You put your child to bed and soon after, you hear a creak of a squeaky door and tiny feet pitter-patter down the hall. The day has come when your baby has climbed out of their crib.
Your baby may not climb out of their crib but one day they will need to graduate to their big bed. There is no need to rush it if your child is comfortable and sleeping in their crib but if they start to climb out, it has become a safety hazard.
Queue toddler bed. The transition can be hard for littles and parents but here are some tips to maybe help the transition go a little smoother!
Talk up the idea of a new “big kid” bed! Get your child excited about it. Go shopping for new sheets, pillows, and stuffed animals to add to their new bed. The more excited they are about it, the better!
As the old saying goes, “Timing is everything!” Make sure that your little is up for it on the first transition day. If they had a rough day of crankiness, maybe wait until tomorrow.
With your baby’s newfound freedom, you may need to change up your baby proofing. Make sure any large furniture is anchored to the walls, power outlets are covered, lock windows, eliminate any choking hazards, and secure the door or stairwell.
Introducing the toddler bed slowly can help ease the transition. Placing the toddler bed in the room while your baby is still sleeping in the crib can be a great place to start! Lay in the bed with your baby, show them that it is safe. If they are comfortable with it, try to let them sleep in it during nap time.
If you have a convertible crib that can be switched to a toddler bed, that is even better! Simply remove the side panel, when your child is ready.
Keep your bedtime routine the same to help the transition. Your little one will need some extra TLC to conquer the change.
Your child won’t be able to resist the urge to pop out of bed several times to snuggle with mom or get a drink. Make sure that you remain consistent in your rules of bedtime. Get drinks and do potty breaks before bedtime and reinforce that they are final. When your child gets out of bed, calmly lead them back to their room to tuck them back in each time. Remember to stick to the rules, your little is learning them too.
If your baby is still crying every time you put them in their crib, try implementing a 15-minute rule. If you are comfortable with waiting, a period of wait time could be beneficial in teaching babies how to sleep. Wait for 15 minutes before reentering the room, then comfort the baby by patting them or singing to them but DO NOT pick them up. It is hard to do, especially with our precious littles, but if all their needs have been met, try to refrain. Picking them up reinforces to babies that crying=being picked up. It will essentially put you back at square one.
Your child may experience sleep regression, waking up more often than usual or popping into your room in the middle of the night because now they can. Expect some sleep regression and guide your child through it following the boundaries that you set. It won’t last forever!
Transitioning to a toddler bed can be scary for our littles, but with the right comfort and boundaries, your baby will be sleeping in their big kid bed in no time! Each child is different and will react differently to becoming a big kid sleeper. Remember to stick to your rules, comfort your child, and follow the same bedtime routines for the easiest transition.