· WARNING * Wait as long as you possible can! Most kids have a smoother transition to a big kid bed around their 3rd birthday!
So you have decided its time to transition from crib to toddler bed! This is an exciting time! The transition to a big kid bed can be for a variety of reasons- Maybe you are adding a new addition, or maybe your child is now 3 and understands new rules that come with sleeping in a big kid bed. Below are a few quick tips you can used to help keep your sound sleeper happy:
1) If you are transitioning to a big kid bed to make room for a new addition- make sure you start at least 3 months before baby arrives! (or if your little one isn’t ready, use a bassinet for your new babe for the first few months and then transition). This allows your toddler to have time to adjust to his/her new surroundings before their new little brother or sister are snuggling in their previous sleep space.
2) Call A Family Meeting: Sit down with your child and talk about the big kid bed. Also talk about the sleep rules (see below) that he/she will now need to follow now that he/she’s a big kid! Children thrive on routine and schedule (with flexibility). Helping prepare your child for the upcoming change can eliminate the surprise, and allow them time to process the change.
3) Introduce Sleep Rules: We want these rules to be simple! They can be as simple as “Once you are tucked into bed, you stay in bed quietly until mom or dad come get you in the morning”. You can make a chart and have your child help decorate it to make it fun! All the stickers and all the glitter. It is a great idea to read the rules before going to sleep at night and review them in the morning when he/she wakes for the day! Remember to create ‘rules’ for yourselves too! :)
4) Don’t Bring up ANYTHING That Highlights Fears: We want the transition to bed positive! We want to avoid any statements like “don’t worry”. Kids are able to internalize these statements and it can create more fears around the big kid bed. Preparing for the change makes the transition much smoother. Remember- we also don't want to surprise our little ones with the bed either. We want to explain when this transition is coming and help them prepare for this big sleep change! We moved the bed into my daughters room before transitioning her into it.
5) Allow Your Child to be Involved in Choosing Decor: Letting your child decorate their room/bed will make it fun & exciting for them! We want to make sure they know this change is coming and allow them to be part of the process. Take them on a special mom/dad date to pick out the bedding for their bed and let them come in as you put the bedding on their bed for the first time. Allowing them to be as involved as they can is always best! Let them explore their bed during non-sleep time.
6) Make Sure You Have NO Other Sleep Concerns: We want to address any other sleep concerns before making the transition. Changing beds won’t eliminate any problems, and can actually cause more! Be sure you have a great sleeper on your hands before the change.
If you are still struggling, and need help with this transition, contact me. Sweet Little Dreamers is here to help create smooth transitions, and help your family get some much-needed sleep!