Parenting: Transitioning from the crib to a bed
February 17, 2012 (WPVI) -- We were faced with the big question of when to move our son from a crib to a bed.
When his father recently opened the door to his room and found him sitting on the rail of his crib, the answer quickly became "now."
We made the switch on a Friday, giving ourselves a weekend night in case we spent a good part of the evening chasing our munchkin back into his new bed. Our little guy grinned widely when he saw his bed and quickly took to it.
A few days in, he did start rambling about his room. My mother - in town for a visit - was watching him with me on the monitor and told me not to worry.
Sure enough, about 15 minutes in he toddled back over to his bed, climbed in and went to sleep.
Many parents find the transition is not this easy, which made me take a look at the best advice on making the change.
One main rule of thumb seems standard: If you're moving your toddler because of the arrival of a new baby, do it at least six to eight weeks before you're due. You can always consider holding off on moving until your newborn outgrows her bassinet.
Another rule is to make sure not to change beds at the same time of other big milestones, like potty training or a big house move.
Deboard Lin-Dyken at BabyCenter.com also suggests that if your child is testing the limits of his crib but you're not sure he's ready to move to a bed, try something called a "crib tent." A crib tent is a mesh tent that can attach to the crib with Velcro.
However if you think you're ready to move on, Dr. Laura Markham at AhaParenting.com has some great tips:
If you're worried about your kid staying in her bed, Markham suggests sitting near the bed or in the room doorway. That way your child is reassured in your prescene and also aware that you are there to enforce a return to bed if she gets up.
If she tries to get up, gently remind her "You need to stay in bed or please lie down." If your child is like mine, he'll wants hugs, kisses and a conversation. Markham suggests you stick to a one line response like "We'll talk later, go to sleep," said in a kind but boring way.
Markham also has this observation: On the first night of the new bed, start bedtime earlier to allow for extra time spent actually getting to sleep. And if you continue to have trouble getting your kid to go to sleep, consider starting bedtime earlier. Perhaps your child is overtired and too pumped up to go to sleep.
Parents.com also has some practical advice. Toddler beds are nice and come in cool shapes. But you can also consider borrowing a bed from older cousins, or even putting the crib mattress or a twin mattress on the floor. If you do choose to use a regular twin bed, make sure it has guard rails on it.
Hopefully soon your little one will head off to dreamland in their new bed. And just think, one day the issue won't be getting them into bed but trying to get them out of it.
tamala edwards parenting reports, parenting, tamala edwards
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