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Tips for Transitioning Your Child from Crib to Bed

Almost every set of parenting tips encourages parents to.

By
Cherylyn Feierabend,
May 25, 2007
Episode #016

Tips for Transitioning Your Child from Crib to Bed

Tips for Transitioning Your Child from Crib to Bed

Almost every set of parenting tips encourages parents to stick to routines. Children are much more comfortable when their schedules and surroundings do not change. Yet, there comes a time when one of your child’s biggest comforts will have to change: the big move from crib to bed. You child’s crib might still feel very safe, but the time will come when the crib will no longer be able to contain him. He might decide to climb out or maybe he’s just too big for it now. Whatever the reason, it may be difficult to predict how your child will react to this change. He might be excited or happy about it, or he might feel scared. I’d like to share some tips that may help to make the transition a little bit smoother for everyone.

How to Prepare Your Child to Sleep in a Bed

Start by preparing your child for the move. Let him know that he’s going to be moving to his new bed soon. If you’ll be buying a new bed, be sure to bring your child along to “help” pick it out. Let him pick out some new sheets for his “big boy” bed. The idea is to get him excited about the move. In the days before the move, you will need to go over the childproofing in the room. Make sure that the outlets are covered and any large furniture is mounted securely to the wall. If he already plays in his room quite a bit, then you’ve probably childproofed it well, but it’s a good idea to go through the room to double-check for any possible hazards. Your child will be getting out of his bed on his own now, and he’ll need to be able to see where he’s going. If the nightlight is dim, you might consider a small lamp to brighten the room a little more. You may also want to invest in a gate. You can put the gate in your child’s doorway and let him know that it is there for his safety. This way his door will remain open, but he won’t be entirely free to wander.

What to Do the First Night

When the time comes for your child to sleep in his new bed for the first time, you should stick to his normal routine as closely as possible.

When the time comes for your child to sleep in his new bed for the first time, you should stick to his normal routine as closely as possible.

If you always read him stories before bed, continue to do so. Now you can snuggle up on the bed with him during story time. If picking up toys is not already part of your routine, now is a great time to start. Have your child help you put away any toys around the room. This will decrease the chance of someone stepping on or tripping over something in the middle of the night.  If your child has a favorite doll or stuffed animal, you might want to have him put his “baby” to bed while he’s getting ready to go in his own bed. Sometimes this will help to take a child’s focus off of the changes in his surrounding and also make going to bed more fun. You child might want you to remain with him longer than normal the first night. Try not to give in too much. If you stay longer the first night, be sure to cut back each night until you are only there for the length of time you desire. It’s wonderful to spend time with your child, but your child needs to fall asleep on his own.

Quick and Dirty Tips for Transitioning From Crib to Bed

Now, I’d like to share a few quick tips I’ve heard from other parents.
Don’t move your child to the big bed too soon. If he is content in his crib, his size isn’t an issue, and you don’t need the crib for a new baby, let him stay in the crib until the move becomes a necessity.
Once you’ve moved the child to a bigger bed, take down the crib right away. Your child is less likely to ask to sleep there if it’s gone. If you need the crib for a new baby, moving your older child to his new bed a couple of months before baby’s arrival might help to alleviate any possible jealousy issues.
Consider starting your child out by sleeping on a mattress on the floor, then moving him up to the bed.
Once your child is sleeping in a regular bed, be sure to put a railing on the side to prevent him from rolling off the bed.

I have one final tip for you before I go. If you do not want your child to sleep in your bed with you, don’t let him. Once you let your child sleep with you, they could very well want to stay there. This is fine if you are comfortable with a family bed situation, but if you aren’t, be sure you don’t give your child the option. Sleep is important for everyone’s health and well-being. The more comfortable each individual in the home is at night, the better chance you will have of everyone getting a good night’s sleep.

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That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed listening.

The Mighty Mommy’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at  QuickAndDirtyTips.com.   This week Grammar Girl is talking about formatting lists, so be sure to check out her podcast!

This is your friend, the Mighty Mommy wishing you happy and fun parenting!

Crib image from Shutterstock

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