Moving your little one to a big kid bed is a momentous occasion! This milestone brings new found freedom to your little cutie. However, their ability to now freely roam your home can also be a game changer for your family’s sleep.
Here are some recommendations to help you plan for the big day:
1. Consider your child’s age.
Because of my training on sleep and child development, I’m in the camp that says to wait as long as you can before the transition. Barring your child climbing out of his crib head first, try to keep them in there until at least 2 ½. At that time, kids can usually understand that they need to stay in their bed all night. Most kids move out by age 3, yet others are happily sleeping in cribs until they are 4.
Make a big deal out of this milestone. Have your child pick out fun bedding, anything they like. Explain that this is a big kid privilege and that there are rules that big kids are capable of following. For example, when she is in her bed, it is expected that she stay there. Offer a small, but impactful reward for her compliance.
3. Begin slowly.
Most children like to know what to expect. Easing them into a big change will get them used to the idea. For example, you can begin taking the side of her crib off or leaving it down. (Either way, you may want to put some extra padding on the floor for safety). Or you can move a bed into her room with her crib or put her bed where her crib stood. Placing the bed in the corner can give mimic some of the cozy confinement that a crib provides.
4. Gate off his room.
This can serve as not only a safety precaution (to keep him from wandering around the house in the dark) but also as a gentle reminder to stay in bed all night long. It’s also worth mentioning to make sure his bedroom is thoroughly child proofed to prevent any harm that can be caused by things like early morning playtime and curiosity.
5. Set a wakeup signal.
There are many light-up clocks on the market that can help your child know when it’s acceptable to get out of bed in the morning. Some show a moon for sleep time and a sun for wake time. You can also simply set an inexpensive appliance timer to turn on a lamp to denote morning time.