The crib to bed transition is a milestone likely filled with mixed emotion. It’s an exciting time for your child, but you may be feeling sad at the pace at which your little one is growing up, or maybe even some angst about how the transition will go. Before you make the leap, be sure to access whether it’s truly the right time, and if it is, prepare in advance for the change.
Is your child ready?
Before the age of three and even beyond, impulse control is a real struggle for little ones. Young children need a lot of help managing their emotions. Signs your child Is not ready to transition include boundary pushing, existing sleep issues or challenges, doing great in the crib, and—maybe most surprisingly—crib climbers. If you have a climber, a sleep sack worn with the zipper in the back can be a great solution. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s in your best interest to avoid the switch for now. Transitioning because you need the crib for a new baby or because it just feels like the next step are recipes for lots of sleepless nights. It is worth it to purchase that second crib (check yard sale sites for deals!) for everyone’s sanity.
However, if your child is older than three and is begging for the big kid bed, it may be time. Here’s how to prepare.
Have a plan
Prior to the switch, you want a rock-solid routine that will be outlined to your child ahead of time so he/she knows exactly what to expect. Hold a family meeting and talk about sleep rules. You may consider decorating a poster with your child that includes the sleep rules (ie: we brush our teeth before bed; we stay in our bed until morning) that can be hung up near the bed to go over as part of your routine each night. In addition, your plan should include an age appropriate bedtime that you stick to each night. Children who are overtired have a tougher time getting to sleep and staying asleep.
The most important component to a good transition is remaining very consistent. Don’t let the bedtime stray and stick closely to routine. Also, make sure you responding to night time visits or other attempts to get out of bed the same way every time. Children of all personalities and ages will always push boundaries in some shape or form just to test just how solid the rules are. Stay consistent.