Moving toddlers from their crib into their first “big kid bed” can be a harrowing transition. But there are ways you can ease the transition. Here are a few ideas.
Establishing good solo sleep habits before switching from crib to bassinet will be invaluable in creating a successful transition. This should include creating a regular schedule and outlining expectations around sleeping.
Get Your Toddler’s Attention
Toddlers thrive on routine, so when transitioning from crib to toddler bed, it’s best to do it consistently and ensure it remains part of their bedtime ritual by reading books and reinforcing expectations around sleep.
Be mindful that if your toddler regularly escapes their crib after 2 years old and is over 2 years old, they are probably not ready for this transition. Children under 3 years often struggle with impulse control and require a more structured environment that helps them learn to remain in bed until morning wake-up calls come.
If your child seems determined to escape their new bed, consider temporarily placing them in a Pack ‘n Play or play yard. Most toddlers won’t attempt to climb out from these beds, which sit much lower to the ground than traditional cribs.
Make the Transition a Positive Experience
Be sure to make the transition positive for your toddler, enabling them to feel at ease and secure in their new bed. Engage them by inviting them to select sheets or cuddly toys they’ll sleep with on their new mattress.
Maintaining the same bedtime routine will also provide comfort to your toddler. If they emerge during the night, gently and quietly return them to their beds as soon as they emerge and remind them they must remain there until you wake up.
Switching to a toddler bed should also be done without regard for other significant events, like potty training. Such changes could confuse a toddler and increase night wakings.
Let Your Toddler Pick Out the Bed
Make the transition as seamless as possible for your toddler by helping them feel like an “older kid.” That might include giving them their choice of junior pillow or comforter featuring their favorite characters or animals, maybe even including a night light!
Routine is essential to children, including their bedtime routine. Making changes may prove challenging for some children; therefore, be prepared for some difficulties.
At first, transitioning can be stressful for toddlers, leaving them restless at night, looking to escape their new bed.
Be sure they remain safe by anchoring furniture securely, securing cords, and making their bedroom completely child-proof. Use positive reinforcement such as sticker charts as incentives for staying in their beds each night – these could help your little one remain compliant in bed!
Don’t Overdo It
As much as it might be tempting, hastened transitioning your little one to a toddler bed is only likely to increase resistance and make adaptation more challenging for them. Rushing will only increase resistance further and make adapting more difficult.
Maintain your usual sleep routine as much as possible; for instance, if bath time, books, and bed were influential in the crib set, keep this same schedule in their new bed.
Your toddler should experience this change as an ordinary, inevitable milestone, not an unpleasant shock. Furthermore, they will more readily accept it if they see you are so enthusiastic about it – you could even try getting them excited by decorating their bed with favorite sheets or an exciting character pillow!
Keep It Simple
While moving your toddler into their bed after giving birth may be tempting, only make the transition if your little one is ready. Otherwise, forcing their way into one could cause significant difficulties for both of you, leading to even more challenging nighttime routines.
Begin to ease your toddler into this transition by only using their bed for naptime for the initial few days until they get used to sleeping there, which can speed up the adaptation process.
Keep your bedtime routine as straightforward and consistent as possible to reinforce good behavior from your child. They will appreciate knowing it pays to remain in bed all night long!
As we wrap up our exploration of transitioning to a toddler bed, remember that every child is unique, and the key is patience and consistency. Celebrate the small victories and create a positive bedtime routine that fosters a sense of security for your toddler.
The transition is a big step, but the right approach can be a rewarding and empowering experience for both parent and child. Sweet dreams to your little ones as they embark on this new chapter of growing up! Stay tuned as we navigate the wonderful world of raising happy and healthy toddlers for more parenting tips and insights.