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Preparing For The Big Kid Bed

This is such an exciting time for your child!

Your child is moving out of the crib and preparing to move to a big kid bed.  This, of course, means that they now have the freedom to get in and out and in and out of bed.  You might wake up during the night with a sweet little face right in front of your eyes that will scare the heck out of you. So, how do you prepare your child for the BIG KID BED? 

Your little one will soon realize they have freedom.  It won’t take long to figure out that they can get up and play with a toy, visit mom and dad, or go into the kitchen and find a little snack.  So now, as if you didn’t have enough to worry about, you have a new reason for not sleeping at night.

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Here are a few things to think about when preparing for the big kid bed

  • First, make sure you don’t make this transition before your child is ready.  You want to make sure your toddler is not going into this new sleep situation with a sleep debt.  Also, make sure your child knows how to fall asleep without assistance and has healthy sleep habits. This is an important step in preparing for the big kid bed.
  • You also don’t want to make the move for the wrong reasons. One reason that you would not want to transition your child is because you are expecting a new baby.  If your little one is not ready, adding a new baby will make this transition even harder.  Another reason that you do not want to automatically make this transition is if your little one is starting to climb out of the crib. There are ways to help keep your little climber in the crib longer.  Here are some ideas for keeping him/her in the crib:  1. Make sure the crib is at the lowest setting.  2.  Make sure there is nothing in the crib for your child to climb on to give them a little extra boost.  3.  Watch your child on a video monitor and give them a firm NO when you see them attempt to climb out.

Here are my recommendations for preparing for the big kid bed

  1. I recommend that your child is around 3-3.5 years old. Before this age, they do not have the ability to understand sleep rules.
  2. Set up a safe sleep environment. Look at their bedroom with a new set of eyes. Clear out toys that might be dangerous without supervision if they wake up at night.  We also want your child to sleep at night, so put away toys that will tempt them to get up to play.
  3. Make sure all plugs have child safety protection.
  4. Make sure your child does not have access to cords. This would include window treatments, sound machines, light cords, and baby monitor cords.
  5. Make sure all furniture is bolted to the wall to avoid any tipping accidents.
  6. Put up a gate at the top of any stairs or in front of their bedroom door to avoid night time wondering.
  7. Toddler door knob covers will help keep your child in their room if they wake up while you are sleeping.
  8. Put up a bed rail to keep your child from rolling out of bed during the night.
  9. Introduce your child to a toddler clock. A toddler clock is a wonderful visual for your child.  This would be a great tool to introduce before making the move from the crib, so that they understand how the toddler clock works.
  10. Set up a family meeting before you move your toddler from the crib to the bed. During this meeting with your child, discuss the sleep rules.  Make the rules simple.  Have fun with this activity.  Let your child color pictures next to each rule.  Talk to your child about what is expected of them when they go into the big kid bed.
  11. Let your child be involved in decorating the bedroom. This will get them excited and allow a natural opportunity to talk about big kid sleeping.

What to do when your child gets out of bed

Preparing your child before making the transition will help everyone to know what to expect.  Find a response that you feel comfortable with.  If your child does get out of bed, walk them back to their room silently.  You don’t want this to become a nighttime game.  Make sure you are consistent each and every time so they your child learns the rules of staying in their room.  Click here for other tips on how do you keep them from getting out of bed.

One last suggestion:  Keep the crib for a little longer just in case you find that you made the transition too early.  You can always go back to the crib when your child is a little older.

Lynn Matuszewski
Lynn Matuszewski
Lynn Matuszewski is certified through the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) as a Child Sleep Consultant a and trained Good Night Sleep Site Educator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Education with a major in Learning and Behavior Disorders. She has a background in healthcare outreach where she educates members in closing Gaps in Care and assisting members in overcoming barriers in receiving care. Lynn has a passion for helping families in achieving a healthy sleep foundation which is a vital aspect of living a healthy life. Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise. Raising her children and watching her children raise her grandchildren, she knows the importance of a good night sleep for both our babies as well as parents. Well rested families are healthier and happier. Good Night Sleep Site (GNSS) provided a perfect place for Lynn to help families reach their sleep goals because of their respect for the personality of each family. No two families look alike, making each sleep plan tailored to the needs of the family. Lynn will assist your family find a customized method that corresponds with your family values and temperament. Lynn also found it important that GNSS is committed to following the safe sleep recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) when working with families. Lynn is a proud mother and grandmother. There is so much more to the story behind the titles of mother and grandmother. She is a biological mother, adopted mother, step-mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. Although these terms sound like labels, that is very far from the truth she lives. Each one of those titles has a beautiful story that made her the mother and grandmother she is today. Lynn’s has a wonderful family that came together making a perfect blend. Lynn was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. When she is not working Lynn loves to spend time with family and friends. She also enjoys spending time traveling, kayaking, biking, and enjoying the beautiful water front of Buffalo with her husband. Lynn believes that when your family is well rested, you can better handle the day to day challenges that every family face. When your family is well rested every individual will have the energy to learn and grow at their optimal level. Good sleep habits do not come naturally, they are learned. When you teach your child how to sleep, you are giving your child the gift that will last a lifetime. Your child has so much to see and learn, Lynn wants to help your family reach the stars while you learn healthy sleep habits.
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