Transitioning from Crib to Bed

Transitioning from Crib to Bed

Transitioning your child from crib to bed is a big occasion for both parent and child – it marks an important milestone in your child’s emerging independence. It’s helpful to remember that timing is everything and making sure your child is ready is key. Children will be ready for this transition at different ages so you’ll need to know what to watch for to help you gauge when the time is right. Be attentive to your child’s verbal and non-verbal signs at bedtime and in the morning for clues as to whether or not he’s ready to make the transition.

The most obvious sign is if your child starts trying to climb out of the crib. This can be a scary proposition for you and your child because taking a fall in the process is likely. Remind your child that it would hurt to fall and take this as a sure sign to start planning the transition. Some children are less adventurous and feel safe and comfortable in their cribs. There’s no need to rush. Listening to and knowing your child are the best ways to time this big move.

Here are some ideas on how you and your child can make the crib to bed transition successful:

Safety first. Once your child makes the move to a bed, it is important to revisit child proofing her room. Just knowing she can get in and out of bed whenever she wants means you need to take a close look at the room and other areas of the house that could potentially become dangerous if you’re not there to supervise. You’ll want to make sure all outlets have covers on them, cabinets are locked and child gates are up in areas you don’t want her to go – this is especially important for houses with stairs. Additionally, if there isn’t a night light in the room, be sure to leave a hallway or bathroom light on in case your child wakes up and decides to wander.

Plan together. One way to help your child ease into the move from the safety of his crib to a bed is to involve him in the process. This can include asking him to help you choose bedding, a pillow to sleep with, or even a nightlight for the room. Making your child a part of the process will help him to feel like he has some control over the big change that is happening in his life.

Be consistent. Keeping your nighttime routine the same, even in the middle of this big transition, will make things a lot smoother for you and your child. Consistency and routines are soothing to children and give them a sense of security which helps when faced with a big change like this. Try to be as consistent as you can in what you tell your child when she wakes up in the middle of the night and comes to you room. It’s best to gently walk her back to her bed and tell her she needs to stay there and sleep until it’s time to get up in the morning. Be ready to do this until your child understands this new part of her bedtime routine.

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