So you’re thinking it might be time to make the move to a big kid bed? To have a successful transition to a bed from a crib you’ll need to ensure that that you have a few things in order first.
Ensure It Is The Right Time
A major key to success in the crib to bed transition is timing. It’s best if your child is 2.5-3 years old or even a tad older. The signs below will guide you a bit more on timing:
- Your child can follow a set of rules or steps and stick to them. You will see below that following a set of rules is imperative for a successful transition.
- Your child has asked for a big kid bed. The desire for a bed is a good sign. He or she are more likely to want to stay in their bed / room if they want to be there.
- Your child naps and sleep well at night. Having healthy sleep habits will surely help in every aspect to make the whole experience more positive.
Not Time Just Yest
- Your child climbed out of the crib. I know, I know, it’s not safe when our kids climb out of their crib, but usually this happens at about 18 months of age (a tad too soon for the freedom of a bed). Try a few other tricks first.
- You’re expecting another child. Yes, you may need another crib, but getting another crib will be less struggle than if you make the move to a bed too soon.
- Your child’s sleep could be improved. If you are seeing night wakings or are struggling with naps, it would be a good idea to work on sleep first.
- Your child is in the midst of another big transition (i.e. the start of school or potty training)
The transition to a big kid bed is a big deal. If you think about it, likely the only bed they have known is their crib. Without the 4 sides surrounding them, it can feel like a really big world. The best thing that you can do is to have a great plan.
- Involve your child in the process. Allow them to help you pick out new sheets or even the new bed. Even let them help you put it together.
- Create a great plan, including how you will respond if they leave their room.
- Prepare through reading, as reading is probably part of your bedtime routine anyway ;). There are so many books that can help with the transition and it’s a good idea to start reading some ahead of time. Here are a few that we love in our home:
- Big Enough For a Bed – what kid doesn’t love Elmo, right? This little book can help a little one understand that the transition is normal as they get bigger.
- What Is Sleep? – this fantastic lift-the-flap book explains that everyone, parents, animals and children all sleep. It also explains why sleep is important in real and understandable terminology.
- How Dinosaurs Say Good Night – As dinos say good night to their parents, this book talks about what are good choices and not so good choices for bedtime behavior.
Communication is very important with any major change our kids go through. It is the key to helping them feel more comfortable and to understand what is expected of them.
- Consider a family meeting. Talk about why sleep is important and share with your child a few simple sleep rules.
- Once you make the transition, talk about the sleep rules and give a lot of positive reinforcement for following the rules.
- A toddler clock can also be a very effective form of nonverbal communication, letting your child know when it’s time to sleep and when it is time to get up.
Ensure Bedtime is Appropriate
Let’s face it, well rested child will be more likely to stay in their bed and sleep through the night. You will see fewer sleep struggles in general if your child is getting the sleep that they need. If you have an age appropriate schedule, you are one step closer to avoiding those middle of the night visits to your room.
Whatever your plan, you MUST stay consistent. Send the same message and your child will understand what they need to do. If you are making the change at a good time and have a great plan in place, your child will be able to do this!
If you are struggling with your child’s sleep or feel like you need a bit of help through this transition, the Good Night Sleep Site Team is here to help!
Certified Sleep Consultant
Good Night Sleep Site Florida