Crib to Toddler Bed - Easing the Transition

I’m not sure which is more terrifying: the day you bring the baby home from the hospital or the day you move that now-not-so-baby to a big kid bed.

Is it the new found freedom of a tiny human?
The terror and unknown of what they might do in their room?
Or the potential for sleepless nights… and who wants those again?

TRUST ME FRIENDS. It doesn’t have to be thatscary. It can go smoothly. It can be a piece of cake. It can be a total walk in the park.

 

1. Get the Toddler Bed Ready

One of the things I wanted to splurge on was a crib that transitioned into a toddler bed, and I am so glad that I did! It made the transition a lot easier since he didn't have to switch beds. All we had to do was move the crib around a little and take out part of the section on the crib! 

2. Make Sure the Room is “Mobile Toddler” Ready

Your toddler is going to get out of bed.
Your toddler is going to play in their room.
Your toddler is going to have a mini toddler party in there.

What should you do? Get the room ready.

  • Strap all dressers and bookshelves to the wall.
  • Remove all highly distractible toys (for us, this was the activity table and loose kitchen food).
  • Take out any toys that might they need your help with (think getting on and off a rocking horse)
  • Get the potential dangers out of there, like low sitting table lamps and random cords.
  • Do the world’s greatest job “baby proofing” the area.

3. Child Proof the Door

This may be a tad controversial, but hear me out: We child proof the door and lock the kids in. Why? Because they are 18 months old and that’s way too little to be wandering around the house at night.

I look at it this way: they’re used to being trapped in a crib so being trapped in a room is already a huge step up – it’s also about enough independence to bite off in one day, in my humble opinion.

PLUS, this sets you up for success in training them to stay in their room and not wandering down the hall at 5:15 am to say “Happy Saturday”.

4. Start the Transition With Nap Time

We started all our kid bed transitions at nap time instead of bedtime. Naps are heavenly, of course, but not as critical as a full night of sleep – to all parties involved. It’s a low commitment/low impact time to start.

My best advice: keep repeating the same phrase: “Stay in bed and fall asleep” as you kiss them good night and shut the door.

This won’t probably work at all, but it’ll make you feel better.

The truth is: they are going to get out of bed.They are going to play in their room. They may stand at the door and cry. That’s the reality. This is new and a little scary. This is something they have to learn to handle.

5. Don’t cave. Let them work it out.

Your toddler just earned a ton of new freedom. Don’t freak out as you watch this unfold. Embrace it. Let them explore. Let them figure out what to do with the freedom. Let them get the lay of the land.

Odds are, they will fall asleep…eventually. Or they may skip a nap or two. Just make peace with that fact now.

6. Start Bedtime Earlier

This was the best advice I got before we started transitioning. Factor in a little play time at night. If 7:30 pm is the normal bedtime, plan to get them into the new bed by 7. This might last for a while, but eventually, the novelty will wear off and they’ll fall asleep without having a bedtime party.

They are going to play in their room.

But like every other phase, they will grow out of it. Took my son about a month to stop partying. Every kid is going to be different.

7. Set Up Boundaries and Enforce Them

This is the hard stuff in parenting. I can’t tell you what your boundaries around bedtime will be, but whatever you pick: honor and own that.

Lay down the boundaries ahead of time. Just because they now sleep in a bed doesn’t mean you need to change how you’ve always parented them at night and bed time. What has worked for you in the past can keep working for you now.

 

Have you made the switch yet?

What are some of your tips?

Thanks so much for reading,

Kate

 

 



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