Transitioning your toddler from a crib to a bed

There comes a time when your toddler has to move from his crib to a toddler or a twin bed.  Here is how to do it, so that you avoid bedtime battles.  My own son is going to be transitioning soon, so look out for another blog post on how he does!

Before you decide to make the transition, look at why you are doing it and if your child is ready. Is the reason because your child is jumping out of his crib or because another baby is on the way? The reasons will affect the strategies that you use to make the change.

  1. I always recommend waiting until a child is at least 3 years, before moving them into a toddler bed.  Kids younger than 3 are simply not ready to handle sleeping in a bed.  At 3, they better understand rules, consequences and positive reinforcements to encourage them to stay in their beds.
  2. Get them excited about their new bed and get them involved in picking out the bed, sheets etc.  Make a big deal and an event out of it if you can.  Have a big boy bed party by having family and friends over to celebrate the transition. It might seem like you are blowing it out of proportion, but this really works!
  3. Treat bedtime exactly the same and don’t change anything from their normal bedtime routine.  Changing it up might send the expectation that they can behave differently at bedtime.
  4. Don’t stay in the room or lie on the floor on the first night, unless you want it to become a long term thing!  Kids catch on fast and they won’t let you leave the room every night!
  5. When saying good night, don’t tell them “to stay in bed and not leave the room”.  They might not even think it’s possible until you give them this idea!
  6. If they do decide to test the waters and leave the room, take their hand quietly, without making any eye contact or conversation and simply walk them back to their bed, say good night and leave again. If they continue, repeat the same thing.  They will eventually get the message that it’s not a fun game and go to sleep.
  7. Buy a toddler night time clock to teach them when it’s ok to leave the room in the morning. The changing colors of the clock, will teach them when to stay in bed and when it’s ok to get up and leave the room.

Your little ones are quickly growing up and this is another exciting phase of their growing independence.  Good luck!

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