How to Make a Twin Bed Work for Your Toddler

Boy sleeping with teddy bear / Getty Images

The day has come. Your soon-to-be “big kid” has outgrown his current digs, and it’s time to make that all-important transition from crib to bed. If you don’t already own a convertible crib, or if you need your convertible crib for a younger sibling, you may be wondering if it’s OK to buy a twin bed for a toddler.

While a toddler bed has its benefits, such as built-in guardrails and a shorter falling distance between your little one and the floor, there’s no reason why you can’t transition your toddler directly into an adult-sized bed.

Working with a tight budget? Skipping this traditional step may be well worth it. Toddler beds can be expensive, with many models costing more than $100. If you’re reserving your current crib for a new arrival, you’ll also need to buy a second, child-sized mattress, doubling the cost. It all adds up.

Sure, the thought of tucking your baby into a big, empty bed may seem daunting, but the obstacles involved are easily overcome. Ready to make the transition? Keep your kiddo safe and comfortable in their extra-big, big-kid bed with these simple tips.

Prevent Falls

If you plan on using an adult-sized bed, you’ll need to install a guardrail. Some twin bed frames already come with removable guards. You can also buy freestanding guardrails, which are held in place by slats or straps anchored under the mattress. Still worried about falls? Try placing the box spring and mattress directly on the floor.

This will make it much easier for your toddler to climb in and out of bed and reduce the chance of injury if they take an unexpected tumble. You can always add the bed frame later once your child gets a little bigger and becomes more accustom to their new sleeping arrangement.

Limit Change

Another way you can make the transition a little easier on your toddler is to let them use their old bedding.

Toddlers are often uncomfortable with change, so it’s a good idea to keep their nursery environment and bedtime routine as familiar as possible. It may be tempting to go out and buy all new, adult-sized bedding to include sheets, a pillow, and a new bedspread, but your child will probably be much more comfortable with just a fitted sheet and their old crib blanket.

Give it Time

Making the big move to big-kid status can be tricky, but as long as your little one is safe and comfortable, the size of the bed shouldn’t really matter. If you find that your child has trouble adjusting, you can always downsize to a toddler bed after the fact. (You’ll need the twin bed eventually anyway). Not sure you’re ready for a bed at all? That’s OK too. For more useful information on how and when to transition your little one to his or her first big-kid bed, check out this helpful list of tear-free tips.