Transition from Crib to Toddler Bed

We are moving our 2.5 year old from her crib to a toddler bed very soon. She’s a stubborn and very independent child so we’re anticipating some resistance. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you have any tips or tricks that worked for you in the past?

Ooh, this is a tricky issue. I would say, involve her in the process of picking out her sheets and bedding (if not the bed itself) and maybe a new stuffed animal for the toddler bed. If she’s excited, it’ll probably be much easier. Tell her it’s time for the crib to take a rest, and pack it up and put it away somewhere. Talk about the bedtime and morning routine and how her new bed fits in.

That’s a good idea. She likes to help. Thanks!

Put a child proof thing on the inside of the door or a baby gate in the doorway so you don’t have to worry about her wandering the house at night. Both my kids made the transition pretty seamlessly and we didn’t really do anything fancy just switched the bed and explained they were sleeping there now.

The absolute best advice we received when we were making this transition a year ago was to keep the crib as a backup and let our twin boys choose for a while where they wanted to sleep. This allowed our adventurous son to dive right in to the big boy bed and allowed our more tentative son work up to making the transition on his own terms (it took about 4 days before he wanted to try it and about 2 weeks before he was there every night). The other bonus was that since they weren’t climbing out of their cribs yet, we explained to them that part of the deal was that they had to stay in their beds otherwise they would go right back in their crib. I think our adventurous kid ended up having to get back in the crib maybe 5 times (but surprisingly never because he actually left the room. The giggling combined with the lights flicking on and off were big tip offs that he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.) We left the cribs in their room about a month and then quietly packed them away once we had a solid routine. Oh and we also let them help us build their beds (and the doll beds they got at the same time for their stuffed animals) which I think gave them a sense of ownership and pride about the whole thing.

Another really useful tip we received (which we started at maybe 18 months so we had a bit of head start, but it could probably be worked into the transition to a big girl bed) was to have a ‘morning light’. Basically a light on a timer that turns itself on when it is officially morning (at whatever time works for your family). We bought an alarm clock light (two actually since the one we bought in the States that was specially made for kids didn’t work with the voltage here in [name_u]Sweden[/name_u] where we live), but a nightlight plugged into a timer would be a cheaper and equally functional solution. They know that they are not allowed to yell out for us or come out of their room (unless something is wrong) until it is the light comes on and it is ‘morning’. It has been 11 months since they made the transition to their big boy beds and only in the last month have they started coming out of the room AFTER the light has come on (never once before). It is actually amazing.

Good luck with the transition!! And it will probably go much smoother than you anticipate!

We switched my son well before his 2nd birthday, for his own safety, as he was throwing himself over the crib railing in an effort to get out. We didn’t use a toddler bed, but went straight to a twin.
To ease the transition, I removed the crib mattress from his crib and placed it on the floor in the same place his crib used to be. He slept on the crib mattress on the floor for about two months, which helped him learn to remain in his own bedroom during sleep time without any danger of falling from the new bed. When he got up at night, I would calmly walk him back to his room and lay him down.
I did not use a baby gate or anything to secure his door, as my bedroom is on a different floor, and I wanted him to be able to fetch me in the middle of the night. The idea of “locking him in” also bothered me, due to fire safety.
One day I had my mom come over and help me move in his new bed. I was a tad nervous about it, but we explained that because he was so big, and had done so well on his mattress, he got to have a new “big” bed. He was so excited and loved helping make the new bed. Once we had the bed all set up, he climbed up onto it, and proclaimed with his limited vocabulary “[name_f]Happy[/name_f].”
He did very very well, and only crawled out of or fell out of his big bed about three times. Now, at 2.5, it’s like it’s always been his bed.

Our biggest challenge was having her pop out of bed before even falling asleep, enjoying the liberty of the easy in-and-out. Best advice ever is to close the door, and put a child lock on the inside. When it was finally time for no more monkey business on any particular night, we’d say good night, let her know that we were right outside, but that the door is closing and she must go to bed.

After a few nights of having a fit, she figured out that when we close the door, we mean business, and it’s her job to go to bed.

Once she got that down, we used the door as an incentive- if you can stay in bed without leaving your room, the door can stay open. As soon as you come out, the door has to close. This worked as a charm, and still does.