Transition Your Child out of the Crib

Transition Your Child out of the Crib: Six Tips to Make it Go Smoothly

Is your 18 month-old an escape artist already, piling her stuffed animals on top of one another as a way of climbing right out of her crib? Or maybe your two year-old has spied a cozy toddler bed or big kid bed in one of his sibling’s rooms or at a friend’s house, and now wants one of his own? These are signals that your child is ready to ditch the crib. These six tips will ease this big transition!

  1. Timing, timing, timing. Wait until everything in your child’s, and family’s, life is stable and calm before making this big change. If your child is potty training, starting at a new preschool or daycare, or has a new younger sibling, wait until things settle.
  2. A convertible crib can make things easier. A convertible crib has a removable side that you can take out and replace with a toddler rail. This allows your child the ease of movement in and out of his bed that he needs, but also provides him with the familiar comfort of his beloved crib.
  3. Let your child choose. Go shopping for new bed linens and stuffed animals, and let your child do the choosing. If she opts for a particular sheet set, comforter, and stuffed animal or two for her new bed, she’s more likely to look forward to sleeping in her new environment.
  4. Review your childproofing. While your home may be very thoroughly child-proofed, you may not have childproofed it while keeping in mind the possibility that your child might move around the house at night on his own. Make sure everything in his room, and on the floor his bedroom is on, is safe.
  5. Maintain your bedtime routine. Keeping the bedtime routine intact sends a strong message to your child that even though her bed has changed, bedtime means sleep, just like it always has. Keep on brushing teeth, bathing, and reading to your child in the same order, just as you always do.
  6. Keep exploration to a minimum. Once your child knows that she can leave her room at night, she may wake up and make a direct line for your room at night! Letting her into your bed can be a slippery slope, especially if you don’t want her sleeping with you in the long term. Don’t make snacks, play games, or read books if your child wakes you. Simply bring her back to her bed and remind her that it’s time to stay in bed until morning. Check out Target or Amazon for special kids’ clocks that glow red for “stop” at night and turn green for “go” when morning comes!

Have you transitioned your child to a toddler or a big kid bed? What went well? What went poorly? Let us know in the comments section!

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