Once you have determined that is time to move your child from his or her crib to a bed, the next question you are faced with is “how?” While there is no one best way, there are some things you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible. Here are some suggestions:
- Help your child adopt a transitional object. Chances are your little one already has a favorite sleeping companion (such as a blanket, stuffed animal or book). Maintaining the same physical surroundings as much as possible will help your son or daughter adapt more readily to the new bed.
- Have a regular bedtime routine. This will come in handy during this big transition. While the location of your child’s slumber may be new, all the events leading up to it can remain the same.
- Let her have some say in the selection of bedding. While you don’t have to let her design the whole room, some choices, such as color or style, will help her feel a part of the whole process.
- Talk about the upcoming change. Ask questions such as “What do you like about your crib?” and “What will you like about a big boy bed?” Help him talk through and express some of his feelings about the transition.
- Have the crib and bed set up in the room simultaneously, if space permits. Allow your child time to “try out” the new bed during quiet time or rest time. How long you allow this phase to go on is an individual choice. Some children may need that extra push to say goodbye to the crib.
- Establish and discuss new rules regarding nap and bed time. Clearly communicate what you expect once he is tucked in. Some families allow the child to come to the door if they have a need. Others do not allow their children to leave the bed. Whatever you decide, be consistent. If your child has broken a rule, kindly remind him and return him to the place where you would like him to be before answering the question or responding to the need.
- Decide on a specific day and allow your child to help dismantle the crib. He can hold the screws as they come off or get tools for mom or dad. This will help reinforce that he is, in fact, a big boy now. Do this in the morning so that the first trial run of the new bed is at nap time rather than bedtime.
Moving your child from her crib to a big bed is a significant transition – a transition that signifies the end of one chapter in her life and the beginning of a new one. Using some of these suggestions will help make sure that she smoothly gets from one to the other.