Transitioning to the toddler bed
Children have to move from the crib or family bed to their own toddler bed at some point. This is a trying time especially for the kid and it may take a while for her to get used to her new bed. Here’s how you can help make the transition easier.
Don’t make the transition too soon. Unless she constantly tries to get out of the crib and is likely to hurt herself in the process, wait as long as possible. Avoid making the transition at a time when the child is undergoing other changes such as potty training or when you are moving houses. The changes may too much for the child to handle all at the same time.
If the reason for the move is to make room for another baby, it helps to make the transition a few months before the new baby arrives. This gives her time to adjust to her new sleeping environment before someone else takes over her crib.
Create a bedtime routine for your child before the transition. After you’ve moved her to her bed, ensure that the same routine is maintained.
When it’s time for the big transition, let the child take part in selecting the beddings. Having her involved in this process can help get her excited about the change. If necessary, let her move with some of the things she used in the crib. You can also help prepare her for the switch by talking to her about it. Point out how cool having a “big kid” bed is. It helps to use some of her friends who sleep in their own bed as examples.
Note that the child is not used to the vast freedom offered by the toddler bed. Take the necessary precautions to protect the child from getting hurt as a result of falling off the new bed. For instance, as a safety precaution, you can place a mattress or pillows on the floor next to the bed so that if she falls she won’t be hurt. You can also use bed rails to keep her from falling. With this freedom she might also wander at night without you hearing her. As a safety measure, find ways of blocking the door such as placing a gate at the door or using door handle covers and knob protectors.
Put her to bed exhausted
With the transition, the child may find it difficult to fall asleep. In order to help her sleep quickly, take her to bed when she is tired. Encourage extra play during the day so that by bedtime she’s tired and sleepy.
Consistency and firmness helps the child adapt better to her new sleeping arrangement. If for instance during the first days she keeps getting out of bed, gently but firmly put her back in her bed. If she cries, stay and comfort her. To help her adjust, you can sit on her bed until she starts sleeping; gradually moving your sitting position further away from the bed towards the door each time.