Moving to a Big Bed

A crib is a safe, warm, secure place for a baby. The child has spent many happy, comforting hours there.  It can not last forever. There is a time when the transition needs to be made to a toddler or big kid bed. There are some things that can make the process a little easier on the everyone.

Buy the right bed

It is import to purchase a toddler bed that has a removable rail.  A toddler will find the new freedom to roam irresistible. Allow them to get on and off the bed all day. When the rail goes on at night, it gives a clear signal that it is time to stay put.  It is a physical reminder. It should slow down the toddler long enough that a parent may intervene.

Have the child put away the crib

It great if the crib can be taken apart and put in storage.  Have the child help in the process some way. It could be as simple as holding a screwdriver or opening a door. It is a clear indication that the crib is going away.

Transition some familiar items

Comfort items are important to a child. So bring some of the items from the crib.  It may be a blanket, a musical light or some toy that was in the area.  This will help make the new bed “feel” right to the toddler.

Keep the same bedtime routine

The bed is new and yet the bedtime routine should stay the same.   For example, if the child brushed their teeth and then had a story it should stay the same.  The new part of the routine will be tucking the child in the bed and putting on the rail. It is an important distinction and should be done with care and loving. “This will help you be safe and snuggled.”

Return the child to the bed

It is normal for a child to test the limits and get out of bed.  The key is to gently put the child back in bed. No drinks, no treats, just a simple walk back to  bed and a firm loving good night should do the trick.

Reward success 
Purchase a few sheets sets. When a child stays in the new bed all night.  The reward the next morning can be something as easy as putting on different sheets.  Pillowcases are relatively inexpensive and can be traded out often as a reward.

Have a “big kid” celebration after a few weeks of successful transitions.  Bake a cake and decorator it like a bed. Make it a family affair.

If children learn to appreciate and celebrate transitions early on, they develop great habits for life.