Here’s how to transition twins from cribs to toddler beds without going completely insane.
If the thought of a new bed is stressing you out, just know that getting them in a big kid bed can and will happen! It’s a big deal to move your new “big kids” into a different bed, and it’s important to do it at the right time.
If you’re stressing about it, you can also say with confidence that your toddler twins are probably stressing, too. The first time that you bring it up to them, they might not be happy about it! But if you talk to them about getting into a regular bed, they just might turn around.
I told my sister she was CRAZY to move her 14-month-old firstborn son from his crib to a toddler bed, but he was putting his leg up on the crib rail and she feared he would climb over and fall.
I said that in part because I hadn’t moved over my nearly 2-year-old twins to toddler beds yet. They were still in cribs.
I needed cribs for my sanity and for them to actually sleep at naptime and at through the night.
But, because Karma exists, no sooner did I tell her that, than our twins began climbing in and out of their cribs and into each others’ cribs.
Then one day during nap time, we heard a loud thud during nap time followed by crying (which we were told would happen someday by seasoned moms).
Thankfully, our daughter was fine.
But, because our twins proved they could climb in and out of their cribs, and we also didn’t want them to hurt themselves, my husband and I decided it was time for us to transition our twins to toddler beds, shortly before their second birthday.
The time of crib-dom had passed.
When to Move Twins to a Toddler Beds
Everyone and their grandma has a different point of view on this topic. It’s so individualized to your twins, your preferences, your budgets, space, sanity, and so on.
With twins, it seems most moms lean toward keeping their babies in their cribs as long as humanly possible, because twin toddlers are chaotic, especially at nap and bedtime.
Many twin parents come up with ways of preventing twins from climbing out of their twins, from keeping them in sleep sacks to using crib tents or by dropping the mattress to the floor inside the crib, to prolong when they need to finally transition their babies.
By and large, most twin parents transition twins from cribs to toddler beds when they either start climbing in and out of their cribs or when they turn two to two and a half, whichever comes first.
Some may keep their children in cribs until they are four, or transition them over at only a little more than a year old, even if at that age it is by placing their crib mattress on the floor.
Doesn’t matter to anyone but you and your children though. Do what age works for you all! And, if it goes poorly, you can put the crib rails back on and try again later!
How To Transition Twins to Toddler Bed
With two rambunctious toddlers ready to make the transition, some parents opt into only switching one child.
We took book front rails off our twins’ two convertible cribs, only to put the front back onto one of them, the more wild twin’s crib, a few days later. The calmer twin usually fell asleep quickly at both nap and bedtime, and yet was the one able to climb out of the crib.
Of course, the one not in the crib often then climbs into the others’ crib or supplies the crib-bound twin with endless toys.
After transitioning singleton children to toddler beds years after my twins (my firsts), I readily recognize that twins are much harder to transition to toddler beds than a single toddler. Much harder.
RELATED: No, Really – Parenting Twins is Hard
With a built-in playmate, naps can become non-existent as they ramshackle the room, destroy books, and scream together for fun. For hours.
What works for singletons likely won’t work for twins.
But, what does work with singletons and twins is expectations.
Hype up the transition to a big boy or big girl bed for your child. Tell them it’s a privilege! Let them help you take off the front of the crib, or assemble the toddler bed. Pick out cute new bedding they’ll love or buy them a pillow or new lovey to snuggle.
Then lay down the rules!! This is THE most important part of transition any child to a toddler bed. They need to know that they are expected and required to stay in bed at nap time and bed time!
Along with those expectations come consequences if they break the rule of not getting off their bed during nap and bed time, which is that you’ll put them right back on the bed (even 100 times if needed – which you just might).
You can conversely promise a reward of some kind if they stay on their toddler beds, like a small treat after naptime, or watching a show, or reading a favorite book together.
After wanting to pull my hair out from dealing with chaotic anti-nap twins, a friend gave me excellent advice that we have since used with every single child to get them to take naps.
You can read my post on how to get twins to sleep during nap time without destroying their room for all the details, but essentially it means sitting in their room and putting them back on their beds again and again until they stay still long enough to fall asleep.
We’ve adapted it some with other kids, allowing for a little music to play, or singing to them as they fall asleep, but 5-30 minutes sitting there is a whole lot better than losing your ever-loving-mind every day as they play and destroy for the full two hours of naps instead, or stay up until 10pm instead.
Additional Tips for Switching Twins to Toddler Beds
Depending on your living arrangements and personal preferences, twin parents sometimes get creative with how to deal with non-compliant sleepers once they have freedom calling to them during their scheduled sleep times.
- Put the twins down at staggered nap and bedtimes.
- Have the twins sleep in separate rooms.
- Keep a baby monitor on during nap times, and speak to them to get back into their beds as soon as they get off their toddler beds.
- Install door locks and closet locks as needed.
- Remove EVERYTHING but their beds from their bedrooms (we did that)
- Have them share a bed.
- Install a toddler bed guard rail
- Put their toddler bed into a bed tent and close them in
- Add all their stuffed animals onto their big-kid bed!
- Pump them up and talk to them about their newfound freedom
- Set up a bedtime story ritual that you can do after the big move. This is a great way to help them get used to a full-sized bed or to have a smooth transition
- If you have an older child, have them help make it an easy transition by showing the they’re have a good time
- Pick out comforters that are different colors so that they have their own look
There are many different twin sleeping arrangements you can always try out too, especially as they start growing more and more. If you are thinking about a bunk bed, you’ll want to check out my bunk bed buying guide.
Be sure to check out my other post with more tips on how to get a child to nap until four years or older too!
Transitioning from crib to toddler bed is bittersweet. It means my children are not babies anymore. Babies sleep in cribs. Toddlers sleep in beds. It means they are really growing up.
Be sure to think of any safety features that you may need to add, like bed rails/side rails or things to help with them want to stay in their regular twin bed. The important thing to remember is that a bed transition can happen but you need it to be at the best time.
It’s a big step to make them to a new bed, and all parents of multiples will agree!
I’d love to hear about how your transition to toddler beds with your twins went, how old they were, and how you survived!
Check out there other posts on my website: