Some child milestones have well-known consequences. Potty training and changing over to solid foods can temporarily make your bundle of joy seem like a pet or a science experiment. Moving to a big kid bed is usually a less painful transition...sometimes.
When and Why
Unlike other transitions that have stricter age markers, moving from the crib to a bed is individual. If the baby is threatening to climb out of the crib, it is time. Usually this is around 35 inches tall or around two years of age. You can keep them in the crib past age two, but understand that their emotional attachments may strengthen greatly to the crib environment in that time. And of course, a close second after the fear of your toddler climbing out of a crib in the middle of the night is the fear that he or she will reject the new bed with a sleep strike.
You have two options: toddler bed or twin bed. Both options have merit.
Toddler beds are a bit more like cribs and may accommodate blankets and bedding from the crib to which the child has become attached (you can also change this bedding pretty fast); however, toddler beds have a very short lifespan. By the time your child is three or four you have to transition to another bed. Then again, they take up less space. If you are intending to use a small nursery or are in an apartment, it may be worth it for now.
Twin beds are a slightly bigger jump from the crib, and they may look silly with the old blanky inside, but they are made to last and you only need to transition once. They do take up some extra floor space compared to toddler beds. You can add rails to the bed depending on the height and how active of a sleeper your child is.
The Budget Friendly Big Kid Bed Solution
The decision is individual. Maybe you want to see your toddler in something that makes you feel like he or she is still almost a baby. Perhaps you feel like they are so emotionally attached to the crib that they need the smaller transition. But, if you are looking for the best return on investment and least hassle, try a twin bed from a quality manufacturer.
A twin mattress is made to endure adult sleepers for 7-10 years. They are tough. There is no disadvantage for a toddler as long as you purchase a bed frame that is low to the ground. If your toddler makes a smooth adjustment to a twin bed, you may not need to update the mattress until he or she is a teen! If your child gets precocious at eight or ten, you can always just get a different bed frame and blankets with fewer cartoon characters on them. If all of this works out, you can save hundreds and know that your child is sleeping on a mattress that they will comfortable on for a long time.