Crib to Bed Transition
Uh oh….you’re sound asleep but suddenly you hear the pitter/patter of little feet in the hallway. Your toddler has climbed out of his crib! You think to yourself that it must be time to switch to a bed. Or perhaps you are expecting another baby and need the crib. Whatever your reasons might be for switching from a crib to a bed, make sure you are doing it at the right time and for the right reasons. Suddenly climbing out of the crib or making space for new baby are not good reasons unfortunately, unless your toddler meets some of the other criteria. Often times parents make the transition too soon and it can often just cause new sleep problems where there weren’t any before. So when is a good time to make the switch? What can you do to make go as smoothly as possible?
Making the Switch
Ideally, your toddler should be at least 3 years old when you make the switch. The reason for this is that a 3 yr old is more likely to understand the responsibilities that come with a big kid bed.
Be Prepared and Communicate
Before making the switch to a big kid bed, sit down with everyone and have a family meeting. This is where you’ll go over expectations. Everyone needs to be on board for this so make sure you and your partner talk it over before sitting down with everyone. You can involve your other kids as well.
Establishing Sleep Rules
During the family meeting, set some sleep rules. Involve your toddler in this decision so they can feel included and like they have a say in the situation. This will make it more likely that your toddler will follow the rules. The sleep rules don’t have to be complicated and should easy for your toddler to understand and follow. Check out some examples here. You can put them on a poster board and have your child decorate it. Then you can put it the rules up in their room and go over it every night. If you think it will help, you can also introduce a rewards chart for nights when the rules are followed.
Make it fun and safe
I remember my son having so much fun picking stuff out for his room. We got new bedding and matching decorations for his room. It can be a lot of fun to have your toddler be involved in the process. They’ll love picking stuff out for their new bed and it’ll give them a sense of control in the situation.
Follow Basic Sleep Fundamentals
To help you be successful, be sure to follow basic sleep fundamentals. Those include:
- age appropriate wake time
- consistent nap and bedtime routine
- consistent nap schedule
- consistent sleeping location
- age appropriate bedtime
But most importantly, relax and have fun with it!