How on earth do I make the switch as smooth as possible without messing everything up!?.. Is usually the sentiment from my toddler client parents.
Don’t worry! Once you know your little one is absolutely ready by reading our last post on when to transition to a toddler bed, let’s get cracking on your little one’s graduation. Here’s how to make the transition easily, as well as some great tips leading up to the big night.
The key to a smooth toddler bed transition is having a toddler who already knows how to sleep through the night independently. If you are a parent reading this and are ready to make the switch, but your little one is still waking multiple times at night, you can expect that to continue but now your little one will come get you instead of just calling out to you from their crib.
If this is the case and it is not a problem for your family, then that is absolutely fine and you can use all the tips mentioned in this post to help your little one feel excited about the change. However if bedtimes are a struggle and your child’s night wakings are disrupting not only their sleep but the whole family’s, then I would recommend working on their sleep skills before making the switch.
Once good sleep habits have been established you want to prep your little one for the big day. Get them excited about the change and get them involved in the process. If you are going to purchase a bed, narrow it down to two and let them choose between them. If you are setting up a bed you already have, let them be involved in the building process. You can also get them involved with helping to choose sheets, bedding and even a favourite stuffed animal to sleep with. Toddlers love to feel like they’re in control and letting them help with these big decisions makes them feel empowered and therefore more receptive to the change.
If possible set up the bed a couple weeks beforehand so that your little one can see it there and get accustomed to the idea. I would also encourage them to take their nap in their new bed the week before, if they show interest. Then when you are ready, pick a date to make this big change and have a countdown chart toward the big night.
When the big day arrives, explain the bedtime routine beforehand in detail, also explain the rules and expectations that come with their new bed. You can do a bit of role play that day with a teddy or favourite animal. Using a sticker or reward chart can help give your little one some incentive to stay in bed at bedtime and till the morning. When it is morning time, open up the curtains and make a big deal about the fact that they slept the whole night in their bed. If using rewards or stickers, this should be given as they wake up. This can be followed by a phone call to grandma or a family friend to tell them about their big accomplishment. If your little one is two and a half or older using a toddler clock can be very helpful especially if your little one is struggling with night wakings or early mornings.
If you have tried all the tips mentioned in this post and are struggling with drawn out bedtimes, having to lie with your toddler for hours till they fall asleep, or having multiple night wakings, reach out to us. Toddlers are my thing! Marie and I at the Dream Team can help make a personalized sleep plan for you and your family, that can help your little one feel confident, safe and secure going to bed every night in their own bed.
Reach out for your FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULTATION!