10 Things to Know Before Switching from Crib to Bed

10 things to know before switching from crib to bed

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that picture.

A happy girl who was pumped about making the switch from crib to big girl bed.

Until a few hours later…  the anticipated crying and stalling started.  It was extremely hard to beat her at this game.  Luckily, I had some practice with holding my ground and implementing some behavioral tactics from my job as a therapist.  Don’t get me wrong.  It was still hard, but I survived and am here to tell you about it.

Before you make the transition, you NEED to know these 10 things to survive.

{in no particular order}

1. Make sure your toddler is ready.

There is no specific age that you should start transitioning, but one sure tell sign is that your toddler has figured out how to climb.  It is very dangerous to keep a toddler in a crib that he/she can climb out of for multiple reasons.  It may seem safer to keep them contained, but it’s not.  It’s time for a big kid bed.


 

2. Commit to a game plan.

If you don’t have a plan in place, you won’t have any way to be consistent.  Will you plan on using specific wording to teach your child to stay in bed?  Will you allow your child to take books to bed?  Will you shut the bedroom door or use a baby gate?  Think about your plan and communicate it with your spouse.


 

3. Pair reinforcing items with the new “big kid bed.”

It may seem like a lot of work, but take the time to “pair” the new bed as being a good thing.  Pairing just means associating a feeling with an item.  By reading books (if your child likes to read) or putting a favorite toy on the bed, your child will automatically see the bed as a good place rather than something scary or foreign.

Shout out to reader and mom-pro, Rachel, for this awesome tip: “Have them help pick it out and be apart of the transition. Whether it’s the bedding or the bed itself. Look through magazines, online etc at home then go to the store together. Share the process with your little one.”


 

4. Establish a routine.

Having a routine allows your toddler to know exactly what is expected and can relax much easier.  For us, it’s bath time then we head to Quinn’s bedroom to get dressed, read books, rock while singing a few songs then settle into bed.  She knows her routine and finds comfort in it.


 

5. Look at your schedule to pick a date to start.

Know straight up that for a few nights (or longer) you could be getting very broken or little sleep.  You will be frustrated and tired.  Attempting to make this switch during a week that you are working over time or planning for a family party at your house wouldn’t be ideal.  Instead, choose a stretch of a few days that would allow you to focus on this task.


 

6. Make the room safe.

This should be a no-brainer, but accidents do happen.  In fact, the other night, Quinn wandered out of her room and fell asleep on the couch.  We will now be using a baby gate to block her door.  A few other things to check are the blind cords and any items that are plugged which could be pulled down on to your toddler’s head.  You probably want to keep a baby monitor on just so you can be aware if you child starts moving around.  Toys and everyday items can be dangerous, too.  Double triple check.


 

7. Keep self-soothe items within child’s reach.

Some items in the room can be okay to leave out.  Books, stuffed animals, etc can help your child to wind down on their own if they aren’t quite ready to fall asleep.  They also can provide some entertainment in the morning when you aren’t ready to be woken up yet but your toddler says otherwise.


 

8. Start the process earlier than normal.

Night #1 I failed at this.  I went to put Quinn to bed at her normal 8 pm and almost three hours later, I was finally resting.  You don’t need to start hours before the usual bed time because of course your toddler won’t be ready to sleep, but start a little sooner the first few nights.


 

9. Be as boring as possible.

“Rumpus time is over.” -Step Brothers in case you didn’t catch that reference.  Remember my earlier tip about “pairing” well this goes for you, too.  If you put your toddler to bed and continue to be fun or talk to them, you are helping to teach the art of stalling!  Keep your voice mellow, say few words and basically just be boring.  I use the famous “pretend I am sleeping” tactic.


 

10. Stay consistent and strong.

No matter what, realize that you are going to be tired.  You will feel defeated and like you want to give up.  Sure, some kids make the switch flawlessly on the first night, but if your toddler doesn’t, don’t feel like you failed.  Keep doing your best and know that the frustration will fade but only if you stay consistent.  If you decide to yo-yo with your rules, the entire process will start over each time.  If you need strength, call someone to talk, rely on your spouse, try to get a nap during the day, etc.  It will get better!


 

Keep in mind, this isn’t black and white for every child or every family.  If you have a tip that you would like to share, please leave a comment here for other moms!

Don’t forget to share this with any moms you know who could benefit from it.  We want all the moms to survive!

Still struggling?  Feel free to email me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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