Watching your baby grow up is an exhilarating experience. As they develop an individual personality and cross through each milestone it feels like time is moving faster and faster. Suddenly, your baby isn’t a baby anymore (although, they’re always still a baby in parents eyes aren’t they?) and having a nursery doesn’t quite make sense. It’s natural to feel a bit sad when you start moving out the crib or packing up some of your child’s favorite toys, it can feel like things are moving too fast and you just want to slow time down a bit. There are lots of ways to preserve your favorite aspects of the nursery while still updating it to match the needs of your growing child.

The Big-Kid Bed

It’s pretty clear when your toddler is ready to move from a crib to a bed, sometimes they tell you straight out, sometimes they make a break for it and show up in your bedroom proud of their escape. So when it’s time to make the shift, there a few things to consider:

  • Safety
    • Twin bed frames should be low to the ground and either have guard rails starting at the head of the bed, or you can get a toddler bed, which usually still accommodate a twin mattress so you won’t have to repurchase in a few years, while being almost directly on the floor with a plastic frame (think racecar frame, for example)
  • Simplicity
    • Kids can be fickle as parents know. Something the love on Tuesday may be hated on Friday. So, before spending a ton of money on an ornate or character specific bedframe, opt for a neutral wooden or metal frame and use sheets and pillowcases to add personality to the room.
  • Money Savers
    • I usually recommend a twin bed with a convertible frame (removable guard rail) when considering the financial cost of continually updating your child’s bed.

Repurposing What You Already Have

  • Converting the Changing Table
    • Chances are once your child is ready for a big kid bed they are likely no longer needing a changing table at all, or changing can take place on the bed or floor. Given their growing tactile awareness, children at this stage are also more inclined to pick out their own outfits and try arranging their rooms.
    • Depending on the type of changing table you have, move your child’s clothes into the lower drawers so that they can access them easily. Moving the changing station from the top of the table opens up space to create a small library which adds a bit of polish to the room.
  • Box Framing
    • I’m a big fan of this aesthetic. And all it requires is grabbing a few box frames at your local Michael’s or another craft store. Take two or three of your child’s favorite toys (maybe a WubbaNub or Lovey) that they no longer use and set them in the box frame. Mount the frames in a straight line on the wall. That’s it! You have made an update to the room while also commemorating a milestone.
  • Crib to Floor Bedding
    • Don’t get rid of this just yet! Just because you’re no longer using the crib doesn’t mean the bedding needs to go. Having a cuddly space on the floor for kids to read or play is a great way to get them comfortable in their new room. Meanwhile, simply swapping out a new cover on the mattress in your crib and adding a few additional pillows can build out the new look of the room for a fraction of the cost of adding furniture.

Getting Your Child Involved

We moved a lot when I was a kid and, in order to help with the transition my mom made the deal that we could choose the paint color for our new bedrooms. For those of us sharing a room, we would come to an agreement on the room color or I would just do what my older sister wanted. There is a lot of change as your child gets older, and while they don’t necessarily have the language to describe the upheaval, it can add a lot of stress. One way to help manage it is to get them involved in the redecorating process.

  • Color Change
    • I still think this was a genius move on my mom’s part. While setting out a thousand paint swatches isn’t a tenable option, giving them a choice of three (parent approved) colors to update their room is a visual representation of change but also a change that they had command over.
  • Slow and Steady
    • Updating a nursery shouldn’t have a home makeover reveal. Remember, your child is excited about new things until they’re overwhelmed by them. Once you know that the bed needs an update, start introducing the idea of a “Big Kid Room” and see how your child responds.