A quick disclaimer: We in no way claim to have figured out the mysteriousness that is The Toddler nor in posting this do we claim to have found the secret to success in going from crib to big bed. The following is what worked for our son…which will be different for each and every little one.
Okay, on with the show 🙂
So Hubby has been pressing the Big Boy bed a lot lately. He was more ready than I to put Little Man in it because well…frankly…I love sleep. And Little Man is not big on change. And having Little Man in his crib, I felt, guaranteed sleep more safely than him in a ‘big bed’. (Yes, I do realize how silly this is.)
However, wanting to follow my husbands lead…I agreed to surprising Little Man yesterday after church by putting his little toddler bed where his crib has been in his room (with his crib safely tucked in the corner of the room…just in case.)
And you know what happened? Little Man was ECSTATIC. He took a 3 hour nap in it, stayed in it and called for me to come get him when he woke up, slept all night in it last night after waking only once (although this is somewhat normal as he cries in his sleep while dreaming fairly often now), and is still sleeping, at 7:22am. (Update: Slept until 7:30 and is now taking a nap with no issues whatsoever!)
Hooray! Hooray! Hooray for following my husbands lead. He DOES know better than me! 🙂
How we prepared our toddler for a big boy bed:
(This worked for our son, but every child is different…if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last two years…its this fact!)
1) Pray. A LOT. We prayed that God would prepare him for his bed, that in His mercy and generosity (not because we deserve it because we don’t) that He would grant our child and us a smooth transition to this next stage in life: Big Boy Bed. And pray that God would miraculously surprise you…I think He likes to do this, as He seems to do it quite often for me.
2) Talk to him about it far in advance. We talked to Little Man about his new bed months before the actual transition. Because our Little Man has not dealt with change well so far in his little life, we wanted to attempt to ‘prepare’ him for this big change. We even bought the bed and kept it, put together in our garage for 2 months +, so he could see it and we could talk about it.
3) When the time comes, make it a big, exciting, gift-kind-of surprise! On Sunday morning, Hubby told little Man that after lunch he had a big surprise for him. They spent lunch talking about the surprise: Was it something he could unwrap? Was it big? Where was it at? Could he play with it? etc. I even raced ahead of them on our way upstairs to cover the bed with a sheet that Little Man could pull off and ‘unwrap it’. We let him play on the bed, and spent a good 15 min. talking about the bed before we attempted his first nap time in it.
4) Remind him of our expectations. Because we spent such a ridiculous amount of time talking about his bed with him in advance, we only needed to remind him of our expectations of him sleeping in his big boy bed. Like for example: how he was going to “get to!” (instead of “have to…”) sleep in his bed for both naps and at nighttime, and how he still needed to call for mommy or daddy to get him when he woke up. Our hopes for that last expectation is to attempt to remove the chance of our day starting at 4am due to Little Man coming in because ‘he’s awake’ as well as keep him safe, as his room is upstairs and we don’t allow him to go down the stairs by himself yet. We do have a gate at the top of the stairs, but it is so loud that it wakes him up in the morning and during nap if we have to open and close it to go up and down.
To be completely honest though, I can not even pretend like we are the parents who have it figured out because frankly… we do not! Ultimately, the thing that caused Little Man’s transition to Big Boy Bed to be so smooth was the unmerited generosity of our sweet God and to Him we are incredibly thankful for this and so much more!