Is Your Child Ready to Transition From a Crib to a Bed?
How To Get Baby To Sleep In Crib Longer
I’ve done it, maybe you did it, and certainly many of the parents I work with have done it: transitioning our children from their crib to a bed too early. It’s a big step and I thought it would be both exciting and easy (before I knew what I know now). I was wrong on both fronts. My daughter was anxious without the security of her crib rails. By switching her to the bed, she had freedom to not only leave her bed, but her room as well. This was certainly tiring at 3am when I had a little visitor, not to mention dangerous since she could roam around the house. I found myself having to teach her healthy sleep habits all over again. If I had asked myself, ‘how to get baby to sleep longer in the crib’, and waited until she was a little older to move her to a bed, it might have never been an issue and I wouldn’t have to ask ‘why can’t I sleep when they are in beds?’.
By switching her to the bed, she had freedom to not only leave her bed, but her room as well. This was certainly tiring at 3am when I had a little visitor, not to mention dangerous since she could roam around the house.
If you are thinking of transitioning your child from a crib to a bed, considering these tips first to avoid some bedtime headaches.
The best time to do the transition is when your child is at least 3 years old. As they get older they are able to understand rules and boundaries better, making the transition easier.
Are they developmentally and emotionally ready?
I often hear of parents who have transitioned their child to a bed because they tried to climb out of the crib. While it is dangerous, there are ways to prevent them from trying it again, including using a sleep sack, turning the crib around and removing any bumper pads or toys from the crib. The best time to do the transition is when your child is at least 3 years old. As they get older they are able to understand rules and boundaries better, making the transition easier. If you need the crib for a new baby, consider getting a second crib, or using a bassinet for the first few months to allow the older child to stay in the crib as long as possible. My twins just turned 3 and I have no plans to transition them to a bed any time soon. They love their cribs and there is really no reason to take them away!
Some people like to throw a “big kid bed” party to help them get excited about the change.
Allow them to participate in the transition.
Help your child get enthusiastic about the transition from a crib to a bed by allowing them to choose the bed, the bedding or where the bed is going to be located in their room. Some people like to throw a “big kid bed” party to help them get excited about the change. We want them to have good feelings about it and look forward to sleeping in their new bed.
Baby-proof their room.
Sounds silly to “baby-proof” their room now that they are no longer babies, but try to think like a toddler or preschooler would think now that they have all this freedom. Their room has now become a safety risk since they can get out of bed. Ensure heavy furniture is secured to the wall, and there are no dangerous items left around. Baby powder seems harmless in itself, but if left with an unsupervised toddler, they may use it to make snow! (Happened to my brother).
Ensure heavy furniture is secured to the wall, and there are no dangerous items left around.
To reduce the risk of them falling out of the bed, put the mattress and box spring directly on the floor, and put guardrails up on the bed. Also consider putting up a child safety gate at their bedroom door to prevent them from wandering through the house at night. It also discourages the early morning visitors!
Be firm and confident right from the get-go to avoid creating any bad habits that you don’t want to continue.
How to put a baby to sleep in the bed – Establish rules right away.
Once you’ve made the transition, set bedtime rules and expectations that very first night. Be firm and confident right from the get-go to avoid creating any bad habits that you don’t want to continue. If you do things like lying down with them while they fall asleep, they’ll expect you to do it every night. Create a list of sleep rules, read it to your child every night, and praise them every chance you get if they have followed the rules. We want to encourage the good behaviour and set them up for many peaceful nights ahead.
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Jenn Kelner is a mother of three children, including twins, and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. Just as every family is unique, Jenn supports many different sleep methods and works directly with families to design a solution that will help them become well-rested, happy families.