How to Choose the Right
Big-Kid Bed

Your baby isn’t a baby anymore, and the time has come to move up to a big-kid bed. The moment is a little bittersweet, but it’s hard not to be excited when you see how thrilled your child is to feel more grown up. You may be apprehensive about the process, and your child may be a bit uncertain too, but one smart way to make the transition easy is to choose the right bed. With so many options out there, Pottery Barn Kids is here to offer a little help narrowing it down and deciding what works for your family.

How to Choose the Right Big-Kid Bed

Above everything else, you want a bed that is safe, comfortable and supportive of your child’s growing body. Kids typically move from their cribs to big-kid beds at between 18 and 36 months old, which means you want something that your child can grow into, or you may find yourself buying a new bed every couple of years. Of course, you need to choose the size, style of bed and type of mattress and box springs. You may even want to ask your child for her input; after all, she’s the one sleeping on the bed for years to come.

So, where do you start? Begin by choosing a size. Twin is probably the most common mattress size for kids who are just transitioning into their big-kid beds. If your nursery or bedroom is big enough, full or queen size is a good option too, especially if you like to spend some time cuddling or reading books together before bed. The bigger sizes will also be more comfortable as your child gets older, and if your little one is an active sleeper, full and queen sizes provide her more room to move and stretch.

Many doctors also suggest that you choose a firmer mattress for a child’s first bed because it will support her bones as she grows. While higher prices do not always equal quality, the least-expensive mattresses tend to be the least supportive. Also, be sure to buy your mattress before you actually buy the bed or frame. It may seem counterintuitive, but the mattress is far more important when it comes to ensuring your child gets plenty of sleep. When it comes to other mattress options, such as coil springs or memory foam, the choice is entirely yours. If your child is old enough to understand what these choices mean, consider taking her to a mattress store to get an idea of what’s the most comfortable.

Instead of going straight for the big-kid bed, you may opt to use a toddler bed at first. These beds are fun, affordable, low to the ground and typically have a low weight limit. If you do choose one, it’s not usually a long-term solution. Keep in mind, though, that some cribs actually convert into toddler beds, which is ideal for the transition time before a big-kid bed is necessary.

If you go with a twin bed, your child can sleep in it longer and you can buy them in a variety of styles, ranging from a sleek metal bed frame to a fun bunk bed. Just make sure you choose something that’s not too high off the ground for your child to climb onto. You may consider adding portable safety rails for the first few months or even years to prevent her from rolling out of bed. Safety rails are typically available in mesh, steel and wood.

Once you have your bed, the next step is getting your child excited to sleep in it. Here are a few tips for making the transition easier:

  • If your child is old enough, have her help you buy bedding or sheets featuring favorite characters.
  • Buy a new stuffed animal to sleep with and some fun big-kid pajamas.
  • Stay with your usual routine. If you typically read or have a bath before bed, keep it up.
  • Make the bed cozy with pillows, blankets and stuffed animals.
  • Get excited about it. If your child feels like you’re apprehensive about her first night in the big-kid bed, it may start to feel like a big deal and something to get nervous about.
  • Avoid making the switch during other major life events, such as moving, potty training or within a month or so of expecting a new baby in the house.