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The BIG KID move - Simple tips to help transition your toddler from a crib to a big kid bed

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toddlermonitor SLEEP EXPERT SERIES: How to break the habit of laying down with your child

toddlermonitor SLEEP EXPERT SERIES: How to break the habit of laying down with your child

OUR SLEEP EXPERT SERIES WITH MAGGIE MOORE HELPS YOU AVOID A COMMON NIGHTIME CHALLENGE

It happens innocently enough. All it takes is one bad storm, one sickness, or even transitioning to a big kid bed too soon. Your child wants you to lay down with them to go to sleep, and they refuse to fall sleep until you do lay with them. Before you know it, the amount of time you lay  with them each night becomes progressively longer. They lay there wanting to talk to you and you are pretty sure they aren’t even trying to fall asleep. 

As you lay there, you think of all the things you need to get done around the house. Laundry, dishes, paying bills… the list goes on and on. Not to mention, you have 30 shows on the DVR you want to get caught up on, and you would like a little time with your spouse. Before you know it, YOU fall asleep lying in bed with your child. Suddenly, you wake up at 11:00 pm confused as to why you are sleeping in a twin bed. Does this sound familiar? 

If it does, you are like the majority of families I work with who have toddlers. Fear not though – there is light at the end of the tunnel! 

Set bedtime rules 

Children at this age thrive on positive reinforcement. It is very important to involve your child in establishing bed-time rules to get their buy-in. Work together to establish, as a family, what rules are realistic for your family. Some that tend to work well are:

  • We go to bed without a fight
  • We go to bed without parents laying down with me
  • We stay in bed all night
  • We don’t come into parent’s room

Review the bedtime rules each night before bed so the expectations are clear, then reward your child for doing well. If they go to bed without a battle, they get a sticker, and so on. When they get a set number of stickers, they get a reward, like an experience with parents. If they miss a rule or category, acknowledge it and move on. 

Use check-ins

Instead of laying down with your child at bedtime, tell them you have to go unload the dishwasher, but you will be back to check on them in five minutes. Show them that you set the timer on your phone and assure them you will come back when it goes off. Most importantly, return at the time you tell them you will; maintain your child’s trust. 

Each subsequent night you should increase the amount of time between checks, allowing them more and more time to be in bed independently, thus increasing their chance of falling asleep independently. Show them that you have confidence in their ability to fall asleep without needing you to lay down beside them to do so. 

Still struggling? 

If you find the two strategies above aren’t working, don’t worry! There is a sleep training method designed just for older children in situations like this. This method is covered in my Sleep Training Guide to get Moore Sleep. For more information on 1:1 help, visit getmooresleep.com 

Like most things in life, it is important to be consistent. Consistency breeds results. When it comes to your child’s sleep, most things are not an overnight quick-fix! 

About Maggie 

Maggie Moore is the Founder and Head Sleeper at Moore Sleep. She is a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Family Sleep Institute, which means her sole focus and objective is getting your baby on a healthy sleep schedule so the whole family can get the sleep they need.
Like many parents, Maggie and her husband struggled with getting their son on a healthy sleep schedule and he was unable to fall asleep independently. As a result, her family was losing precious sleep every night. 

Maggie became a firm believer when, shortly after hiring a certified pediatric sleep consultant, her son began sleeping independently at bed and nap times. It was a turning point that resulted in not only restful nights, but waking up fully rested with the energy to face the day. Maggie knew right away she wanted to become a certified consultant herself so she could help other families struggling to get the sleep they need. 

Maggie and her family reside in Southern Indiana (near Louisville, KY). She received her bachelors in Journalism and a second concentration in Communications & Culture from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Follow Maggie on Facebook and Instagram

  • Danny Mitchell
toddlermonitor SLEEP EXPERT SERIES: When is the right time to transition to a “big kid” bed?

toddlermonitor SLEEP EXPERT SERIES: When is the right time to transition to a “big kid” bed?

OUR SLEEP EXPERT SERIES WITH MAGGIE MOORE HELPS YOU DECIDE WHEN IT'S TIME TO TRANSITION FROM THE CRIB! 

Picture this – you have the best sleeper you could imagine. He goes to sleep each night and takes a nap each day without a fuss. Sleeps all night and you feel like you have really mastered the sleep thing. 

You decide at two-years-old your little one is too big to be in a crib so you decide to transition to a big kid bed. At first the transition goes well. He stays in bed and continues to be a good sleeper. About a month into the big kid bed, he decides to test boundaries – what happens if I get up and see what my parents are doing? What if I get scared in the middle of the night and I go into my parents’ room?

What was once your wonderful sleeper has now turned into a bedtime battle and all-night challenge to get him to stay in the bed. I have worked with countless families in this situation. They have a wonderful sleeper who turns into a disaster with a little bit of freedom. 

It is for this reason I recommend waiting until your little one is at least three-years-old to transition to a big kid bed. Maybe longer depending on the temperament of your child. It’s not until children are older (three plus) that they can understand what “stay in bed” and are less likely to test boundaries. 

Sometimes parents’ feel forced to make the transition because another sibling is on the way.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends infants room share with their parents for the first six months, ideally the first year. I recommend to those families to opt to use the pack’n’play in their room so the toddler can continue to use the crib.  

How to handle the transition

Children are more likely to comply if they feel like they have some “buy-in” to the process. It’s important to talk to them months before hand about the transition so they feel comfortable with it.  

Let them be involved in the process by letting them help pick out the bedding, bed, etc.

It’s important to set clear boundaries for them. Have a family meeting so they know what is expected of them. Allow them to help in making a list of bedtime rules that are applicable for both naps and night time sleep.  

Allowing them to help create the rules helps them to be more invested in the process. 

Once the rules have been set, write them on a poster board and allow them to decorate it. Have it hang in their room and go over it with them each sleep period so they are always fresh in their mind what is expected of them.  

PRO TIP: Hold off on selling the crib or transitioning your other child to the crib until your toddler is doing well in the big kid bed. You never know if you will need to set the crib up for them again!  

Every night your toddler or pre-schooler does well in the big kid bed praise them for their effort, so they know how proud of them you are. Children thrive on positive reinforcement. If they are struggling try to avoid punishing them as we don’t want bedtime and naptime to have negative associations. 

If your little one has never been a good sleeper, it’s never too late to fix it! 

My sleep training guide teaches how to get your toddler or pre-schooler how to go to sleep unassisted. 

If find yourself struggling with schedule and sleep for your toddler, my 15-month plus guide gives guidance for all things toddlers/preschooler sleep.

About Maggie

Maggie Moore is the Founder and Head Sleeper at Moore Sleep. She is a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Family Sleep Institute, which means her sole focus and objective is getting your baby on a healthy sleep schedule so the whole family can get the sleep they need.
Like many parents, Maggie and her husband struggled with getting their son on a healthy sleep schedule and he was unable to fall asleep independently. As a result, her family was losing precious sleep every night.
 
Maggie became a firm believer when, shortly after hiring a certified pediatric sleep consultant, her son began sleeping independently at bed and nap times. It was a turning point that resulted in not only restful nights, but waking up fully rested with the energy to face the day. Maggie knew right away she wanted to become a certified consultant herself so she could help other families struggling to get the sleep they need.
 
Maggie and her family reside in Southern Indiana (near Louisville, KY). She received her bachelors in Journalism and a second concentration in Communications & Culture from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Follow Maggie on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

The BIG KID move - Simple tips to help transition your toddler from a crib to a big kid bed

Moving out of the crib is a major milestone for you and your little monkey, but keep the toddler drama to a minimum and the fun to a maximum by following these simple tips!