The thought of transitioning your little one from a crib to a big kid bed can be overwhelming.
When to make the move? Do I go with a toddler bed, twin bed, or something bigger? So many questions will come into play and figuring out the best solution for your family can be difficult.
Here’s a list of tips that can help you make the best decision with transitioning your toddler from crib to big kid bed and hopefully smooth out the process for you and your little one. Happy baby = happy mommy and daddy!
Why rush, wait until your little one is ready.
How will you know? Every child is different and their signs will be too. My son was 2.5 when he started to show signs that it was time for a change. Our bedtime routine seemed to stop working, we went from a twenty-minute wind down (story time, snuggles, lights out) to all of a sudden not wanting to sleep in his crib. He was firm and consistent in his refusal, insistent on sleeping in mom and dads bed every night. The fight just wasn’t worth it – that was it, my baby was growing up and so, it was time to go shopping for a big kid bed.
Build the excitement.
For the next week we talked about big boy beds, colors, and patterns. Making the process exciting and fun for my little one and letting him show me what he liked was important. For example picking out bedspreads – dinosaurs, tractors, space-ships… he wanted them all. Building up the transition and making your little one a part of the decision-making process was instrumental. It is their room after-all and by doing so you are helping build their life skills.
Shopping and things to consider.
What size bed does the room allow for? Consider window placements, closets, and doors as these all limit your setup options. The obvious placement might be to locate the bed along the long open wall – but consider a different approach, maybe kitty corner it in-between the odd window placements, leaving the long wall for shelving, drawers, play space etc.
What other furniture do you have or anticipate will go in the room? This is an important one as I had initially envisioned a long bureau, tall dresser and a bookcase. However, I hadn’t considered additional play and move-around space. The bureau depth ate up too much of the room and made it too tight which would cause more problems down the line. I updated our plan, omitted the bureau and came up with the perfect alternative…under bed storage. This consisted of two pull out deep drawers and an open style cubby (different styles are available). It was perfect, in fact I love it! It’s functional and it utilizes wasted space under the bed that would otherwise collect socks and random toys.
Remember to consider bed-rails to help prevent unnecessary spills. Your little sleeper might be more of a mover than you think!
Establish your bedtime routine.
This was by far the most common piece of advice that I heard as a new parent, live by routine. The benefits that come from routine help tremendously with a toddler’s personality and “body-clock”, which helps with many day-to-day basics like eating a healthy and full meal, sensing nap and bedtime, helping sleep sound throughout the night and many others. In addition it sets boundaries and helps children feel safe and comfortable, allowing for a calmer, easier wind-down. Find what works for you and your family, evaluate how much time you’ll need to get through the after work grind: cooking, cleanup, baths, story time, snuggles, lights out – whatever flow you have.
Nightlight, music, wake-up clock – figure out what will help your little one settle in comfortably.
Provide a warm and comforting space – music, sound machines, reflecting stars or shapes. All of these help with easing the little ones to sleep. Introduce a wake-up clock that establishes an agreed upon wake-up time that works for your families schedule.
Stay strong – boundaries are so important!
The hardest point of them all. I know, I struggle with this as well. There are so many times when it would be easier to give in and say yes — give them that underserved toy, break a rule, extend a once-in-while thing to the point where your child now expects it as a normal everyday routine. Caving on this very important tip will mean a constant power-struggle that will leave you exhausted and feeling deflated.
Give it time.
Expect that your little one is going to ease into the new routine. Sleep regression is probably inevitable but with a little adjusting and ensuring you are meeting the needs of a safe and comforting routine you will soon have a system that works for you and your little one, I’m rooting for you!