When your toddler finally throws one leg over the side of her crib and hurls herself over the edge, running to greet you in the middle of the night, you’ll know that another milestone is upon you. Transitioning from an enclosed crib to a toddler rail, toddler bed, or twin, means a big upheaval for you and for your child. But with some careful tactics, the change can be made with minimal sleep disruption.
- Find the right time. If your child is in the middle of potty training, has just welcomed home a new baby, or has moved into a new home, keep everything else in his life as stable as you can, including his bed!
- Allow your child to participate. Your little one may want to pick out new sheets, a new pillow, and maybe a new stuffed animal to take to bed with her. Involve her in the process.
- Consider a book! Reading to your child from a book which explains the ups and downs of the process of transitioning from crib to bed can be a nice way to normalize the idea.
- Reconsider your childproofing. What may have worked when your child was always under your watchful gaze may not hold up when you think about the possibility of your little one wandering the house unattended on a particularly adventurous night. Look at everything in front of you, in each room, and secure or remove anything that could be a hazard.
- Don’t change a thing about bedtime. Just because you’re moving your little one to a new bed, that doesn’t mean that you should turn her world upside down. Whatever strange little routine you and your child have fallen into, from stuffed animal placement to the number of books you read, keep it intact.
- Think about a special clock. A special clock can be yet another tool in your kit. Amazon sells several models which glow one color when it is time to stay in bed, and which turn to a different color when it’s OK to wake up and get out of bed.
- Have patience. On the first few nights, your child may leave her room a few times for an extra hug or a glass of water. You may even find her standing by your bedside at 3am. Be calm, direct her back to bed, and be consistent.
Have you already moved your child into a big kid bed? Let us know what worked for you, and what didn’t work, in the comments section!