Transitioning to a “Big Kid” Bed

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Every child is different, so it’s tough to say when the right age for putting your little in a “big kid” bed is. We chose to switch Little into his toddler bed first, and then into a double bed, around 18 months-which according to a lot of friends and family, was apparently early. We just felt like he was ready, and it ended up being a smooth transition for us.  Here are some signs your little might be ready for a big kid bed, and we’ll follow it up with some tricks and tips that worked for us.

  1. Your child is closer to 3. Some parenting gurus will suggest you wait until as close to 3 as you can, because the younger they are, the harder time they may have with the change. You want your little to understand that their bed is a comfy, cozy haven, and if you force them out of the crib and into a bed before they’re ready, it could back fire on you. The closer they are to 3, the more understanding they may have of the upcoming change. Go shopping for a “big kid” bed together, or make a party out of turning their crib into a toddler bed with special new blankets-whatever works to get them excited.
  2. Your child is simply too big to sleep in the crib. Every crib has its limits, weight and height. If your child is getting to the point that the crib isn’t necessarily safe anymore, it may be time for a change.
  3. The crib just won’t contain them anymore. This is generally the most common reason as to why care givers will choose to put their little into a bed and out of the crib. If they’re jail breaking out every night-it might be best just to do the switch.

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Here are some tips that helped us with our transition and for the hubby and I to feel comfortable falling asleep at night knowing Little wasn’t in any danger.

  • Anchor down any heavy furniture or remove it from the room. We anchored Little’s dresser to the wall and tested it ourselves to make sure if he decided to pull all the drawers out, the entire unit wasn’t going to tip over onto him. We also tip tested his change table (which was recently removed cause he figured out how to climb it).
  • Remove anything you don’t want little hands to touch. When Little was in a crib, I had kept a basket of lotions and homeopathic medications etc on a shelf on his change table. We made sure that came out as soon as he was loose to avoid any disasters.
  • Use a baby gate across the doorway. We considered locking his door at night-but that made me uncomfortable in case there was an emergency. Plus, it might freak a lot of littles out to have their door closed at night. With the gate, we knew he was contained in his bedroom, but also he could hear and see us.
  • Make sure all outlets are covered and that they can’t remove the covers.  This one is kind of common sense. 😊
  • Use bed rails, a pool noodle or cushions on the floor-cause they’re going to fall out.- We chose to save money and put some old chair cushions on the floor in case he fell out-and he did. Friends of ours also suggested a cut pool noodle tucked under the fitted sheet-which I thought was genius. Or you can go with the classic bed rails, which can be used on convertible cribs and larger beds.
  • Be ok with the fact that you might find them sleeping on the floor, chair etc. A few nights for the first little bit, we’d find Little asleep standing near his rocker, reading books on the floor or in the corner with his toys. We’d just scoop him up and tuck him back in.
  • It’s going to be tough. The first week was tough. Little thought it was a game and would constantly be out of bed. He’d come to the door and call for us downstairs. Some nights it sounded like he was having a party with his stuffies. But after about 5-7 nights, we’d tuck him in, and that was that. It’s just as much an adjustment for them as it is you-but it’ll get easier, trust me. 😊 we’d lay beside his bed and hold his hand, or rub his back, until eventually, he didn’t even need us to do that.
  • If you have a convertible crib, start with that, then go into a full bed.- we started by just taking the rail off the crib, meaning it wasn’t a drastic change, as it was still the same bed and sheets, etc-and let him get used to that for a few months. Then we switched him into a double bed and let him help pick new bedding, which the second transition went fairly seamlessly. You can bite the bullet and go straight to a new bed, but starting slowly might help the transition a little bit.

Don’t feel pressured to move your child out of the crib before you feel they’re ready just because a lot of your friends have switched their kids already. If your little is still safe and happy in their crib, leave them in there. Do what you feel is best and safest for your family.

Sweet dreams. 😊

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