Since Toddlers are Control Freaks, Let’s Talk About Transitioning to a Big-Kid Bed
Now that your baby is two whole years old – go ahead and sob about how fast the time has gone, we’ll wait – you may be wondering when to make the transition from crib to big-kid bed. (Or if you’ve been co-sleeping, you may be ready to kick him the hell out because you’re tired of taking a middle-of-the-night elbow to the face.) If he’s sleeping well in his crib and isn’t trying to climb out, there’s really no need to make the switch just yet – unless you’re expecting a baby who’ll need the crib, in which case you should transition in plenty of time so your toddler isn’t jealous that the new addition is taking over “his” bed.
Since toddlers enjoy nothing more than being in control, picking their own comforter and sheets may help bolster excitement over the new bed. But if she has a favorite pillow or stuffed animal that she already sleeps with, reassure her that she can keep those, too. If possible, put the new bed where the crib used to be, so that the environment will be the same. Also, make sure you keep the exact same bedtime routine as usual – the fewer disruptions in normalcy, the better.
The newfound freedom can be liberating for a toddler, and exhausting for you. The first few nights are almost always rough, but consistency is key, so hang in there. To minimize wandering, put your toddler to bed when he’s really tired. If he keeps getting out, gently but firmly redirect him back to bed. (You might have to do this dozens of times. Seriously.) You can start out by sitting in a nearby chair the first night, then gradually moving it toward the door until you’re eventually sitting outside the door.
Scary Mommy Tip: “Patience” is the watchword for transitioning to a big kid bed. If your toddler seems to be fine in the crib at this point, be patient and wait to switch. If you’re making the transition, be patient and keep putting him back into his own bed. It’s hard, but the more patient you are, the faster the whole process will go.