This post contains tips on how our 2.5 year old son transitioned from crib to big bed successfully.
Last year when our daughter turned three we decided to surprise her with a big girl bed. That decision was probably one of the worst ones we’ve made so far in our parenting careers. She showed no signs of being ready at all. By not involving her in the process it ultimately backfired on us. When she saw what we had done she actually demanded we put it back. We’ve had our ups and downs since then (mostly downs) and she currently comes in sometime during the night to crawl into her toddler cot next to our bed. She didn’t handle the surprise well at all and felt like a sense of her security was stripped away. So as you could probably imagine, I’ve been petrified to convert our 2.5 year old. But this time we did things differently and I’m pleased to say that he has handled the transitioned from crib to big bed quite well.
Here are the steps we took to prepare him prior to the switch:
We asked him.
Yes that’s right. We asked our two year old if he wanted a big bed [like his sister’s]. The first mistake we made with our daughter was not asking her if she was ready. Most kids at this age understand quite a bit and even if they may not be able to verbally express their readiness they will find a way to let you know whether it’s a good idea or not. In our case, he nodded his head to agree and said “big bed!”.
We knew we wanted to build his bed, Montessori floor bed style. He’s quite independent and we wanted him to continue to feel this way even with his big bed. While he is very low to the ground, we still took safety precautions and installed a swing down crib rail. We would always see him with his legs up on the side of the crib so having this extra security would keep him from getting hurt. The Regalo crib rail is easy to install and comes in regular length, XL, two sides, and with a swing-down option. Since the bed is up against the wall we only needed the single rail.
There’s also a sense of security kids feel being in a crib and surrounded by four sides. When we took down that security from our daughter’s bed she almost instantly became afraid of the dark and other imaginary things. Prior to that she was completely content in her crib, awake or asleep. Having the Regalo crib rail on one side adds a sense of security as he transitioned into a big bed.
We involved him.
Because my husband only had a few days here and there to build his bed our son was able to watch the process and actually be involved. We let both of the kids out in the garage with us while we painted with brushes of their own. The day my husband put it together, he was there. He watched the entire thing and was able to test it out immediately. We put his blankets and pillows in there together and kept the environment extremely similar to his old crib.
We kept his bedtime/naptime routine exactly the same.
Nothing except his bed changed. My children thrive on routine and if we break it for any reason there’s always repercussions. For this reason alone, we did not mess with his routine. Each night I still rock him for a few minutes in the chair before putting him in bed. I will continue to do this until he no longer wants it. (My daughter stopped me early from this.)
Transitioning from crib to bed has been a huge success for us this time around! He has not attempted to get out of his bed and will stay in his bed until we go get him. If you have any other tips for moms thinking about making the switch leave them in the comments below!