The Big Transition: From Crib to Bed
For parents and children alike, the transition from crib to bed is a big milestone. Your days of tucking your wee one to sleep and knowing they will stay in bed are gone. For them, this new-found independence can lead to troubles with settling and sleeping.
Tracey Ruiz (aka the Sleep Doula) has seven tips to help make the transition easier for everyone.
- Make it a big deal. Moving from a crib to a bed is an important step. Before making the transfer, talk to your child about how exciting it is that they are old enough to sleep in a ‘big kid’s bed’. Have them be a part of the adventure by taking them shopping and allowing them choose new bedding.
- Safety is a must. Now that your toddler has their freedom, be prepared that they will be looking to explore. Ensure their room is safe and minimize the areas they can explore. Anchor dressers and large furniture, limit access to drawers and closets, and ensure they can’t get into any creams or lotions. I always sit in the middle of room before we start the first night and try to think of any troubles a toddler can get into. Believe me, Vaseline is terrible to clean off walls and out of toddlers hair.
- Routine, routine, routine. Even though they are sleeping in a different bed, try to keep to a similar bedtime routine as they had in the crib. Just remember, be prepared they will try to modify things with their new independence.
- Be prepared for negotiations. It is important to try to anticipate your toddler’s needs before they even ask. This way you can show them where everything is there e.g. Sippy cup of water, pacifier, teddy, or even Kleenex. You should also be prepared that they may ask you to cuddle with them for just a few more minutes. If you do, try using a timer so there is no negotiating how long.
- Stay firm and be strong. The first few nights your child will try to test the limits of their newly acquired freedom by roaming the room. It is important you stick to your guns and walk them back to their new bed. Be stern that it is bedtime and time to sleep but be patient’this is an exciting time for them.
- Fill them with praise. We all love encouragement so make sure in the morning you praise them for sleeping in their bed, like ‘big kids do’. For toddlers who like rewards, have a chart and if they can sleep in their bed alone each night, they get a star. Five stars equal a special day with mom and dad or a special gift.
- Some helpful tools. Having a special night light, white noise machine, or a special stuffed ‘bed friend’ can all make the transition easier for your toddler. To help them understand when it’s time to come out of their bed, try using a digital clock with only the hour showing.