Family

How to move kids from a crib to a big bed

Author: Canadian Living

Family

How to move kids from a crib to a big bed

The transition from a crib to a big bed is a breeze for some kids, a difficult adjustment for others -- one of those junctures when good sleep habits can disappear and established routines can fall apart. It's not surprising. The child who has been comfortable in her crib now faces a whole new sleep environment, and that may suggest a whole new sleep agenda.

You may find, for instance, that your child feels unsure for the first few nights. "Lie down with me," she may suggest. If you do, you will have to wait until she is asleep before you can leave the room. If you try to leave the room before she is fully asleep, or if she wakes as you are tiptoeing out, you will just have to start the process all over again. Before you know it, that process will have become the new established bedtime routine -- just because your child and you treated the big bed as an "exception." Instead of staying until she falls asleep, reassure her that everything is fine and that you are close by. Then pop your head in every now and again to make both of you feel comfortable with this change.

Making the bed transition smooth
We have found that the best way to make the transition from crib to bed a smooth one is to keep your approach the same from one environment to the next -- same end-of-day routine, same bedtime ritual -- and to act positively about the new environment.

What's really new about the big bed, however, is that kids now have more options if they wake up in the night. They can get out of bed, leave the bedroom, and wander around the house in the middle of the night, whereas in the crib, their only real choice was to fall back asleep. One of the places kids can now wander is into your bedroom and your bed. This could create a whole new set of sleep problems for you and your child could end up in your bed every night.

In general, if your child has trouble adjusting to the new bed, we recommend going right back to the basics of creating good sleep patterns: calm environment, early and regular bedtime, the right sleep associations -- in other words, the Nanny Classic End-of-day Routine and the Nanny Classic Bedtime Ritual.

Page 1 of 2 - Read page 2 to find out how to get your child to sleep after she moves to a big bed
 



Excerpted from Nanny Wisdom: Our Secrets for Raising Healthy, Happy Children From Newborns to Preschoolers by Justine Walsh and Kim Nicholson. Copyright 2005 by Justine Walsh and Kim Nicholson. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori and Chang. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Here are some additional tips to ease the transition:
Make the change from crib to big bed only when your child really seems ready for it. Use a birthday or special occasion to proclaim that the child has reached this milestone.

Do not make the change during other major events -- for example, a new baby, a new house, the start of preschool, toilet training.

Be clear and firm about the "big-bed-rules":
- No getting up: children must sleep in their own bed all night until they see the morning sunlight
- No coming into your room -- except for a morning snuggle once they've seen that sunlight

Consider letting your child share a room with an older sibling; this can make the transition a lot easier, as the transitioning child will love being in the same room as her older sibling, while the older sibling presumably has already mastered the big-bed rules.

Place a guard on the side of the bed so your child won't fall out.

• If your child becomes anxious in the big bed, reassure her, but do not lie down with her until she falls asleep, and do not let her leave her room. Try playing a tape or CD of a bedtime story or soft music while she goes to sleep.

If your child goes out of bed repeatedly, gently take her back to bed each time, with minimal talking or interaction. Tell her it's sleep time now. If she becomes very upset and begins to cry, pat her back to calm her. If she asks you to stay with her until she falls asleep, tell her you will sit outside the bedroom door and check on her once she is asleep. If you use this approach consistently, she will soon stay in her bed, and once she feels comfortable you won't need to sit outside her door.

If your child gets up in the middle of the night and climbs into your bed, take her back into her room and put her back in bed straight away. Yes, we know it is hard to do this in the middle of the night, but it pays off if you do it consistently. If you let her share your bed even one time, it will become a hard habit to break. Limit the bed-sharing to morning snuggles.

Make sure the house is locked up and safe just in case your child goes wandering while everyone else is asleep.

• If you're purchasing a new bed, bring your child shopping with you, and involve her in the choice of bed.

Page 2 of 2



Excerpted from Nanny Wisdom: Our Secrets for Raising Healthy, Happy Children From Newborns to Preschoolers by Justine Walsh and Kim Nicholson. Copyright 2005 by Justine Walsh and Kim Nicholson. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori and Chang. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Comments
Share X
Family

How to move kids from a crib to a big bed

Login