How To Transition Your Baby from a Crib to a Bed

Find me a parent that looks forward to the day their toddler moves from the confinement and safety of a crib to a toddler bed, and I will give you a million dollars (I won’t, but you get my drift). The idea of this milestone, and the subsequent transition, is terrifying to parents. The crib keeps baby in place. You don’ have to worry about him getting up 15 times a night, maybe letting himself out of the house or helping himself to a midnight snack by climbing up the shelves of the pantry. With a big kid bed, however, you do. And you have to worry about what this means for you. Fortunately, the transition doesn’t have to be difficult.

Have the Talk

This is just the first of many talks you’re going to have with your toddler, so get ready. You’re going to want to tell her that big kids sleep in big beds. Since she’s a big girl now, she gets a big girl bed. Explain to her the responsibilities of a big girl bed, which is that big girls don’t get in and out of bed. If you turn that into a lesson, it’s more likely to stick. It’s recommended you read some books about big kid beds to your little one.

Let them Pick a Special Bed Set

When the new bed is in place, let your toddler pick out his new bedding. This makes it special, exciting and very awesome for your little one. Who doesn’t look forward to sleeping on new sheets and with a new pillow? Your little one will actually look forward to his new bed with this in mind.

Don’t Change Routine

The most important part about transitioning your little one from crib to bed is to stick with your familiar routine. Change is scary for little people. If you change the bedtime routine, the bed and the bedding all at once, your little one is going to be scared. Let her know that nothing is different. Don’t make it a thing. Just put her to bed as you always do.

Dealing with Kids that Get Up

I’m going to be honest here – when we transitioned our 6-year-old and 3-year-old to their toddler beds when they were younger, they never got up unless they had to potty. We didn’t give in on this one and we told them there would be consequences. It worked. In fact, it took them months to realize that they could get up on their own in the mornings without calling for us to come get them over the monitor. Whether this will work one day with our twins, we don’t know. However, it is possible to keep kids in toddler beds.

If you have one that gets up, just be firm. Put him back in bed and tell him it’s not something he’s allowed to do. If he doesn’t offer up a problem or reason for getting up, don’t ask him to provide one. It just gives him ideas and fuels other “reasons” or “problems” that he thinks will get him up later without getting in trouble. Be firm. Put him back. Don’t speak to him other than to tell him no. Make this a habit for a few days and he’ll eventually get it.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


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