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Tips for Transitioning Your Toddler From Crib to Bed

Maybe your toddler has learned how to crawl out of the crib or they’re just so long that their arms and legs are always sticking out through the crib slats. Or maybe, you have another baby on the way and don’t want to buy a second crib. Whatever the reason, you’ve determined that it’s time to move them into a big kid bed. So, how do you actually go about making the switch?

Set the date and don’t look back

Choose a date to make the transition from crib to bed wisely. Make sure it doesn’t fall the night before you need to go to work or attend an important event because you never know how easily the transition is going to go. If you end up with a long night on your hands, you’ll be happy to have extra time to lounge around in your pajamas the next day. Also, when you introduce your sweet baby to the big kid bed, don’t look back. Putting them back in the crib because they had a rough first night will only confuse them – you’ve got to stick it out! If your toddler still doesn’t anything to do with their new bed after a few nights, then may be the time to consider that maybe they just aren’t ready for it yet.

Get them excited for the transition

Leaving the crib that they’ve known for as long as they can remember may be a little bit scary for your little one. You have an opportunity to get them excited for their big kid bed! Choose sheets in their favorite color or cartoon character, buy them a new stuffed animal to sleep with, and surround their new bed with familiar favorite things. Show them how excited you are that they’re growing up and make sure you let them know that this is a good thing.

Be consistent & persistent

When the first night in the new bed arrives, make sure you stick to your child’s normal bedtime routine. Just because where they sleep is changing, doesn’t mean anything else about bedtime should be changing – one change at a time is enough for your kiddo to handle! And know this: they will get out of bed after you walk away. This one is pretty much unavoidable. They will want to test their boundaries with their new freedom. So, what do you do? You walk them back to their bed, tell them it’s “night-night” time, and tuck them in. They may get out 17 times and you need to stay consistent. Eventually, they will fall asleep.

Reward them after their first night

Let your little one know how happy you are that they made it through their first night in their new bed! Shower them with hugs and kisses when they wake up (even if it ends up being earlier than normal) and make them something special to eat for breakfast. Remind them throughout the day that you are so proud of them for sleeping in their big kid bed. This way, by nighttime they will be just as excited as you are to sleep in it again.

Be patient

Keep in mind that any major shift in your child’s life or routine may throw things off balance for a while. It may take them a few days before they return to sleeping as comfortably as they did in their crib. Or, maybe you’ll luck out and your child will take to it right away. Either way, go into this transition knowing it will take some patience on your part.

Remember that each child is different and only YOU know your child. Read their signals and trust your intuition throughout their move from crib to bed.
Check out the NURTURE section for more helpful tips on caring for your family!

Photo Credit: Dreams To Do

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Ariel is a recently turned stay-at-home momma of three little ones to her high school sweetheart. When she isn’t busy playing with her young kiddos (or running around frantically), you can find her writing on her personal blog, Dreams To Do. Ariel is a lover of inspirational words, photography, coffee, reality TV, and of course, her family. You can connect with Ariel on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments (2)

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    Katherine Curtiss


    Hi, my name is Katherine. I came across this article on pintrest. I was so excited to read this. However I don’t know if my son is ready or if I’m being too pushy. He’s a year and a half old. He’s sleeping in a crib right now but he’s constantly getting his cute chubby little legs caught in the rails and he’s constantly trying to climb out. He’s gotten as far as half of his body outta the crib, resulting in a yelping dog and my knee into the dresser trying to get to him. My family says I’m pushing it and 18 months is just to soon. What is your opinion on this matter?


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      Hi Katherine! My daughter was around 20 months when we moved her from the crib to a twin bed and she transitioned very smoothly! This is something that is totally dependent on the child and only YOU will know if your son is ready. However, if you are afraid of your son climbing out of the crib and falling and hurting himself, he would probably be safer in a bed (or in the crib with the side railing removed. You can always put a baby gate in the doorway if you don’t want him roaming the house as well. Trust your gut instincts on this one! :)


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