Thursday, October 2, 2014
Toddler Transitions: From Crib to Toddler Bed
Recently we (my husband and I) decided to take the plunge and transition our little guy from his crib to a "big boy" bed. Luckily we purchased a crib that transforms into a toddler day bed, so there was no extra purchases needed (I'll also share an added plus to that in a minute). I wanted to share some tips and tricks that we found helpful in making this transition.
Let me provide some small background to this choice first. Our son is 16 months old. On a recent trip he got VERY close to climbing out of his pack and play and thus the conversation of when to make this change began. Personally I wasn't sure if he was ready or not but we figured it was worth a shot and if it went horribly wrong all we had to do was put the front of the crib back on. So here are some things we considered and did during this transition.
1. Make sure YOU are ready, and your little one.
Most blog posts about this will start off by saying something like "make sure your toddler is ready for this change, don't rush into it". And while that is completely correct, it's a lot more making sure the parents are ready than the toddler. I'm betting my son would have slept in his crib until he was 2 if we didn't bother. He never tries to climb out of the crib, just the pack 'n' play. However, in order to make going on vacations work without that bulky thing, he had to be use to sleeping in a bed, with accessibility to get in and out.
About a month ago J (little man) figured out how to get on and off the couches by himself, so at this point he is a master at knowing how to get on and off of things without falling face forward. To me, that is when a toddler is really "ready". Make sure they know well how to get on and off of furniture before exposing them to a bed without a rail.
2. Toddler Proof the room!
This is a big one, not only because of safety but, well okay it is all about safety. Make sure the room your toddler is in is toddler proof. That nothing is in the room they could get hurt on, or could fall on them. We had a small bookshelf and moved things around to make it fit in his closet. All that he has access to are his dresser drawers (with nothing in them) and a small toy box with only stuffed animals in it. We do have a full size bed and recliner in the room but both are taller and he can't reach to get on them at this point. We decided to leave stuffed animals in the room since they are not "overly stimulating" toys and he sleeps with several anyway, not like they are some big fun toy to play with.
3. Have a plan, and stick to it!
We decided to take the crib front off and make it a day bed the afternoon we got home from a trip to san diego, a 9 hour drive. The nice part of that was that J was tired from traveling so when bed time rolled around, he was ready to crash. We also picked a night where we had no plans the next day, just in case he decided to wake up and play all night long. To our surprise he didn't, and still hasn't. But make sure you decided when to do it and are prepared, what is that saying again? "prepare for the worst and hope for the best"...yeah, do that!
4. Keep your routine!
Stick to your normal bed time routine. just because the bed has changed doesn't mean the whole routine needs to as well. I still walk around the room for a couple minutes holding J and then lay him in bed. I don't let him climb into bed. That way it's not this production of "hey look, you can get in and out now!" (we did show him he could when we first set it up, but that was several hours before bedtime). Whatever the routine is, stick to it and act like nothing changed.
5. The extras (that are just as important)
some other things to consider are...
-Lay them down when they are tired, not before. If they are ready for bed that means less times you have to put them back in bed when they get out.
- If you do have to go back into their room to place them back in bed, don't make it a big thing. Pick them up, put them back in bed, say a VERY quick goodnight and leave! (Super Nanny suggests the same)
- Placing a pool noodle under the sheet at the edge works much better than a guard. those guards are made for big (twin and up) beds. A pool noodle is just high enough so they do not roll out but low enough that they can still get in and out of the bed with ease.
**Update after several months in a toddler bed:
Around night 5 or 6 J got down on the floor and slept and winded up under his bed some how, after that we took the bed apart and left the toddler mattress on the floor. After several nights J started sleeping on the floor...we debated constantly going in and putting him back in bed and after a while just decided he will eventually get back in bed. He slept on the floor for a good while (few weeks) but now he alternates and sleeps all over the room it seems. He still gets a good night sleep and we don't need to constantly go in and reset him in bed (we don't go back in his room unless he is really crying). He normally plays for a few minutes and then finds his pillow and blanket and goes to sleep. Overall the transition has gone very well and I am pleased that he now is able to sleep in a bed with no issues.
Until Next Time...