Expert Interview: Elizabeth Lyons

A few of you have asked us to find an expert to discuss the transition from a crib to a toddler bed, we listened and found you one! Many of you remember Elizabeth Lyons from her previous interviews with us, and today she is sharing advice from her book Ready or Not…There We Go! The REAL Experts’ Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins.



The most important part of the transition, in my experience and opinion (having talked to many, many moms who’ve done it) is the parents’ mental preparation.

The transition will go as it will go, but of course, one can’t know exactly HOW it will go until they’re in the throes of it.

It may go great for a few days and then unravel. It may go horribly for 24 hours and then be fantastic. One child may adjust more quickly than another. If you live in a house like mine, one kid will be most happy to follow the rules — until his brother convinces him that climbing on a bookshelf is a better choice.

Don’t react too strongly to what’s going on — make sure their room is safe, and don’t allow your displeasure over what they may be doing in it to further encourage them to push your buttons!

Also, avoid making the transition when you’re about to set off on vacation, immediately upon returning from vacation, moving to a new home, recovering from illness (you or the kids), or embarking on any other adventure that, in and of itself, will require adjustment by everyone involved.
Here are some of the strategies I share in my book Ready or Not…There We Go! The REAL Experts’ Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins
1. Put the mattresses on the floor first (as opposed to setting up a full bedframe). This gets the kids used to the lack of confinement but ensures that there isn’t far to fall should they roll off the mattress.

2. Don’t be in a hurry to move kids to toddler beds or big-kid beds. The older they are when they do so, the easier it will be for them to follow the rules that go along with it. Parents of multiples are desperate for change — any change! — but holding off as long as possible consistently proves a worthy choice.

3. Most important is for parents remember that this is a transition time and not to have any expectations. When kids get out of their cribs it means one thing to them: FREEDOM! Expect naps to go by the wayside, at least temporarily, while kids play instead. The good news is that when they don’t nap, they can be put down earlier at night. Do not be surprised by what they get into during their “naptime.” Our boys were found one day stuffing the contents of their diapers down their floor vent!

Here’s our question to our parents of older multiples: How did you do your crib to toddler bed transition? And as always if you ever have an idea for us, email it to

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  1. We always had a good night time routine and we kept our boys in the cribs as long as we could. They were around 3 when we moved them out, and only because one was banging on the side and he actually broke a part of the crib.

    We continued the same routine and were very lucky! The boys stayed in their beds until we got them up in the morning. We never had any issues with them roaming around in the night. Our only problem was that we had some bedtime issues as we should have cut their naps out sooner.

    We also have a 2 year old and I plan on leaving her in the crib as looooong as possible! I agree with #2 the older they are the more they understand so I am hoping the transition will go well with her as well (although something tells me she will be more of a challenge! 🙂 )

    If I was going to give advice to anyone it would be. Set a good night time routine first and see what works best for you and your kids.

  2. Yay!! I'm so glad to run into this post about Toddlerhood w/ twins b/c I was going to go to the bookstore and start my research. As for transitioning, we're nowhere near it. I contemplated putting a mattress on the floor since we seperated them in to 2 cribs at 6 months or so, but am glad I have the cribs for each for right now. We have a pretty solid bedtime and hope we can transition it into toddlerhood and w/ toddler beds when we're (they're) ready!

  3. I am so not ready for this but I can tell my boys are getting there. Thanks for starting my mental gear up.

  4. We are in the heart of this now, some days being easier than others. We were forced down the road earlier than we wanted to (26 months) as one twin climbed out and the crib tents didn't help. We implemented a sticker chart, and they earned special adventure with Daddy time. One twin is much better than the other, but we are optimistic that the other can come around, otherwise we'll need to split them up in separate rooms and I'm not ready for that change!

  5. Shannon @ Lifelong Impressions

    I don't post often, but I really must disagree with this on some level. Sure there are some kids who this method will work on. For us, thought, the process and outcome were very different.
    We changed over the cribs to the toddler bed {convertible crib w/the partial rail across the side} several months ago. Our twins are now 21 months old so it was around 18 months. They were allowed to play, climb and jump on the beds for about an hour as he was changing the second one & after. That got their energy out & really let them explore their new territory. For the next few days and nights we sat in their room with them until they went to sleep. Transitioning them away from having us in there hasn't been too hard either. The real benefit has come in the waking up for us. They are happy & content where before they were unhappy criers. Most mornings they play contentedly in their room for at 30-40 minutes before they even want to come out.

    We are so happy we changed over their beds earlier rather then later. We think if you treat your kids like responsible little people they act like it. We enjoy watching them take responsibility for cleaning up their toys, making decisions, playing & learning.

  6. I'm not ready to give up our cribs and my girls seem pretty happy with them for the moment too. My issue right now is travel. They are very tall 2 yr olds and have outgrown pack n plays! I bought the kidco peapod plus tent and I'm going to try it out when I travel. Technically you can zip them up in it, but I don't think that will go over well. I hope vacation can = floor mats/tent and home can = crib for a while! Wish me luck

    Amanda from

  7. Great interview!! I have a long way to go!!Glad to know it's okay to keep them in their cribs!!

  8. Perfect timing! We're trying to figure out what a good age is to transition. We've got 14 m/o twins and have a baby due in August. I think we're laeaning towards keeping them in their cribs and getting another crib for the baby. They aren't climbers (yet) and I really can't imagine them a) out of their cribs before 2…or even 3 and b) taking away their comfort zone right before we bring a new baby into the house. Let's hope they don't start climbing anytime soon!

  9. My twins aren't ready for "Big Girl" beds, but my two older kids transitioned into toddler beds before age 2. We put our eldest in a bed 3 months before child #2 arrived (she was 22 months), and then child #2 figured out how to climb out of the crib at about 21 months. We are waiting to see when the twins will be ready. But we are probably ready for that book about toddler twins. ;o)

  10. I'm definitely in no rush to move my little munchkin!

  11. We were very lucky that our transition from cribs to beds was great! We have always had a very consistent bedtime routine (bath, story, prayer, lights out!) and I think that really helped when it came time to make the switch.

    In regards to age, I don't think there's any magic answer…except to know your kids and know when the time is right for THEM. We opted to leave them in cribs as long as possible…and had to move them once one started JUMPING out! My girls were 2 1/2 when we moved them and it was the perfect age for them.

  12. Alaska Homestead Family

    I agree with Shannon comment #5. My twins are now also 21 months and we switched them to a mattress and boxspring (size full)on the floor at about 18 months. We pretty much did the same routine of staying in with them until they fell asleep wich was also easy for us to put an end too after just a few nights. The only difference was my boys are still sharring a bed and I put the bed in a corner and added a bed rail to keep them from rolling out as they are very active sleepers. It's also nice to have them able to get out of bed and go to the potty when they need to as they are potty trained. My daughter we changed to a toddler bed at 14 months so she could get up to go potty and then to a big bed at 19 months. They do occasionally come out of their room in the morning but it's rare. It's kinda funny though to hear the pitter patter and roll over to a set of little eyes staring up at you. 🙂

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