10 tips to make the transition from toddler room to big kid room a breeze

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This article is sponsored by Crate & Kids. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas. 

Making the transition from a toddler room or nursery to a big kid room can be exciting, but also overwhelming for both parents and kids alike. That said, there are many ways that you can ease the transition, sprinkle in some joy and create a well-designed space that serves your family for years to come. We updated this toddler room into a big kid room with Crate & Kids products and pulled together our top 10 tips for making the transformation go as smoothly as possible.

1. Make a big kid room plan using pain points from the toddler room

When you look at the current state of the room, ask yourself what isn’t working and what are your needs.  For example, maybe their larger picture books don’t fit on their old bookshelf anymore. Maybe there is no designated play area. Maybe you just really need a great place to lay out their outfit choices for the next day! Zero in on solutions to these problems in the redesign. Doing this pre-thinking will allow you to make a plan for the new space that really meets their needs.

2. Select flexible furniture options

Thinking through how an item can change and serve a new purpose as your child grows is going to make life easier down the road. Not to mention, your budget will appreciate it when you don’t have to buy new furniture in just a few short years! Crate & Kids has beautiful and adaptable options that make sense for little ones as well as grown children.

While designing this room, it was instant love with this wall mounted table. Right now, it is perfect for coloring—but big enough to be a useful homework desk or transformed into a vanity when the child is older. Crate & Kids’ Beaumont peg rail is also a super versatile piece. Serving as a standard peg rail, basket holder and even an easel, it offers so much flexibility and function.

3. Think about long-term bed needs

The fire truck or princess castle bed might put a big smile on their face now, but they’re going to outgrow that sooner rather than later. Instead, skip out on the little kid bed and go straight for the “big kid bed.” Yes, that means putting a twin or double bed in their room now. Considering that mattresses have an about 10-year lifespans, this means the bed can easily last them until high school.

You’ll also get the most value for your purchase if you are thoughtful about selecting a high-quality and design-forward piece. We selected the Maverick-designed twin bed that checks all these boxes! It has a soft, padded, beautiful bouclé headboard and looks dreamy with the Koshi Kids Organic Wild Animal quilt. And the removable bed rails give parents peace of mind that the new bed is safe for wiggly sleepers. 

4. Promote independence

For little (but growing) kids, things like reaching the light switch, climbing into bed, choosing a book or reaching for a shirt in their closet might be just out of reach. That’s why adding a step stool to a little kid’s room can make a huge difference in building their independence.

This squared-up steel step stool is light enough to move around, but sturdy enough to climb on. The touch lamps are a kid favorite as well. Turning the light off before bed is no longer met with protests, but with “I’ll do it mom!” Additionally, the Beaumont peg rail is perfect for hanging clothes or capes and fosters independence for little ones to keep their space tidy since it is easy to return things to their proper place. 

5. Choose multipurpose storage solutions

This family had a small and well-loved bookcase that was perfect for baby board books, but a nightmare for large picture books. The Rue bookcases are beautifully shaped, come in three colors to complement any room design and can hold so many books. As a bonus, they can double as cube storage. With two shelves ,we were able to store all of the child’s books in one place and some extra toys in the Blaine white washable cubes on top. These cubes also fit beautifully in the bookshelf. (Tip: We put one on the floor near the bookshelf for library books!)

6. Encourage a love of reading with a cozy space

Creating a comfortable place for you to read to them now and for them to read on their own as they get older is a gift that keeps giving. The Leanne Ford bouclé glider coordinates with the bed we chose, is a great size for snuggling up to read together and stylish enough to be a very cool chair in the child’s room when their snuggling days are scarce.

It is equally important to ensure that your child has access to books. This means using the lower shelves and considering adding a book ledge. The Beaumont book ledge is wonderful to mount by the reading area and fill with accessible and enticing books to help address topics you want to currently talk about.

7. Set clear expectations

A new room is a good opportunity to go over the rules—such as how many books before bed, what is and is not for climbing, which drawers they can access on their own, etc. Setting these clear expectations will also help encourage maintaining a clean and organized space. And don’t forget to ensure that each piece of large furniture is safely secured to the wall. We love that all of the Crate & Kids’ pieces come with its own anti-tip hardware. We were thoughtful about not putting all her furniture in her room until we knew we had time to install the anti-tip hardware on each piece. 

8. Reorganize with your child’s needs in mind

For babies, we store frequently used things up high because the adults are reaching for everything. But, when your child is at an age where you want to give them more responsibility, it’s important to arrange items in a way that allows for this independence. We chose the tall two-tone dresser for this space because it offered great space for clothing and small accessories. We then placed clothes we wanted the child to have access to into the bottom two drawers and using fabric drawer dividers we separated by category. Don’t forget to file fold so that your child can see all of their clothes at once and make their choice for what to wear that much easier.

9. Make the closet accessible

In the closet, all outfits are hung together with a shirt and a pair of pants that match. The most-worn outfits are hung on the lowest rod so a child can easily see them, too. Off-season and fancy clothes can be hung on the top.

We used the small metal stacking bins to categorize and contain items like holiday clothes, clothes to grow into and clothes for specific activities. These bins from Crate & Kids are a great size and can grow and change based on your families’ needs with just a change of label. They’d look attractive and functional in any room and, because they stack, they can also help with unused vertical space.

The most accessible bins on the floor house donations/outgrown clothes, hangers and dress-up clothes. Having a hanger bin is one of our favorite tips. Giving your child a drop spot keeps all hangers ready for when you finally do laundry and need to rehang. Be sure to set this expectation. Labeling the bins makes the system clear for everyone in your house and is just so cute. 

10. Ease your child into the transition

Transitioning from a toddler room or nursery to a big kid room can be scary for some children, but you can help ease the transition in a fun and loving way. Leading up to the transition, you can point out big kid bedrooms in books and shows, read books from the library that cover this topic, make a countdown loop for the big day, talk about what will change and what will stay the same, and answer all the questions they have.

You can also give choices to your child so they can play a role in designing the new space. For example, narrow down bedding options to two choices and let them make the final call. And on the big (first!) night in the new room, allow extra time for bedtime and surprise them with a new book, stuffed animal or pajama set to welcome them to their new space. 

Making this transition is a big change for everyone… It’s the start of a new chapter in your little one’s life! With the right planning, it can be a huge parenting win and an exciting step for your child.