I approach every mothering milestone with apprehension, excitement, sentiment and chatter. Lots of chatter. I will talk about things until my husband, for the sake of his own sanity, stops listening. I even talked about our latest milestone with all of you – our beloved readers. In February, I shared pictures of toddler boy’s bedroom and shared that he would be moving to a bed soon. Well… Toddler boy is in a “big boy” bed!
All that apprehension, excitement, sentiment and chatter turned out to be really anticlimactic. Truth be told, they always are. I work myself up for no reason. Toddler boy has taken to his big bed with no fuss at all!
Seriously, sleeping through the night with no drama from the first night. Here’s how we did it:
Set Up the Bed
Since toddler boy is our youngest, we had the luxury of waiting for him to show interest in moving from the crib. For several weeks, he would crawl into preschool girl’s bed and pull up the covers while saying, “I seep here!” That’s a pretty clear sign. So, from there I did the same thing I did for preschool girl when she moved from the crib.
I set up the big boy bed, leaving the crib in its normal spot. Because we don’t have a dedicated guest room, my husband and I want each of our children’s rooms to have a full-size bed. So, we put toddler boy’s new mattress (actually preschool girl’s former mattress) on the floor and outfitted it with bedding from Pottery Barn and white sheets we already owned. My ace in the hole? Thomas the Train and Lightening McQueen throw pillows from Target.
After setting up the bed, I talked with toddler boy and told him that each night before bed he would have his choice. He could choose the crib or the big boy bed. If he chose the crib, he had to stay in it and not climb out (though that was more a problem with preschool girl). If he chose the big boy bed, he had to stay in it the entire night and he would sleep in it each night from then on. There would be no going back to the crib once he chose the big boy bed.
Choice at Bedtime
Like preschool girl, we gave toddler boy the choice to sleep in crib or bed the first night the bed was set up. When doing this with preschool girl, she chose the crib for at least ten nights before choosing the bed. The first night, toddler boy chose the crib. Not to fear, the big bed did not go unused.
On the second night, he chose the big bed! That was much faster than I anticipated. I lay down with him to say prayers and be with him until he fell asleep. At this point we had an unexpected meltdown, not from toddler boy, but from preschool girl. She was not happy that I was in his room and not hers, so my husband lay with toddler boy and I left to read to and say prayers with our girl.
Disassemble and Remove the Crib
Alex slept through the night and the next day my husband disassembled the crib. Sniff. Sniff. I also moved the new bed into the spot formerly occupied by the crib.
Set Up Gate
The night toddler boy chose the big bed, we also installed a safety gate at the entrance to his room. There are many things throughout the house that could harm him should he get up and roam throughout the night, so this is to keep him safe. Because his bedroom is on the second floor of our home, this is one of two gates we have installed. We have another in the hallway just prior to the stairs. Safety.
We learned with our daughter that a gate also helps later, when they get bolder. Toddler boy stays in his bed as instructed at this point, but my husband and I know the “do as I’m told” stage ends really quickly. We anticipate several nights in our future when he will pop up out of bed many, many times before falling asleep.
Next? Potty training. Should I chat about that with you?
What did you do when moving your child from crib to bed? What are your thoughts on toddler bed vs. real bed? How did your child(ren) respond?