Parents: Transitioning to a Big Kid Bed
For this Perry Hall family, the transition has been pretty smooth. Did I get lucky, or was he actually ready to become a big boy?
I said I would keep my youngest in his crib until he was around age 3, but plans are always changing. The first blow was the recall of the crib tent. And while my little monkey stayed put for a few weeks, he started climbing out occasionally during naps. I put a gate up against his door, so he was at least contained to "resting" in his room.
Then I recently found out I needed to have major surgery and would have lifting restrictions of no more than 15 pounds for three months. So, that meant I couldn’t pick up my chunky toddler and put him into his crib. So we made the decision to switch him to a big boy bed.
Our 28-month-old is now officially in a toddler bed.
The first night was a piece of cake! I thought, "Wow, he really was ready!" But actually we had been swimming all day, he missed his nap and fell right to sleep. The second night he got a stomach virus, and took aim at his brand new toddler bed and bedding, and made quite a mess of things. Yuck!
It wasn’t until the fourth night that he really figured out his new found freedom. He didn’t have to stay in bed and he didn’t need to sleep. So, it took a lot more effort to get him to bed. We've kept the gate on his door to ensure he can’t wander the halls or head down to the playroom at 3 a.m.
While he’s quite young, I think he understands that he officially has a big boy room. We redecorated in "Cars" bedding and accessories, and he’s quite proud to show it off when we have guests.
Bedtimes haven’t been too bad, but naptimes have been a struggle. But we’re all learning and my little one is finally getting into the grove of going to sleep in his bed.
The biggest issue is that he does fall out of bed probably twice a week. This makes me quite glad we bought him a toddler bed rather than transitioning him straight to the twin size bed we already owned. He only has about 8 inches to the ground, and some nights it doesn’t even wake him up! We just pick him up and cover him up.
I’m famous for sticker charts, and this seemed like a great excuse to implement one. My kids will do just about anything for a sticker. So I labeled a poster board "Good Night Hunter" and every time he goes to bed (nap or nighttime) and goes without hassle he gets a sticker when he wakes up. It’s the first thing out of his mouth—“Sticker, Mommy?”—which he proudly places on his chart.
Overall, we’ve had tremendous success where I feared we would fail miserably. My kids often surprise me often, and it sure gives me great pleasure that he is so proudly taking to his new room.
Now if the potty training would just get a little easier ... one battle at a time, I guess.
At what age did your child transition to a big kid bed? Did you use a gate or barrier to keep your toddler confined with his/her new found freedom?