Hey there! Pest Laura here to share the adventures of going from crib to toddler bed.
This is my official big boy, Rett. He turned 23 months yesterday!
And this is the main reason for our desire to get him into his toddler bed. This is his little sister, Evie.
Usually this transition is proceeded by some NEED to do the switch. Someone has figured out how to escape, another sibling needs the crib or mommy is short and changing those sheets is really a pain. Once you've decided to release the monkey from his cage at night, suddenly you have all these choices. Toddler bed or twin? What theme do you want to do next? Does your bed need a rail? Does the room require a night light now?
I had planned out the big boy room MONTHS ago. Me being the planner that I am. I immediately vetoed the toddler bed. It really seemed like a waste of money. I wanted something that was going to last awhile. That and my love for IKEA bonded together and we ended up purchasing this bed. We have it set up in the bunk bed setting but with the ladder facing the wall so he can't climb to the top bunk. The bottom bunk fits a twin mattress but it is totally to the floor so dangerous falls aren't a problem. I picked out vehicles to be his theme and purchased a cute bedding set from Target. We don't have an IKEA close so I had my aunt buy it and bring it up during our family reunion. And the problems began..
These are both my aunts, but the one on the left in the yellow is my Aunt Sue who lives in Houston. She was nice enough to bring me the bed. We had the bed for a few months because we ended up going to Florida and Virginia in one month and figured we should wait till we were more settled at home. Finally we unbox the bed and my dear husband starts putting it together. Almost immediately he lets me know that we have, unfortunately, purchased a bed that has two of one thing and none of another. Wonderful. The closest IKEA is 4 hours away. And so I begin to try to remedy this situation. IKEA is serious when it comes to sending you boards. If you need a nail they are all too happy to help but if you need something made of wood, you have to prove beyond a doubt that you actually purchased the product. Maybe people are calling around to various IKEAs for parts to eventually create a bed for free? Sounds like a lot of work but, whatever. We called my Aunt Sue to see if she had the receipt.. she didn't. At this point the bed sort of sat in his room for a few weeks.
FINALLY my husband decides he can just drill the holes and fix the piece so it will work. I was so proud of him for fixing the bed though I wondered why he didn't just do that in the first place. So he now begins to put the bed together again. And.. ANOTHER problem with the bed. I really think we got a bad box of parts here! This time one of the bolts wouldn't fit into the slot. We got that one worked out pretty fast.
With so many problems leading up to the transition, I was very worried about how it would be once we actually tried to put the toddler into it! I knew I wanted to start with naps because he's down to 1 a day and is really tired when its time. So the first day I put him and his 20 stuffed animal army into bed, gave him his binky (hopefully a post about that battle soon), kissed him good night and off I went. Immediately hysterical crying and banging on the door. So I put him back into bed, more kisses and this time he stayed. Night time was a little more difficult with some falling out into the floor but a spare pillow shoved under the fitted sheet solved that problem. Honestly we had more of a problem just getting the bed together!
After succeeding in transitioning my toddler here is what I recommend:
1. Start with the sleep time that he is most tired for.
Because your child is going to fall asleep fast, there is less time to get into mischief or get bored and start crying.
2. Try to leave the room quickly.
Tuck in, give kisses, hand over the binky and get out of there. It seems like the longer I'm in the room with him the more he wants me to stay! Since I don't hang around in there he doesn't expect it and its not such a surprise when I leave.
3. Let there be light!
I never thought of my child as being afraid of the dark until I moved him over to his big boy bed. Suddenly without the close confounds of the cribs, he needs the light to give him some security. He always used his mobile in the crib and it has a small projection. We continued to turn it on when he transitioned but it would turn off and he couldn't get to it to turn it back on. I purchased a soft turtle that has a star projection on his back that he keeps in bed with him. He can turn it off and on whenever he wants.
And of course the most important is to have a night time routine and a plan of attack for transitioning that you stick to. Don't climb in bed with her one night and read books and then the next night decide to opt out. She will expect the same thing to happen and be upset when it doesn't, adding more difficulties to your transition. This is an exciting part in a child's life and one that went a lot more smoothly then I would have expected.
Do you have a funny story to share about your own toddler bed experience? I'd love to read them!