Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Toddler Bed Transition

We have transitioned Emma into her very own toddler bed! Although the first few nights were challenging, it has been about a month now and overall the transition has gone much more smoothly than I would have expected.

 Here are the tips that seemed to work for us:

  • Talk about the move from crib to bed before actually making the transition, and if possible, let the child help pick out the bed/bedding - We talked to Emma about her “big girl bed” in advance. She went with us to pick it up, and was in the room when we got everything set up. It helped that she was involved every step of the way.
  • Keep the crib in plain sight for a while - A child's crib is the place where they feel the safest, so taking it away the same time that you put them into a new bed can make it scarier for the little one. We left it up in the same spot it's always been.
  • Plan ahead for an active child - Look around the room and make sure that anything that could be unsafe to a wandering child is put up or secured.  We always make sure all toys are picked up at the end of the day.
  • Use a nightlight - We’ve always had a soft light in the nursery at night so that we don’t have to turn on a bright light if we need to go into the room for any reason. Even if your child has never been afraid of the dark, it might be a good idea to use a nightlight.
  • Follow the same bedtime routine – This one is fairly obvious, but it helps to stick to the same routine you’ve had in the past. We read a couple of books while rocking, then give hugs, kisses, say goodnight, and turn out the light. Derek lays her down and leaves the room. It has always worked for us, so we followed the same steps to put her to bed.
  • If your child gets out of bed, go in and put him or her back - We didn’t want to let her cry it out because she just came to the door that first night.  She’s not going to go back to her bed and just go to sleep if she’s crying at the door (at least – not the first night). So we took turns soothing her and putting her back in bed. We kept these visits short and to the point. This is not snuggle time with Mom and Dad – we were just there long enough to calm her down and return her to her bed. Nowadays, she generally stays in the bed from the start, but we have had to repeat this process after she’s been sick and when we’ve been traveling away from home overnight.
  • Be positive! - When we discussed the big girl bed, we always made it seem fun and exciting. It was always expressed as something that was a big deal and a huge step toward becoming a big girl.
  • Be patient but consistent – This is probably the most important and also most difficult step. The toddler bed is new for your little one and you can’t expect him or her to be used to it right away. The first few nights will probably be lengthy and frustrating, but try to stay calm and stick with it. Although it was tempting that first and second night, once we had used the toddler bed, we did not let her sleep in her crib.  However you’re planning to transition, make the decisions and stick with the routine. Going back and forth is just confusing for your child and prolongs the process for you. 

The only issues we have come across are during nap time. Emma knows that she can just get out of bed and play. At first this stressed me out and I was constantly going and putting her back in bed, I quickly realized that my appearances were not really helping the situation. Now if she is coming to the door or crying, I will go in and soothe her and put her back in bed, but if she is playing quietly, I just let her be. I know the room is safe and she manages to fall asleep on her own. I have had to scoop her up and put her in the bed twice in the past month when she fell asleep playing on the floor, that is a small price for battle-free naps.

As with most "life changes" with your little one, it may seem like the process will never end. But if you stick with it, your child will be sleeping the night away in their toddler bed in no time!

What strategies worked for you when you were making the toddler bed transition?

No comments:

Post a Comment