If your little one has found a way to escape from the crib even when the mattress is in the lowest position possible, it is a good time to move from the crib to a bed.
Falling down and getting hurt is a risk that can occur once toddlers learn the tricks that allow them to climb down from the crib. Now, the good news is that most children are happy to make the change to a “big kid” bed. Perhaps your little one will even agree with you that he should stay in bed all night. Nevertheless, this transition involves a big change, so reinforcing bedtime rules and routines becomes a crucial step in avoiding those dreaded nighttime visits.
Reinforcing the bedtime routine
- First of all, make sure your child is not sick, does not need to use the toilet (if he is potty trained) and that you are not going through a major transition such as welcoming a new baby.
- If you don’t have a bed just yet, don’t worry. For now, you can temporarily place the crib’s mattress on the floor.
- Celebrate this new milestone together and praise him for growing up. If you make a big deal about this new change, the transition will be more attractive to him.
- Continue following the same bedtime routine as always but do not forget to add this last step: tell your child that he should stay in bed until you come for him in the morning.
- Once your toddler is lying down in his bed and you have completed the routine, praise him for following the instructions, give him a big kiss a hug and gently leave the room.
- Don’t forget to tell your little one you’ll look out for him at night. This will give him a sense of tranquility and safety.
- Finally, if your toddler wakes up and leaves his bed, make sure to take him right back to his bed quickly and in the most boring way possible. The first night might pose many unsolicited visits but if you remain firm and consistent in taking him back to his room, your little one will learn to stay in bed at night.
Preventing bedtime battles
We are not going to lie, at first you’ll probably need to repeat the phrase “you can not get out of bed until morning” until you feel like a broken record. Try to remain calm, this is perfectly normal, your baby is simply enjoying his newfound freedom. Now, if you want your baby stay in your bed all night, try to ignore his protests, stand firm and strengthen the bedtime routine with positive praise when he sleeps in his bed all night. Remind him that the rules include all family members to sleep in their own bed until morning (with the exception of getting up to go to the bathroom). Finally prevent letting your toddler sleep in your bed or stay with the family past his bedtime if you do not want this to become a habit.
Tips for a successful transition
- Place a night light in your little one’s room.
- Incite your toddler to take one of his stuffed animals to bed with him if he does not do this yet.
- Invite him to choose his sheets, duvet and even his bed!
- Use a chart of achievements where you can place a sticker every time your little one stays all night in bed.
- If you can, get a clock that changes color when you can get up.
Keeping my baby safe
Now that your bedroom is easier to access, verify that there are no toys on the floor or placed where they pose a hazard. If you live in a two-story house, ensure access to the stairs is blocked. Finally, try not to buy bunk beds since studies have reported that they cause accidents and head injuries.
Hopefully this information helps you on this important transition. Remember that the process can be tiring and difficult, but we know you can achieve it! Always follow your instincts and do what’s best for you, your baby, and your family; only you will know what is best.
For more information make sure you read:
Your Child’s Health by: Barton D. Schmitt