favorite characters or animals. Oprah even named the brand as one of her "favorite things."

    My son has personally requested that Santa Claus bring him the shark duvet, because he said that shark will keep him safe at night.

  • Voice messages

    Like many kids, my son is an expert at bedtime stalling He suddenly needs to clean his room, and has even requested a snack of broccoli. His latest tactic: pleading with us to say goodnight to his grandparents. We tried phone calls, but he’d just get silly and worked up, and playing him voice memos from our phones had us running in and out of his room.

    After searching for something to solve the problem I was pleasantly surprised to find the WavHello SoundBub. In fact, if I had bought this when he was an infant it would have carried us through many years because it works as a portable sound machine and has a VoiceShare mobile app feature that can play your own music or voice messages.

    We play nightly gentle "go to bed" reminders from Grandma and Grandpa. We also use the SoundBub when my husband is out of town on business trips.

  • OK-to-wake clock

    My son still abides by the idea that dark means sleep and sun means it's time to wake up — even if that happens to be around 5:30 a.m. We solved the problem with an OK-to-wake clock, which shines a light or makes a sound when it's time to get up.

    Our choice: Hatch Baby Rest, an all-in-one nightlight, sound machine, and wake-up clock that can be programmed using buttons on the base, or an app on your phone. It comes preset with sound and color combinations recommended by sleep experts, or you can choose your own color and sound. We then have it programmed to turn green and play soothing bird sounds when it's time to get up.

    If you don't like the plain-and-simple light, you can buy designer covers to complement your child's room design.

  • Room decor

    After we let my son select new bedding we realized his room needed a bit of an upgrade to transition from the nursery it was to the bedroom it was becoming. A set of removable Paw Patrol wall decals catered to his current obsession, and we let him pick out a new rug from Kroma Carpets, my favorite line because they look great and are machine-washable.

    These faux sheepskin clouds are soft underfoot, and perfect for a nighttime theme that encourages sleep.

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