Making the Big Move

You’ve been looking forward to it. Or maybe dreading it. You know you can’t keep her in the crib much longer. But what if he doesn’t like his new big boy bed? What if she doesn’t want to sleep there? What do you do when your toddler doesn’t take to the idea of giving up the crib for the bed?

“You’re a big boy,” or “you’re such a big girl now,” are usually among the most powerful weapons in a parent’s arsenal. But even still, they’re often not enough to overcome the anxiety our little men and women feel when it’s time to move outside the familiar walls of the crib and into the toddler bed.

We don’t know about you, but it seemed like we couldn’t keep our baby in the crib. It came as sort of a shock that he didn’t want to sleep in the toddler bed, because we had to watch him like a hawk to keep him from climbing out of the crib.

Twice we were wakened from a dead sleep by a thud. Once it was followed by toddler giggles. The other time by toddler screams. We’re guessing the response was determined by the body part that hit the floor. In either case, we didn’t find it funny.

In our case, our toddler was only about twenty months old. And everything we had read up until that point led us to believe we were supposed to have a couple more months before we needed to worry about our son climbing out of the crib. Sometimes developing ahead of schedule isn’t such a good thing.

So, enter the toddler bed. If your child is like ours, be ready for it to take some time for him to get used to it. Here are some tips for helping her make the transition:

  • Transition things one at a time. Don’t give him a new bed in a different room with new sheets and blankets. Most toddlers won’t respond well to that much change all at once. Put the bed where the crib was. You can move it later.
  • Surround him with other familiar things. A favorite teddy bear or her favorite blanket are examples of things that make other changes easier for her.
  • Some toddlers respond well to picking out their own bedding. If you try this, though, be ready to switch back to the crib’s bedding.
  • Use a toddler bed. That way, you can use the same mattress your child has grown used to. The feel and smell will be familiar to him, even if the sights aren’t.