With a new baby on the way and only two bedrooms and one crib in the house, it will soon be time to do a little reconfiguring in our little people sleeping arrangements.
Although I can hardly believe that my baby boy is old enough, he will be turning two shortly before our new baby arrives on the scene, which can only mean one thing:
It’s time to say bye-bye to the crib for my little man.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little more than nervous about making the transition, but luckily, we have been through this before and I plan on using a few tricks of the trade to make the transition into the toddler bed as smooth as possible:
1. Involve your toddler. When we knew it was time to switch our then 2-year-old into a toddler bed before her sister arrived, we made a big deal of involving her in the process. She “helped” her daddy to put the bed together with her toy hammer and some string I let her tie on the sides (I know, I know, it was kind of lame, but still, it worked). She loved feeling special and big!
2. Let them make it their own. With the transition, we also talked up my daughter’s new “big girl” room and tried to make the process as fun as possible. We made a special trip to the store to let her pick out some new items for her new room–a small lamp and some wall stickers were simple and cheap, yet got her excited, and we let her decorate her “new” room to help her feel like she had some ownership over her space.
3. Share the moment. One thing that always gets my kids excited is calling up Grandma to share what new development is happening in their lives; FaceTime or sending her a picture is sure to get them on board too, so we made sure to call both Grandmas and let our daughter tell them all about her new “big girl bed.” Grandma even helped us out by bringing over brand-new bedding for the occasion!
4. Make the switch before baby. To avoid any jealousy issues, we transitioned our daughter over into her toddler bed well before the new baby came. I hated to think that she would feel like the baby took something from her or that the crib was “hers.” And the strategy definitely paid off–she didn’t blink an eye when her sister did come along and into the crib.
5. Consider a baby gate. For the longest time, we had a very difficult time with getting our two-year-old to stay in her toddler bed. We super-nannyed it night after night, returning her to her room and slowly trying to ease her to sleep by first sitting next to her, then across the room, until finally we would sit out in the hallway to say good night to her. But it was inevitable that she would wake up and pad across the hallway. When we woke up to heartbreaking cries from her wandering around in the dark downstairs one night, we knew it was time to take a little more action–and took to putting up the baby gate across the stairs at night, so she was confined to the upstairs only. It gave us all peace of mind, and strangely enough, that small boundary was all it took to get her to stay put. It was almost like she still needed the security of a crib’s confines to help her feel safe enough to sleep.