I wasn’t ready to move my 20 month old into a toddler bed but apparently she had other plans. A few weeks ago I heard a massive thump coming from my toddler’s bedroom and ran in to find her standing outside of her crib smiling at me. She’d mastered the art of climbing out of her crib.
I was still in denial so I decided to cross my fingers that it was a one-time thing and keep her in the crib. The next day I came in to find her standing on top of her changing table. Ready or not, it was time to move to a toddler bed… and double check that all the furniture was bolted to the wall.
Transitioning to a toddler bed can be tricky though. Even though this is my 4th time around, we had to try some new tricks. This is what worked for us.
Keep the Same Comfort Items
Toddlers get stressed out if there is too much change at once. Despite the fact that you are transitioning to a toddler bed, do your best to keep everything else the same. Keep the same blankets, stuffed animals, and anything else that is normally in your toddler’s crib.
Put the Toddler Bed Where the Crib Was
The key to smooth transitions is to change as few things at a time as possible. There’s time to rearrange furniture later but while your toddler is adjusting to a toddler bed put the toddler bed in the same place that the crib was to keep things simple for your toddler.
Keep the Same Bedtime Routine
The first day my toddler tried to take a nap in her toddler bed I decided that I needed to sit next to her until she fell asleep. Big mistake! That was so far from her regular routine where I stick her in the crib and shut the bedroom door that she thought it was playtime. She didn’t even have a nap that day. I had a lot more success the next day when I put her in the toddler bed and left her own her own to fall asleep.
The first few days transitioning to a toddler bed can be tricky. My toddler was thrilled to death that she could climb in and out of her bed (without the extra acrobatic moves). It was a novelty to her… so she kept doing it. That made nap time and bedtime way too much work for both of us.
I had to be firm and let her know that when it was time to sleep she had to stay in her bed. To do that, I’d tuck her in and give her a kiss the first time I put her in her bed. Every time she got out after that I’d simply pick her up and lay her back in her bed without talking or making eye contact. It didn’t take long for her to figure out that I wasn’t giving in.
Transitions of any sort are always hard. There’s going to be a period of adjustment. Just remember that it does get easier. Stick to it and remember that it’s just a phase. Reward yourself with chocolate in the meantime.
What tips do you have for transitioning to a toddler bed?