I love my kids beds, especially because my husband found them in a neighbors front yard for FREE!! All they needed was a paint job and some 1 x4's for mattress support.
Here is what they looked like before
My first step was to degloss and add a dark gray spray primer
Then I painted in a butterscotch yellow. Rustoleum Sunny-something. I can't remember, but it definitely started with sunny.
I continued by rubbing off some paint with paste wax and sand paper. I think distressing is the best option for 3 year olds as I'm sure they will add to the distressing.
Can you tell that I love gray spray primer for distressing?