Deciding to start the transition from a crib to a bed was no easy task for us. We went back and forth, and ultimately made the decision to switch Oliver to his toddler bed at 22 months.
We were given a twin toddler bed for Oliver and placed it in an empty guest room. I wanted to give Oliver the opportunity to become comfortable with the new bed and prepare him for the transition. Not only did we have a toddler bed ready for Oliver, but I knew I wanted to start the transition before baby #2 came along. We wanted to avoid buying another crib, so this was crucial!
Personally, the decision made me a little wary. I was nervous for his safety in a new room, new fears arising and new insecurities.
These are a few tips that helped us ease him in to the transition:
1. Accessibility: We set up the twin bed in an empty room. At some point during the day, Oliver would run to his “new room” and lay on the bed. I would lay with him and read or talk to him explaining that he was going to start sleeping in this bed soon. I’m not sure if any of this worked, but it helped out transition.
2. Safety: The bedroom remained empty, with only the twin bed. I placed the baby monitor in his bedroom so we could keep an eye on him. I was apprehensive to place any other furniture in the bedroom with the chance of Oliver to start climbing. Also, we installed cordless blinds and a bed rail. I tried to think of the smallest of things that still needed to remain baby-proof.
3. Comfort: Since Oliver was around 3 months old, we introduced a muslin blanket (these are our favorite!) and a bunny lovey. The blanket is perfect and lightweight for all seasons, and the lovey was gifted from our baby shower. He took to them right away and now they are necessities at bedtime. I made sure he had these his first night in the toddler bed.
4. Routine: We try to keep Oliver on a routine during the day and especially for bedtime. This includes a bath, bottle (or cup of milk) and a few books. Our first night trying out the new bed was a day that he actually skipped an afternoon nap, so I knew he was going to be very drowsy. We kept our routine the same, he grabbed bunny & blanket and laid down in his new bed.
5. Persistence: After making sure all of the above was met, the key to success was persistence. The first night, Oliver got out of bed twice and I immediately picked him up, put him back in bed and shut the door. I didn’t say anything to him or do any comforting because I wanted him to know that this was where he was sleeping. After placing him in bed for the third time, he laid right down and fell asleep. Persistence is a must. I wanted to remain firm with our decision to transition him so we needed to remain calm and stick with our plan.
We still have our evenings of a rough bedtime and it took longer to transition his nap time into the toddler bed. But I’m happy to say that after two weeks, Oliver is fully transitioned into his toddler bed! Now on to potty training!
What age did you start your toddler in a new bed? I would love to hear what worked for you!