In every young child’s life comes that dreaded moment when your toddler escapes from his crib and you must consider a new transition: moving your little one from the security of the crib to a toddler bed or a twin bed. Whether you choose a toddler rail on your existing crib, or decide to make the big leap to a twin, you’re likely worried about the toll on your child’s sleep, and your own, that this change will take!
- Pick the right time. Don’t introduce a big-kid bed when a baby has just arrived, you’ve chosen a new daycare, or you’re potty training. Let your child make the transition when he’s feeling calm.
- Let your child participate. Allow her to pick out new sheets or blankets, or maybe a new stuffed animal, so that she can feel like she’s engaged in part of the process.
- Read a book! Before you make the transition, read to your child from a book that explains the move from a crib to a toddler or big kid bed.
- How well does your childproofing hold up? Sure, you may have covered your outlets and secured your cabinets, but when you look at your house through the lens of a child wandering alone in the middle of the night, you may be inspired to put away a few objects, bolt furniture to the wall, or move certain products to higher shelves.
- Keep your bedtime routine intact. Did you read two books and sing a song before bedtime in the past? Don’t change a thing. Kids feel comforted by predictability.
- Consider a clock. If you’re worried that your child will have trouble staying in bed, think about buying a special clock which glows blue when it’s time to stay in bed and turns yellow in the morning when it’s OK to get up! Some parents have found it very useful for restless toddlers.
- Be patient. Yes, your child may get out of bed for a glass of water a half hour after going down to sleep. She may appear at the side of your bed at 3am. Be calm, and simply redirect her back to her bed. You may have to do this several times until she learns that nighttime is for sleeping.
Have you made the big transition from crib to bed? How did it go? What tactics did you find useful?