Toddler beds are so cute! And so is the bedding! All the fun options, have you looked at Ikea’s selection of toddler beds and bedding? To die for!
But let’s not jump the gun too quickly, because you know what isn’t cute? A toddler up at all hours of the night because they have the freedom to do so! Nothing makes a toddler move faster than an open door, gate or toilet seat! If ya know what I mean.
So how do we know when is the right time to make the transition?
Transitioning our little one to a toddler bed is and should be a rite of passage. This is a big step and we need to make sure that our children are not only physically ready but emotionally ready as well. Believe it or not a crib provides a lot of security to our little ones. It is confining, but in a comforting way. They know where the walls are and this makes them feel safe.
It also helps us to keep them safe. There is nothing scarier than the possibility of a toddler roaming around the house alone at night! I bet you know just where your toddler would head first. I had a friend who found her little girl sitting on the kitchen counter eating chewable vitamin C tablets. Because, obviously!
So before we talk about making the transitions, let’s talk about reasons not to transition your child.
1) Another baby is coming and you need the crib! Let’s think about this first, a new baby can be unsettling to a child. Suddenly there is another little person vying for your attention and not only are they getting your attention, but they have taken their crib! I know how it is to need to transition baby furniture. I had three children in under three years! I get it! I just bit the bullet and eventually wound up with two cribs and a pack n play. It is just a short season of life!
2) Your toddler is climbing out of their crib. One of the first things we learn as parents is not to reward unwanted behavior. But in a sense that is what we are doing when we give our children a toddler bed when they climb out of the crib. Now, I know what you are probably thinking. How in the world is it safe for them to be in their crib when they can climb out and hurt themselves? And yes, this is a valid concern that I will address in another blog post!
3) They are having sleep issues. I have had a lot of people start having sleep issues with their child and so they think transitioning to a toddler bed will help. But probably not! We need to make sure our children are good sleepers before we start changing things up!
So the first thing I tell parents when they ask about toddler beds is to wait until your child is old enough to ask for one! And when that happens, we need to make sure that they are capable of following sleep rules. Transitioning to a toddler or big kid bed is a privilege and should be accompanied by big kid behavior.
So if your child has met the above criteria, let’s talk about how we introduce this new bed!
1) Talk about it! This is a big deal! Let’s drag this one out a bit! Make it exciting and fun. Get the bed and go out and pick out bedding together.
2) Before the big night, sit and make a sleep rules chart. Get out all of your fun crafting supplies and some poster board. Talk all about sleep and how important it is. Explain how it makes us strong and gives us energy to do the things we love! Then ask your child what it is that we do to get ready for bedtime. Then write all of these things out in order. Don’t be afraid to get specific! Towards the end you can write things like “I lay down in my bed.” “Mom gives me a kiss.””I close my eyes and go to sleep.” If you are super crafty you can even take pictures of your child doing these things and put them on the poster board as well. But I am about as crafty as…….let’s just say my sister was the crafty one. So if that kinda stuff gives you a panic attack, never fear! Basic is good!
3) Call a family meeting! Now this might sound a little cheesy or you think, “Whats the point?” But I am tellin ya, it works! So gather everyone together! Mom, Dad, siblings, pets, baby dolls and transformers! Have your child show everyone their new sleep rules chart and have them explain it to everyone! Get a play microphone and pass it around. When the family meeting is over, go hang the chart in their room.
4) Get a tot clock. These are great little clocks that change color when it is okay for your child to get up. My favorite is the Ok to wake clock and you can get it on Amazon or Target.
5) Consider a gate. If you think your child will be okay with following the rules and boundaries you have set up then you will probably be fine. But You can choose to use a gate at the door if you want. A gate doesn’t need to be a negative thing. Just like the sides of a crib, the gate can give them a visual and literal boundary. This shows them where they can and can’t go. Let them decorate it and tell them that the gate reminds their feet to stay in bed!
6) Consistency and confidence will win! Remember that consistency and your unfailing confidence wins the day with sleep training!
So to wrap up. Don’t rush the toddler or big kid bed. There is plenty of time for it and there is no need to rush! But when the time is right, make a plan and stick with it!
I hope to Meet you all in Dreamland!