We recently transitioned our daughter (at 20 months old) from her crib to a floor bed, and I wanted to share our experience, as well as provide some tips for parents looking to make the transition themselves.
We were inspired by Montessori to try and make the switch as early as we felt comfortable, and although we think she was ready earlier, it was best for our schedule to do it right after New Years’ when she had time off school and we had no holiday plans.
Let’s take a look at how we prepared K for the switch…
Preparing For The Transition From Crib To Floor Bed
#1 – Reading A Book About The “Big Bed”
We found a book called “Your Own Big Bed” which talks about the transition from a crib to a big bed.
It’s a beautifully illustrated book that talks about different animals being born and growing and makes the comparison to the little one you are reading the book with. It explains how she is growing and will need to move to her own big bed soon. (My only critique of the book is that it didn’t talk too much about the big bed, but it did the job for us)
We started reading this book about 3 weeks out from the transition, and it quickly became her favorite book.
At the end of the book, we would often ask “Do you want your own big bed?” and she would excitedly say “Yeaaaah!” — so we felt pretty confident she would do well when we made the switch.
Having a book to help talk about the transition into a big bed was great, and I highly recommend finding a book to read to your little one starting a few weeks out from the transition.
#2 – Talking About Transitioning To A Big Bed
This happened naturally as we read the book, but I thought it was important to include it as well (especially for any parents who aren’t able to get their hands on a book about it).
Talking to your little one about transitioning out of the crib into a big bed will help them understand and prepare for the switch – which is much better than just one day surprising them by taking down their crib and having a big bed in its place.
If you think about it, their crib is kind of their “safe place” that they’ve probably grown to naturally feel attached to. It’s a big change for them and it’s a good idea to talk about the switch.
Talk about why they are switching and what the new big bed will allow (I always talked about how I was excited to read her books in her new big bed).
#3 – Show Pictures of The Big Bed
We printed the above picture of her big bed and laminated it (optional) so she could picture what her new big bed is going to look like.
I think this can be a big help so that they can picture what their big bed will look like and they can look forward to having it in their room, and they aren’t surprised the day of the transition.
If you can’t find a picture of the bed you bought, you could just get a picture of a similar-looking or style bed.
#4 – Involving Them In The Transition Process
The last step we took (and tip for making the transition go smoothly) is involving our toddler in the process of buying the mattress, taking down the crib and building the floor bed.
On Black Friday we went to the mattress store to pick out a mattress with her. She got to lay on all of the beds and was having a lot of fun picking out her mattress.
(On a side note, we ended up buying a very thick mattress because it was close to 70% OFF – and weren’t thinking about the mattress height too much. It has worked out fine, but next time we would have opted for a thinner mattress to be closer to the ground!)
When it was time to take down her crib, we took an activity out for her to play with in her room while I took it down so she could watch.
We also had her in the room when we were unpacking all of the pieces for her new big floor bed and talked to her about how daddy was going to build it for her to sleep in. She enjoyed walking on the wood pieces that looked like balance beams 😊.
With some furniture we’ve gotten for her we have built it in front of her (to allow her to appreciate it and the work that goes into it!), but for her floor bed, I decided to build it during her nap.
#5 – Childproofing The Room
I want to create an entirely new post about her room and how we “childproofed” it, but I just wanted to mention that this is an extremely important step to transitioning from a crib to floor bed.
We spent a few weeks leading up to the transition making sure we had everything covered so that the transition would be safe for her even if she was up and wandering around her room while we were sleeping.
Those are the 5 steps we took to prepare for her the transition from crib to a floor bed. So how did it go?
Our Crib To Floor Bed Experience
We had a bit of a unique timeline with our switch from crib to floor bed, as we painted her room at the same time we took down her crib, so we didn’t want to let her sleep in there for 2 nights while the paint fumes were still there.
Because of that, we had two nights where she slept with Momma in the guest bedroom. The first night there she had some struggles staying asleep when she woke up and realized she was sleeping with Momma, but the second night went smoothly.
Now the real test – the first night in the big bed.
We kept her bedtime routine the same as always, except this time we read books together in her bed instead of in the chair we had in her room.
She seemed very comfortable and happy in the big bed reading books, and it seemed like everything was going to go well. At this point, my only fear is that she would be too excited to be able to fall asleep.
After reading the books we did our usual goodnight kiss routine, turned on her sound machine, and left the room.
She ended up rolling around for a little bit (like she often did in her crib), but then fairly quickly fell asleep. In the middle of the night, her legs were half off of the bed so momma went in to re-adjust her to the middle of the bed (more on this later).
Night one was a success!
Next up was nap time, and we knew this might be a bit of a challenge as her room isn’t as dark during the afternoon.
After putting her down for her first nap she decided she wanted to get up and explore her room.
We watched her on her bedroom camera and, after 5 or so minutes went by, we went back into her room to let her know it was nap time and put her back onto her bed. She ended up falling asleep afterward and had a normal length nap.
Night two went smoothly, although momma did have to go into her room in the middle of the night to re-adjust her again. We decided to buy a “bed bumper” that helps prevent toddlers from rolling out of the bed.
The bed bumper ended up being a great purchase as we’ve had no issues with her rolling partially off the bed since we put that under the sheet.
We dealt with some more room wandering during her nap on day 2. This wasn’t too big of an issue as we just let her explore a little bit and then went in to “resettle” her for her nap. Eventually, she went to sleep and all was good.
After those few initial days where it took some time to get her to settle in for her naps everything has gone great.
Overall our transition from the crib to floor bed was a success (and much easier than we had been planning for)!
Tips For Making The Transition To A Floor Bed
- Talk about the transition well in advance
- Read books about big beds
- Show pictures of the new bed they will be sleeping in soon
- Child-proof room (and plan in advance for this)
- Involve them in the process
- A bed bumper is great for preventing rolling off of the bed
My Wrap Up For Crib To Floor Bed Transition
All signs had pointed to K being ready to switch to a floor bed, but we still had a bit of anxiety about the switch (mainly that she would struggle to sleep and our routines would get messed up for a bit). Thankfully, the process ended up going much smoother than we had anticipated.
I don’t think there is a proper age to make the switch, but if you are observing your child you will most likely know when they are ready for this big step.
With our next baby (due in March) we are planning a more traditional Montessori bedroom and will be attempting to skip the crib altogether (we will document that experience her as well), but with our first daughter, we are happy with the route we took.
We are loving the nightly snuggles and book reading in her big bed, and I recommend making the switch when you feel ready for it!
If you have any questions about transitioning from crib to floor bed feel free to ask in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer based on our experience 🙂
What about sleeping bag users? Do you think floor bed is incompatible with sleeping bags? My daughter moves around a lot in her crib so I’m really not sure how a blanket would work for her… but I’d love to try floor bed! (She’s 18 mo)
Hey Chris, unfortunately we don’t have any experience with a sleeping bag. We do use a “sleep sack” with our daughter with the floor bed and it’s working great so far!
Thank you for all the great tips! My son is only 7 months old so it’s a bit early for us to transition but thinking about the transitioning process alone makes me really anxious. This really helps me get some ideas on what, when, and how to do it!
You’re welcome Kim – glad you enjoyed the article
Hello, My son is 16 months and I’ve been looking for a Montessori style bed like the one you posted! I’ve been researching, and can only find Montessori Style House Beds on Etsy. Is there other stores that sell the this style house floor bed? Where did you find yours haha? I know some people make the house beds/ or Teepee beds themselves. I probably could do that and go to Home Depot. But not sure how safe it would be!! Let me know thanks!
Hey Nicole, we purchased ours from CocoVillage.ca!
Hi Ashley, thank you for a great post:) Do you remember by any chance the thickness of the mattress you purchased and the one that you would actually recommend?
Hi Olya, I can’t remember for sure but I believe it was 8 inches. It was only the first few months where it felt too high though, and it wasn’t too long before we took down the side bumper.
Hi I am new to the Montessori method. What signs should I be looking for that my child is ready for a floor bed? They are almost 20 months.
Hey Sarah, glad you found Montessori 🙂 – if you follow the steps above by talking about and reading about big beds and your child seems interested I would say they are ready. Personally I would only be concerned about the switch if they seemed uncomfortable about the idea of a big bed. If you can provide a safe environment, I feel most kids will naturally want to sleep on a floor bed over a crib. Oh, and the parents have to be ready too as it’s a little bit of an adjustment!
Was your child already sleeping soundly through the night before Switching to the floor bed?
Hey Emily, yes she was a good sleep in her crib before we made the change.
Would you happen to know how long the adjustment period from crib to floor bed usually lasts? My son is almost 16 months old and it’s been 2 days with the floor bed and he doesn’t seem too keen on it! Not sure at what point do we throw the towel in on this if he keeps fighting it. But also really hoping he gets use to it soon!
Aw, it is such a big change in their little world. I don’t think there is a set amount of time that it will take and for every child, it will be different. Check out Ashley’s videos from Hapa Family Vlogs on YouTube!
Hi, my kiddo is 11 months old and im thinking of transitioning him to a floor bed. He a great night time sleeper (13 hours a night it’s crazy) but i worry at child care he uses a normal crib… do you have any recommendations or thoughts?
Also i’ve been wanting to change his room around to align better with Montessori but hung up on the storage piece. Where did you store clothes, diapers, shoes, blankets, etc?
Hi Sadie, did you see these two posts:
Those will give you a better look into our girl’s rooms. The floor bed choice is a personal choice so I don’t have much advice other than to read up about it and do what you feel is best for you and your little one!