“When should my child move from a crib to a bed?” This is a common question and concern for parents. Moving from crib to bed is a big moment in your child’s life, and will inspire new behavior.
So I’ve put together a short video for you with some of my advice for parents on transitioning your child from crib to bed. If you’d rather read than watch, there’s a link to a full transcript below.View the Video Transcript
Dana Obleman: Hi. I’m Dana Obleman. Welcome to this week’s video blog. A question I get asked often is, “When is the best time to move a toddler from a crib to a big girl or a boy bed?” My favorite answer is to wait as long as you possibly can. I know that there’s some sort of strange competition with the other moms in the baby group about whose child’s gone from the crib to the bed, but trust me. If you wait, it will go much smoother than if you go too soon.
By waiting, I like to see kids as close to three as possible before you start making that transition, because I just find that a three year old has a better understanding of consequences. They can think things through a little bit better. They’re able to understand and communicate and on a higher level. It just makes the whole transition much smoother.
Now there are occasions when I suggest that maybe you not wait. That would be, if your toddler is showing signs that they’re ready to leap out of their crib head first and hurt themselves, then yes, I’ve had clients where we have to make that move.
First of all, wait as long as you can. If your child is happy in their crib and not showing any signs of needing or wanting to get out, then just be happy with that. That’s the safest place for them to be. They’re going to feel the most secure in their crib. Just let it go.
But if you just decide it’s time to make that transition, most people find that it goes really really well for the first week or two. I call that that honeymoon period, where your child’s just not sure yet. They’re going along with the rules. They’re doing really well with it.
That tends to wear off around the third or fourth week where now your child’s figured out that, “Hey, I can actually get out of this thing, and I can wander around my room. I can go see where mommy is.” That’s usually when the games and the trouble starts.
If you’re in that position now where bedtime used to be a dream, however now it’s an hour battle of the little one coming to visit you every five minutes, there are some things you can do to nip that in the bud.
My favorite strategy is to give one warning and then a consequence. If my little one came wandering out to find me, I would say, “I am right here. You cannot come out of your room again. If you do, this will happen.” You need to give a clear consequence.
One of my favorite consequences is what I call the locking of the door. I don’t literally mean you’re going to lock your child in their bedroom but by saying, “Listen. If you come out of your room again, I’m going to have to lock your door,” that sends a message that that is not a nice thing to have happen. They most likely will not like the idea of the door being closed all the way. It could be enough to just stop your child right in his tracks.
Chances are though, if you’ve got children like mine, they’re going to test you on that one. Out he comes again to give you a visit. You’re going to march him right back to his bed, tuck him back in, walk out and close the door tightly all the way. Just hold it. Even for 30 seconds is a great place to start.
That just really sends a message that if he continues to come out, something that he does not like will happen. I have really rarely met a toddler who enjoys the door being closed all the way on him. It usually only takes two, three, maybe four times before he decides, “You know what? I really don’t like that enough, that I’m going to stop coming out of my bed.”
Then you say, “You know what? If you’re going to stay, I’m going to leave the door open halfway.” For a lot of toddlers that’s very comforting to know that they can maybe hear you. They can maybe see some light coming in from the hallway. They prefer that.
If your child doesn’t seem to mind that the door’s being closed all the way on him, then you may need to go for something else as a consequence. It could be, “I’m going to take away your teddy bear.” Again you’re not going to take it away for the entire night but you are going to take it away for periods of time. Each period should be longer and longer each time so that it becomes uncomfortable enough that he’s going to stop that behavior.
Now one quick piece of advice before I say goodbye. Be very neutral in your conversations when this is happening. Most likely your child is doing this for attention. The more you talk, negotiate, get angry, and raise your voice, the more he may do this, because he’s getting a rise out of you. He’s getting lots of attention for this behavior.
You just want to be very very quiet. You don’t want to say too much at all. You’re going to give your warning. You’re going to give your consequence. That’s really all you’re going to do. This should solve the problem within a couple of nights. You may need to revisit it on occasion if he comes wandering out, but once you’ve set the consequence and been consistent with your warnings, he will know after the first warning that you mean what you said, and stop the behavior.
OK? I hope that helps. Thanks for watching. Sleep well.
As parents, one of the biggest concerns during the first few years of a…View Post
Bedtime resistance, night-time wakings, irregular sleep schedules, there’s no shortage of problems that can…View Post
So, listen. I'm not claiming that I was immune to the cuteness of my…View Post