Wait until she’s ready.
My wife and I are tall people, so it was inevitable our daughter was going to grow out of her crib mattress before we knew it. So with her third birthday approaching we decided it was time. She was ready. We were ready.
Talk it up!
A few days before we transitioned her, we had a friend stay with us who has an 18-month year old. The baby slept in the crib and our daughter got to sleep in our room. We emphasized how the little bed was for babies, and that she was a big girl now. We also played up the fact that it was her birthday soon, and mommy and daddy had a really big present for her! It also helped that the bed was set up to the tune of her favorite princesses, sheets and all, making it a special transition with things she could associate with right away.
Set boundaries and stick to them.
My wife is not so great at this one. So on the night of the reveal, we set boundaries right away. We agreed to read two books, then it was bedtime – no more, no less. We had a special place for her water, brushed teeth and went potty beforehand. And the door could be open but she HAD TO STAY IN BED. (This one sort of backfired, because she decided to bring everything into her bed. I came to check on her and she had put three Kleenex boxes, soap from the bathroom and the contents of two drawers on to the top of her bed. Knowing she was in her bed for the long haul, I suppose she took things seriously and felt the need to prepare.)
Make sure she can get into the bed, and can’t fall out.
Amidst the excitement, our toddler tried to get into her new bed and well frankly, couldn’t make the leap. It was cute to watch her try but a stool was definitely needed for her to crawl into bed and safely get down. As parents, we also don’t want our kids to fall out of the bed in the middle of the night. Some friends of ours have tried zip-up bedding, or pool noodles taped to each side of the mattress but we choose to purchase a guard rail. This one from Target works well and is easy to install.
When did you move your toddler to a big bed? Share your experience below!