Have you got to the time where you are thinking you need to move your toddler in to a bed? Maybe he climbs out of his crib, or has just got too big. Alternatively you may have another baby on the way, and need the crib for the next baby. Whatever your reason, here are some helpful tips to assist you and your toddler with this milestone event.
Set The Date
Get out your diary, and find a suitable day to make the switch. Bear in mind this may not go as smoothly as you would like, and you may have some interrupted sleep for the first couple of nights. You may want to pick a weekend, or at least not when you have to be up bright and early the next day. You need to be prepared to start this and not look back, so if it isn’t going great, you will need the patience to stick with it.
Don’t do this while other important changes are happening in his life. It is best not to start this whilst potty training, or starting at a new daycare or kindergarten. If you are expecting another child and this is the reason you are moving from the crib, do this is plenty of time, at least a couple of months before you will need the crib again.
Get Your Toddler Involved
Plan this ahead with your toddler, and talk through with them what it will involve. If you can, take them with you when you buy the bed, and let them have a say with their new bed sheets. Maybe get them covers with their favorite characters, or favorite colors. Help him get excited to be doing this, and make him feel grown up.
Your toddler will be able to roam free, unlike when they were in a cot. Will you need a guard rail to stop them falling out of bed? Another option is to put the crib mattress on the floor so they have a soft landing while they are learning to sleep in a bed. Do you need a gate at the top of the stairs? It is possible he will wander around and being sleepy at the top of a staircase is not a great combination. Is there anything in his room you should move out of reach?
When the Big Day Arrives
Put the crib away, and dismantle if possible, and set the bed up in its place, making sure it is as comfortable and appealing as possible. Put his favorite soft toys around the bed, and get him to help with setting up.
Keep to the normal bedtime routine, which is probably bath and story, and then put your toddler in his bed and say goodnight. You may be lucky and find he stays there all night, but it’s unlikely. The chances are he will get up, just because he can! Be firm, say goodnight and put him back in bed. You may find this happens several times in the night, but be consistent and persistent.
The Next Morning
Your day may start earlier than normal now your toddler can get up on his own. Praise him for sleeping in his bed all night, and make a big deal of it. He will hopefully be just as excited to go back the next night. Lots of praise will hopefully help with this, and remind him during the day, so he is ready to do it again.
This may take a few days to master, so stick with it, and praise your toddler whenever possible. You know your child better than anyone, so do what is best for you and him. If for some reason it really isn’t working after a few days, don’t worry. Maybe he is too young, go back to the crib and wait a little while until he is ready. You’ll know if this is the issue.