Making the Bed Transition

Hello, I’m Meredith and this is my first post on HDYDI. My twins, Elizabeth and David, are 16 months old. I consider myself quite the Twin Momma (capital TM) and have all the shirts and coffee mugs to show it off. When it comes to my kids though, I acknowledge I have two very different children that happen to have been born at the same time.

I am a major planner and the thing that has been on my mind lately is planning the kids’ transition out of the crib and into a bed. I know I am still a little early since they are only 16 months old but as I said, I am a planner. I struggle because I also need to separate their bedrooms. Part of it is that they are boy/girl but the bigger part is that the bedrooms are so small in our house, I do not think I can fit two twin size beds into one room.

The logistic side of me says when they are ready to leave the crib and move to a big bed just move their rooms then. I was thinking we take a weekend where the kids can stay at Grandma’s and my husband and I can play musical rooms. Then the kids can be totally surprised and excited about each having their own room with their own stuff and it will be lots of fun.

Then the motherly side of me kicked in. No longer in the safety of their crib, no longer in a room with their sibling, and poor David will be in a completely different room. I worry that it would be a huge shock to their little bodies and no one will sleep for months (I can’t go through that again!).

So far, the best thing I thought of is when the time comes, still take that weekend, play musical rooms but keep one crib in each room. That way each room will contain one twin size bed and one crib. My hope is that that will let them deal with the transition of being apart and get used to their new rooms while still having the comfort (and confinement) of their cribs. Let them be in that arrangement for a few weeks and then start to use the twin bed.

What did you do to transition your children from the crib to the big bed?
Did you separate their rooms?
How old were they when you made these transitions?

13 thoughts on “Making the Bed Transition

  1. My only advice: WAIT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.

    If they are fine in cribs, leave them there. Much easier for everyone.

    Our transition was a nightmare. I think I wrote about it for HDYDI a super long time ago.

  2. I agree with Laura about going out of cribs. Wait until they’re just about ready to get out on their own.

    We seperated our boy/girl twins at 9 months and I’m not sure they really even noticed. We stayed in cribs until just after their third birthday because we wanted to avoid night time roaming as much as possible. Even then it was partly forced because our daughter started dreaming that her bed was falling.

    I’ve always been big on incremental changes for situations like this. We got rid of cribs and put mattresses on the floor for a week, and then we put the mattresses up on frames.

    They were pretty excited about it and we’ve had very little trouble with it, probably because we waited until they were so old. Sometimes doing while they are gone is good, and sometimes it generates more excitement if they get to ‘help’. I think it depends on the kid’s personality. We also like to talk up these changes for awhile before we actually do it. Then they’re so excited it’s pretty easy. (That worked fairly well for the potty too.)

  3. I second Laura C. WAIT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.

    Like until the first baby tries to crawl out.

    My twin boys were 22 months when the smaller of the boys crawled out of his crib. I already knew my plan, so we put it into action immediately and within a week or so the other baby was climbing out as well. I was glad to have known what we were going to do because it made making the change quicker.

    By keeping them in the same room I would recommend having a video monitor system, so you can see their interactions. We had a lot more pinching, biting, and scratching going on because they were free to wander their room at naptime/bedtime. I also would recommend anchoring every piece of furniture to the wall.

    My boys sleep a lot less since they went to big boy beds from the crib. They would also get every toy, book, and clothes out at every single nap or bedtime. We finally removed all toys, books, and found a bifold closet door lock.

    Good luck!

    The transition may go better for you if you go straight to separate rooms, my boys could not do that because they “need” each other.

  4. I agree, keep them in until you can’t any longer. Nathan got a toddler bed at 25mo only because I refused to have three cribs in the house. He did great on it. Joshua and Beth went to mattresses way too early one night when I was working and my husband thought it would be a great idea … disaster. Transitioning to the real bed form the mattress was seamless. Our kids all share a room, we have a bunk bed for the boys and Beth sleeps on a mattress set next to it, kinda like a trundle. Works great. I don’t believe there’s any reason to have kids have their own rooms until much later, even if they’re b/g.

  5. Ditto on Laura’s advice. If they aren’t constantly climbing out of their cribs, even through crib tents, then KEEP THEM IN THEIR CRIBS. (LauraC’s post can be found here.)

    We waited until 2y10m, at which point we took down the cribs, set up the toddler beds (we got inexpensive ones that use the same mattress as the crib), and separated rooms in a single afternoon. We talked to the kids about it ahead of time and they were super excited, and really had no major problems at all with the transition. Sure, we still had some nap issues, but those were not any different than the issues we were having before switching locales, so I would say that the switch to beds had very little effect at all.

    As a slight aside, they are still quite comfortable in the toddler beds at age 4, I think we’ll get at least another year before there is any need to switch to a twin-sized bed. So if you can find some inexpensive toddler bed frames or buy them gently used from someone, you can put off the bigger expense of new twin-size mattresses for a little while longer.

  6. I agree, keep them in cribs until you can’t anymore! I finally put my b/g twins into twin beds just past 3 when it became clear that both could finally get out of the cribs. That was several months ago, and I still have to lie on the floor between them for 10 or 15 minutes both at night and at naptime, or they will have a party in their room. For now, the twin mattresses are on the floor while they’re learning to adjust to their “big-kid beds.” (That has the added advantage that the beds’ “footprint” isn’t that large, and I can fit both into the same room. Of course, we also had to take all the nonessential furniture out of the room as well as all the non-stuffed animal toys to keep the kids out of trouble since they were no longer contained by their cribs.) We spent a few weeks beforehand talking about how their cousin sleeps in a big girl bed, and mommy and daddy sleep in a big bed, and so on. Then they each got to pick (from a selection I chose) their bedding the day we moved the cribs out. Although their bedding differs, each set has the same green color that’s on the walls somewhere in the pattern, so they coordinate well enough.

    I’m afraid when it comes time to move the mattresses onto actual beds, the beds will then be too big to fit into the same small room, and then I’ll have to give up my home office in order to split them up. So I haven’t rushed to get the mattresses of the floor, LOL.

  7. We took the sides off of our boys’ cribs at 22 months, then moved them to the bottom bunk (a full size bed) at 2 years. They did great–only got out of bed a few times and quickly realized that was out of the question. Now, at 4 1/2 yrs old they sleep on the top bunk (twin size bed) together. Yep, that’s right, they like to stay close. Sometimes little sis sleeps on the bottom bunk too, if baby brother is having trouble sleeping at night in their room. So far, no issues. Eventually, baby brother will move in with big brothers, but I’m happy with keeping him in his crib for at least another year. Who knows how long the big boys will want to share the top bunk, but for now it’s fine.

  8. My experience was that both boy’s were climbing out of their cribs by 17 months. We were moving 2 weeks later so I did the transition to big beds at the same times. They did really well for the most part. The first couple weeks they slept in pack-n-plays next to their new beds but they could climb out of those too.
    The two things that worked the best for me were:
    1. having a baby gate in the bedroom doorway so they could roam around the house
    2. having them nap in separate rooms (which they still do). Going to bed was one thing by trying to get them to nap was a whole different story!!
    Good luck

  9. If they aren’t climbing out of the cribs, leave them in them. Especially once they switch rooms. At least the crib will be a constant amidst the change. I’m thinking that if they see a bed in their room, the curiosity will grow and eventually they might ask to try the big-kid bed on their own. We started with the crib mattress on the floor. Sometimes they made it onto the mattress, sometimes they didn’t. Naptime/bedtime will definitely change once they aren’t confined to the crib. You may have to remove almost everything from the room excpet the mattress/bed!

  10. I agree about keeping them in cribs as long as possible. I envisioned a revolving door once they were in beds. My kids were the best sleepers and I just didn’t want to give that up. FINALLY at 2 yrs 9 months my son climbed out of his crib. His sister responded with, “hey, how did you do that?” Within a day we took the sides off of the crib because she wasn’t as agile and I worried about her falling. They slept in their convertible cribs until about a month after their 3rd birthday. At that time we sent them to Grandma’s for the weekend and told them when they came back they would be in separate rooms. We painted and decorated and gave my daughter the full size guest bed that was never used and my son a twin bed. I have to tell you that we did not have an issue with the separation and it was the best decision. They liked being together, but they seem to like having their own space. Sleep isn’t AS good for us anymore, but because they were older I think it went a lot smoother than it might have otherwise.

  11. I’d wait as long as possible. We thought we’d made the transition alright (you can read about it here http://www.hdydi.com/2010/10/sleeping-arrangements-for-twins-%E2%80%93-the-toddler-update/) but we’ve had to go back to playpens for nap time (one in their room and one in ours). The girls still need to nap, but they won’t stay in their beds. They’re generally okay at bed time, but once every week or two we need to separate them and put them in the playpens.

  12. Hi there! I am a senior at Northern Illinois University with a major in English. I am working on a proposal project for my tech writing class. Anyway, here’s the issue: Friends of mine have twin boys at age of 6. I need to come up with a workable bedtime plan for them to get the boys to clean their toys up and be in bed by 8:00pm. They have tried almost everything they can possibly think of, including bribery. Do have any helpful tips?

  13. Kristin, thank you for your interest. My twins are almost 2 now and still in their cribs. However most nights when I put them to bed they actually lay down and go to sleep on their own. I am a firm believer that things work for us because of routine. 7:45 starts our nighttime routine. That is when we all go to the kitchen and get a cup of milk. We then sit in the living room and the twins drink their milk and my son gets his medicine (2 inhalers). We always make a big deal about how they have to give daddy kisses and say “i love you” and then it is up the stairs. Once in their (shared) room, I get their pajamas on and it is story time. Story time is one of the most important aspects of the routine. I lay their snuggle blanks on the floor, each getting their own space, and read a story. I let them pick out the book and I think that helps keep their attention. They also have to pay attention to the story and not pester each other or I stop reading and put them straight to bed. During that story time, they really calm down and usually are laying on the floor by the end of the book. Then I move them to their beds, tuck them, say good night, turn off the light and walk out of the room (usually at 8:15). Even if we had evening events and we are way behind schedule, they still get their story for that calm down time.

    At age 6, I would think they would love to play games. Perhaps start at 7:30 and make a game out of picking up their toys (who can pick up the most, sing a song, have them march around the room while putting the toys away). Every family and every child is different and the parents have to figure out what works best for them. My personal belief is the most important thing to make bedtime go smoothly is routine, routine, routine.

    Good luck with your project and if there is anything else, feel free to contact me or post something here for the HDYDI community to comment on.

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