Tackling the Move from Crib to Bed

When the time comes to move a toddler from a crib to a bed, the milestone is sometimes met with mixed emotions on the part of both child and parents. The child might be resistant to giving up his familiar crib and the parents could find it unsettling that the toddler will have more mobility – able to get out of bed whenever he pleases.

Tips to ensure a stress-free transition from crib to bed:

Preparation

Begin well in advance, talking with your toddler about transitioning to a bed. Take your child along when buying the bed and allow your toddler’s input when making a selection.

Time to adapt

Don’t insist your child move into the bed right away. Set the bed up but continue to use the familiar crib while the toddler gets used to the bed being in the room. It could be stressful to give up the security of a well-loved crib.

Begin with naps

Introduce using the new bed at naptime. Children often find change as stressful as adults do and getting used to the bed for short durations during the daylight might feel less scary to the child. Suggest that your toddler tuck a favorite teddy bear into the new bed while he naps in the crib. It should not take long for your toddler to want to join his favorite toy in the bed.

Don’t make other changes

Postpone decorating for a later time. Transitioning your toddler to his own big bed is not the time to make over his entire room. The new bed will not seem so strange when everything else in the room looks the same.

Give choices

Each time your child goes to bed for a nap or nighttime sleep, give him a choice. When he is choosing the bed more often than not, suggest taking away the crib so that he will have more room to play.

Be patient

If your toddler balks at moving to a big kid’s bed, be patient. Postpone for a couple of months and then try again when your child has increased maturity and might be better able to embrace change.

Additional hints from The Baby Corner:

– Keep the same bedtime routine – toddlers thrive on routine in every facet of their lives.

– Initially have guardrails on hand to keep your toddler from falling out of the bed.

– Make the bedtime read-a-loud story about moving from a crib to a bed. This will reinforce the positive aspect of the move.

– Be lavish with praise each time your toddler remains in his new bed throughout the night.

By being patient, consistent and loving in your approach, moving from crib to bed is apt to be a smooth, stress-free and successful transition.