The transition from a crib to a “Big Kid Bed” is a huge milestone for a child- and it can be a scary one. Kids can be easily intimidated by the change, bringing on insecurities, negative behavior, even nightmares. So it’s important that the process is done with care and strategy.
Here are some tips to help make the switch go smoothly.
Skip the toddler bed. This is an unnecessary expense that some parents can’t afford. As long as bed rails are attached if needed, one big-kid bed purchase is all you need.
Use a friendlier option than metal bed rails to keep her from falling out of bed during the night. Plush bed bumpers are a wonderful alternative, such as SnuggleBugzzz. These cozy critters are not only safe; they act as a familiar friend kids can play with during the day then cozy up with each night- making sure they feel more secure in bed.
Stick to a positive nightly routine that promotes independence such as brushing her own teeth, using the potty (or pulling up her diaper on her own), putting on pajamas, etc. Make sure to stay close throughout the routine to instill security while she explores these activities on her own.
Read with your child IN the big kid bed. That’s right- climb right under the blanket with her and snuggle in close during story time. This is something you couldn’t do while she was still in her crib and she will love it.
Spread the news! Take pictures and home video of your child in her new bed and talk about the milestone with friends and relatives (in ear shot of your child of course). You can also ask grandparents to mail a ‘congratulations’ card- what young child doesn’t love getting mail!
Most importantly, understand that this IS a big deal for your child and just be there for her. With love and support, you will both get through this experience with as little stress as possible.
Katherine Johnson is the co-founder of SnuggleBugzzz, plush bed bumpers along with Pamela Quintana. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son.