Regardless of whether you decide on a toddler bed first or head straight for a twin size, your baby is going to be leaving the four-walled safety of the crib at some point. The thought of this can leave us in an anxious place - how? How do we get our little guys and girls to stay safely in bed all night? Here are five tips to help you find your way:
1. Don't go too soon. A big kid bed is an exciting thing, and can be exciting for Moms and Dads too — perhaps even one of those things we might have a tendency to rush into. Because of this, be careful not to push your child into a big kid bed until they absolutely have to be in one. You want them to be as mature as possible, with a good sleep routine in place and ready to understand good boundaries.
2. Get your child involved in setting up their new bed. It may seem bizarre to let a toddler help you "hammer" or "build" the bed, when in actual fact they cannot really hammer and build the bed, but it will help them to get excited and feel like they are taking part in this transition, not just having the transition happen to them. You might even want to let them help you pick out some new, special bedding!
3. Clean their room before bed-time. This is absolutely key. You want the room to be free from competing distraction when it comes time to sleep. If everything that could be played with in the night is not visible, there will be no temptation to get up and play.
4. Keep the options to yourself. You might be really worried about their getting up in the middle of the night and roaming around the house, but remember, they have never been able to do this before - why should they think they can now? Don't go spilling the beans! Just assume they will stay in bed the whole night.
5. Be firm about boundaries. In the event he or she does go for a wander or get up to play, make it clear that this is not acceptable behavior from day one, using the gentle-but-firm way you communicate boundaries in your family. And be consistent! Don't make excuses like "well, she's scared tonight" or "he's had a rough day" and let wandering or refusal to sleep in bed happen as a result. You're not being an ogre! This is about gifting your child the pleasure of having a great night's sleep in a big comfy bed all to themselves. Remember that?
Got a tip to add? Be sure to share it below!