Steps to make a (mostly) smooth transition to the Toddler Bed
If your anything like me, making the switch to the toddler bed is causing more than little anxiety. Before we made the switch, all I could picture were totally sleepless nights where my adventurous toddler roamed freely around the house. Don’t worry, It wasn’t nearly that bad and no one lost any significant amount of sleep! Here are a few tips that I used to make the transition go more smoothly!
For us, starting before my daughter was “officially” climbing out of her crib was the key. There were a few instances where she almost climbed out, so I knew it was time. We made the switch at two and a half but every child is different so wait till your child is ready, but make the switch while they are still safe. Set a date, purchase a bed. sheets and pillows and make the Switch!
Get Junior on Board
Get your child excited about their new Big Kid Bed! Talk it up and give them something to look forward too. Add a comfort item or new sheets in their favorite character. Let them assist in picking their toddler bed if you are going to be purchasing a new one. Don’t forget to keep some familiar items in their new bed, as well, so that they feel right at home.
My daughter’s favorite character is Minnie Mouse so she was very excited to pick a new Minnie Mouse bed. When we got it home in the afternoon she told me she was going to bed right then and there, (that only lasted a few minutes) I was happy she was excited about her new bed! Check out the bed I got for Luna below!
Develop a Routine
Hopefully, you already have a bedtime routine that works for you and your family but if not, now is a great time to start! A bedtime routine is helpful for small children (and Adults too!) to settle down and get prepared for rest. Add something special for the transition to the toddler bed. For us, we started reading our bedtime stories in bed. We had always read bedtime stories but we usually read them in the living room since reading stories in a crib is slightly difficult. When I told my daughter she could pick three books and we could read them in her new toddler bed she hopped in right away.
This transition is not an easy one so do your best to be strong yet understanding of your child’s process. It will require a lot of perseverance from you so do your best to be prepared and stay calm. Despite Luna’s excitement about her new bed, there was still A LOT of convincing her to stay in bed. She has now been sleeping in her toddler bed for about three months, some nights it goes smoothly and I feel like I have hit the jackpot and other nights it still requires just as much patience as it did the first night.
Rewards & Consequences
Depending on your parenting style and your child’s learning style, this will look different for everyone. We have been focusing more on positive parenting and rewarding Luna for positive behavior as well as talking her through changes and focusing on self-regulation. There are nights that this works for her, I am able to encourage her to take a few deep breaths and remind her that it is bedtime and she needs to lay down like a big girl in her big girl bed and get some rest. Luna is very high energy and sometimes loves to challenge me so there are other nights when my gentle coaching just isn’t enough and she needs more firm boundaries. What has worked best for us in these situations is “kindly” telling her daughter if she gets out of bed again she will need to sleep in her crib tonight and try her big girl bed again tomorrow. The important part is following through with this when I say I will, otherwise she will know there is a chance I’ll cave. She is never happy about going back in her crib but I tell her I love her and we can try again tomorrow, and usually, she’s less likely to get out of bed again the next night!
Don’t Give UP!
Hang in there, Mama! This too shall Pass! Soon your toddler will be sleeping peacefully in their toddler bed and you will be preoccupied with the next challenge!
Please Share your own tips and tricks with us below! I would love to hear what is working for you!