When my oldest was 2 ½ my hubby and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to move her from her crib to toddler bed. Luckily, she knew she wasn’t ready and begged us to “fix her crib”! So, we put her back in the crib and she stayed there another year. I have to point out that my daughter is extremely cautious and never tried to climb out of her crib. At 3 ½ we asked her if she was ready for the change and she agreed. At this point she was excited that she was becoming a big girl in a big girl bed. I am so glad we waited that extra year because the transition was flawless! Well, sort of. At the time my oldest was 3 ½, my youngest was 2 ¼. Because they are so close in age, little sis wants to do everything big sis does. Little sis begged all evening to have a big girl bed too and threw fit after fit all night long (while big sis slept like a dream). When she just couldn’t stand it any longer (at 2:00am), little sis attempted her first jail break…and succeeded. Thinking it was a fluke; we put her back in her crib and repeated this over and over until morning. Well, the next day we had two kids in “big kid” beds. It was awful! My younger one took months to get used to the bed which meant many sleepless nights for mom and dad returning her time after time to her own bed. Moral of the story can be summed up in four little tips:
- Wait until your child is ready to make the switch from crib to toddler bed. Don’t push it. I would wait as long as possible (assuming your child is not climbing out and risking injury)! My cut off is kindergarten because they might get made fun of if they still sleep in a crib. 😉
- If you have a younger child who may want to follow in older child’s footsteps, be prepared with a crib tent. Oh, I am so NOT against these! I wish over and over that I would have bought one and kept my little one in her crib longer.
- Use a sticker reward chart for staying in their own bed all night, but also remind them that if they have a nightmare, ouchie, or need to go potty that they can leave their room.
- Commit to returning your child to their own bed whenever they climb in with you even if you are a zombie. It’s SO difficult to get out of bed and carry a toddler back to theirs in the middle of the night, but it will help them not form a poor habit because they are not getting what they want. I think this was one of our biggest downfalls with our youngest. We were just SO TIRED that there were times we let her just sleep with us. Well, you are even MORE tired when you haven’t slept well because you have an elbow, head or foot in your side and your toddler is a grumpy mess the next day!
Okay, mommas, good luck with the transition. Do you have any tips or stories from your toddler’s move from crib to toddler bed? Share in the comments!