Leaving the crib
Is it time to transition to a toddler bed?
When our 18-month-old son, supposedly napping in his crib, came strolling into the kitchen, we realized it was probably time to make the transition to a “big-boy” bed (even though it was a little earlier than we had planned).
Most children transition out of their crib between 18 months and 3 years … sooner if they are climbing out, later if they are perfectly happy in the crib. There are some bad times to make the transition: surrounding a move (new rooms are already scary) and when potty training (one big change at a time).
Some children handle the transition with no problems, others might have more trouble.
Here are some types of children you might find a little more challenging and how you can help them:
“One more story … one more stuffed animal … lay down for one more minute …”
Next thing you know, your bed time routine is two hours long and everyone is exhausted, plus you missed the window to vote for “The Voice.”
Set the expectations early. “We will read two stories; have two stuffed animals and two minutes of lay-down time.” When the bargaining starts, be firm and consistent and don’t give in.
The bedtime routine went smoothly, all was well but as you start to wrap up, you can see the anxiety building. As soon as you close the door … uncontrollable crying and screaming.
It is OK to go back in and reassure. Most of the time you can tell if they are truly scared. Stay a few minutes longer, and then try again. If this is every night, you might want to reconsider if this is truly a good time for the transition.
You hear little steps sneaking down the hallway or, you wake up in the morning with a child in your bed and wonder, “How did they get here?”
I recommend putting a child’s gate at the door of their room. Having a gate allows you to be in control of getting the child back to bed. You can walk to the gate and ask them to get back in bed without even going in their room. Make their room completely child proof so that if they get down and roam, they will be safe.
Hopefully your child’s transition to a toddler bed will be easy. If not, talk to your friends about how they did it or ask your pediatrician. They might have some helpful tips.
About the author
Justin Smith is a pediatrician and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. His interest in communications started when he realized that his parents were relying more on the internet for medical information. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” is set to open in Trophy Club in 2017.