Just one month before my son’s second birthday, the day I had been dreading finally came. As I watched on the baby monitor, I saw my son lift his leg over the railing of his crib and slowly climb down to the floor. I tried to lay him back down but it was useless, now that he was free he was ready to explore on his own. He may have been ready, but I wasn’t! I feared that naps were a thing of the past but before long, Artie was sleeping in his new bed every night AND at naptime! Use these tips for transitioning to the toddler bed so you don’t have a third companion in your bed at night!
Get The Energy Out!
This one is first on the list for good reason. If your little one hasn’t gotten their energy out, they certainly aren’t going to be willing to lay down. Chase them, play hide and seek, get outside, and do whatever it takes to get them RUNNING!
Never put your toddler to bed on an empty stomach, otherwise you will be fighting a losing battle. I always give my son a little yogurt before his nap and bedtime. It fills him up if he didn’t get enough to eat and it’s a part of his routine, so he always knows yogurt means bedtime.
Let Them Explore
Once your toddler can climb out of their crib their bedroom will become a whole new world to explore. They spent months looking through the bars of their crib and now they will want to check it out on their own! If your little one gets out of bed, give them some time alone to explore their space. My son did this for a while but eventually the novelty wore off, and now he stays in his bed every time I lay him down.
Before letting your toddler roam around their room, make sure it is safe and toddler proof. You may also want to consider removing any toys from their room. This will prevent your toddler from getting out of bed to play. The less entertaining their room is, the less likely they will be to leave their bed.
Create The Perfect Sleep Environment
Most importantly, make sure your toddler has a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Next, use blackout curtains and a sound machine to encourage your toddler to sleep, especially for naps. The sound machine will actually help them sleep away from home too, the room they sleep in will always sound like home!
If you haven’t already, introduce a lovey or attachment object to help them feel comfortable in their new bed. The new bed may seem bigger and less protective than the crib, so having something to snuggle with can help your toddler adjust.
Establish A Routine
Before you transition to the toddler bed have a bedtime routine in place. We usually have dinner, bath, read a book, and then lay down for bed! Having a routine established will provide comfort to your toddler when they make this huge transition to their new bed.
Start talking about the new bed before you make the change. We read this book to Artie to help him get excited about moving to his “big boy bed”!
Keep naps and bedtime at the same time each day so your toddler will know what to expect. Try to keep your toddler sleeping in their room, otherwise they will want to sleep in your bed every night! Help them get used to sleeping in the same place at the same time.
Don’t Use Bedtime As A Punishment
Never use bedtime to discipline your child, otherwise they will associate bedtime with being punished. This could lead to a tantrum every time bedtime approaches.
It may take some time to figure out what works for your toddler. While Artie was adjusting to his new bed there were times he wanted to be rocked, times he wanted to sleep with an extra stuffed animal, and there were even times he fell asleep on the floor. This is a huge change for your child so you may have to bend the rules a little while they learn to sleep in their new bed.
Don’t Give Up!
So many friends and family members told me that once their child climbed out of their crib, they started sleeping in their parents’ room. I was determined not to let this happen. As much as I love snuggling with Artie, I didn’t want to spend the next three years sharing our bed. It was a challenge, and there were fights, but within a few weeks Artie was loving his new bed! He sleeps through the night and still takes naps. I am happy to say our transition to the toddler bed was a success!
If you enjoyed these tips for transitioning to the toddler bed, you can find more Toddler Tips here!
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