Time for a Big Kid Bed


Mom Moments with Carli & Lauren


Carli Blau, LCSW, and Lauren A. Tetenbaum, LMSW, both have 2-year-old daughters who were born within one week of each other in late 2018. Carli’s daughter, J, is Carli’s first child; she will become a big sister in June. Lauren’s daughter, E, is little sister to Lauren’s son, L, who will be 5 in May. Join Carli and Lauren for a chat as they navigate challenges, learn lessons, and support each other as moms.


What’s On Your Mind, Mama?


Carli: I’m in nesting mode now that I’m in my second trimester, and starting to think about how to decorate the baby’s room. Of course, I’m always also thinking about how to prepare J for her little brother’s arrival. I’m wondering if I should give the baby J’s crib and move her into a bed.


Lauren: We waited a while to move L into a bed, until he asked for it at around 3½. We felt like the crib helped confine him and emphasize that it was time for sleep. He was always a negotiator about bedtime, but he never climbed out the way a kid can from a bed. So we were planning on waiting with E, too – but she just climbed out of her crib during naptime! She even opened her bedroom door and started walking out to look for me.


The Tough Stuff


Carli: Oh no! Was she okay?


Lauren: Thankfully she didn’t get hurt, and I think she surprised herself by getting over the railing. But it was scary!


Carli: Maybe you could lower the mattress or turn the crib around if the railing heights are different.


Lauren: Great ideas. We’re also considering putting her back in a sleep-sack, which she used to wear but we replaced with a real blanket a few months ago once we felt it was safe.


Carli: Has she tried climbing out before?


Lauren: Never. We usually snuggle, read books, and sing songs before she goes to sleep, and she seems to enjoy getting into her crib. But she was having a rough morning and in my mind, was clearly exhausted. She also kept asking for her dad and he wasn’t around, so I sort of rushed the routine and just put her in, even though I could tell she didn’t feel ready.


Carli: Maybe this was just one time, then. At this age, we know their impulse control is not well developed, so she must have just acted based on what she wanted in that exact moment – and hopefully the circumstances won’t be similar enough on other days such that she’d do it again.


Lauren: Hopefully! It’s funny because my gut was to keep her in the crib for a while and I had even mentioned that literally the day before she climbed out! So I’m realizing that I need to really pay more attention to her needs rather than just follow my past experience with my other child. But still, I think a crib would be safer (as long as she doesn’t try to get out again!). Either way, we obviously don’t want her walking around unattended in the middle of the night.


Carli: I worry about that with J in a bed, too. She is very independent, and I think she might feel like she has more freedom in a bed. So she may want to explore.


Lauren: Has she expressed interest in a bed?


Carli: Not yet. I do think she could handle a big kid bed, though. And I think the idea of it excited me, because in a lot of ways she’ll become a “big girl” when she becomes a big sister.


What My Toddler is Teaching Me


Lauren: That makes sense. But, maybe you could wait it out, until she is really ready?


Carli: Yes, as we’re talking, I think more and more that we should wait, at least a little a bit. We can borrow a crib or get a mini-crib so that both kids have cribs, if that is where we are at when the baby comes. I don’t want to push J into a big change especially when there will be so many other big changes going on! And just because I might be ready for this transition, she may not be.


Lauren: And I have to think about whether E was telling me she was really unhappy in the crib in that moment, or if she’s actually outgrowing the crib.


Carli: I like your reflection, but don’t beat yourself up for thinking the crib was the right move. You didn’t know or expect she’d climb out!


Lauren: Definitely. Next time though, I’ll take more time to do our sleep routine and help her relax. This time I rushed because I myself was feeling frustrated. A few deep breaths always help us both!