The transition from a crib to a bed can be an exciting! In this episode, we’ll be talking about how you know when your little one is ready for a bed, how to keep them in a crib if they’re not ready for a bed just yet, and how to make the transition from a crib to a bed go as smoothly as possible. Enjoy!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Hi guys, all right. I want to talk today all about transitioning your little one from a crib to a bed. This is a really big, exciting transition. And I want to make sure that you are guided properly on how to navigate this big change in your little one’s life. So that if your little one is sleeping well, he continues to sleep well. So before I talk about how to go about transitioning your little one from a crib to a bed, I want to talk about what when to go about this transition, because it’s a really important question. And I’ll tell you generally speaking, I find that people are too quick to get their little ones into a bed and it can majorly backfire. I am a big proponent, huge proponent of keeping your little one in a crib for as long as possible. And when I say as long as possible, I don’t mean until they’re 18.
I mean, minimum until age three, I’ll tell you guys for the record. My middle child’s Eliana was in her crib until her fourth birthday. That’s right until she started junior kindergarten. That was when I got her into a bed because I figured by that age, if she starts telling her little friends that she’s in a crib, they might laugh at her. So that was when I got her into a bed. But I’m telling you, there is absolutely no rush. There’s no competition. There’s no metal that anyone is going to win for getting their little one into a crib, into a bed quicker than the rest of their friends. I promise you, and I’ll tell you why. I encourage you to keep your little ones in their cribs until at least three, potentially even longer than that. The reason for this is because kids under the age of three, don’t really quite understand rules and boundaries.
And so for you to explain to your two year old, you must stay in your bed until the morning. They might understand that for a quick second, but then their lack of impulse control just kind of makes that go through one ear and out the other. And then the reality is they have the ability, the freedom to leave their bed and ultimately leave their room. Whenever they please not having that physical boundary means that you’re going to likely get problems at bedtime at nighttime. The last thing that you want is for your little one to suddenly start leaving the room, leaving his bed, waking you up at night, not wanting to stay in bed just because he can just because he can leave his room. So why the heck would he stay? And so kids for the most part do so much better staying in their cribs than they do being transitioned to a bed.
Now, sometimes people will say to me, but Eva, I’m pregnant. I’m having another baby soon and I need the crib for the baby. And so I have no choice. I have to get my two year old into a bed. You do have a choice and I’ll tell you what the choice is. And I know this might sound really, really crazy. Here’s what you can do. You can get a second crib. I know, honestly, a lot of people, it doesn’t even occur to them to get a second crib. Why would I get a second crib? If my two year old is going to need to be in a bed suit anyways, I’ll just get him in a little bit earlier. Remember, that’s not the case. A lot of two year olds are going to need to be in that crib in order to continue to sleep well for at least another year, maybe even year and a half, no one is saying you have to go and buy a really expensive, fancy second crib, go to Ikea, spend a hundred dollars, go on Kijiji or Craigslist or Facebook marketplace and find a secondhand crib that would work for your baby until your toddler is actually old enough and mature enough to appreciate rules and boundaries and a rewards chart that you can introduce to him that says, Hey, if you stay in your bed nicely, till the morning, we’re going to give you a sticker or just explain what the actual expectations are and have him understand.
And that’s usually not before the age three, before age of three, it might not even be until he is three and a half. If not even older than that. And trust me, the last thing that you want when you are bringing a brand new born baby home, who’s going to be waking you up at night. Anyways, is to also have your toddler waking you up and refusing to go to sleep because he was transitioned to a bed too soon. Guys, I’m telling you doing this too soon. Really does have the potential to ruin your little one’s wickedly, awesome sleep. And that is not what you want to do when you have a brand new baby home with you. Something else that parents will say to me is, but Eva, my kid is jumping out of his crib. So I have to get him into a bed, right?
The answer to that is maybe, maybe not. There are absolutely steps that you can take that will make it impossible at the time for your toddler to continue jumping out of the crib. And I’ll tell you that that actually happens to me. So my son, JJ, who is now 26 months as of today, has been peacefully sleeping in his crib from day one. But I will tell you that when he was about 20 months old, he started jumping out of his crib. So those of you guys who know me, who follow me on Instagram will know that JJ is a fairly gifted in the gross motor development. He is a climber. He is a jumper. He is completely fearless. And so to be honest, it really wasn’t surprising when I woke up one morning, hearing him by his door in his sleep sack at seven o’clock in the morning, going mommy, mommy.
So clearly what had happened is he had jumped out and, uh, and was ready to start his day. And so here’s what you want to do before you go and rush to get your little one in a crib there into a bed. There are certain steps that you can take that will make it impossible if you’re a little one to jump out. So here’s what I did. First of all, I made sure that he could not get out of his sleep sack. For those of you who don’t have your toddlers, your jumping toddlers in sleep sacks, get them into a sleep sack because it’s going to make it significantly more challenging for them to jump out because the sleep sack of course has material on the bottom by their feet. And so it makes it a lot more slippery. Those of you who have infants, who are listening to this anyways, thinking, Hey, what do I need my kid to be in a sleep sack for?
Because he’s one. Now I can give him a blanket, keep him in the sleep sack, because that really is your insurance policy against having a crib jumper. Now it’s obviously not foolproof because JJ still managed to jump out of the crib in his sleep sack. But for a lot of kids that makes it a lot more challenging. I just happened to have a little future circus performer on my hands and he figured out how to jump out anyways. So that’s the first thing that you want to do. The second thing that you want to do. And this is what I did. Well, my husband did this. I just told him what to do was we unscrewed the box spring of that, held the mattress a few inches above the floor so that the mattress, the crib mattress could fall flat onto the floor, but still inside the crib itself.
And so what that means is it makes it a lot harder for him to jump out because he’s got a much higher jump. What I also did, he, his crib is a slay style crib where the back is higher than the front. And so what I did was I turned it around so that he wouldn’t have as much opportunity to try jumping out. I mean, yes, the sides are a little bit lower, but at least the front of the crib is much, much higher where he cannot physically jump out. And then of course the shorter end, which is against the wall, he can’t get out because it’s right against the wall. What we also did was we put it into the corner of his room, so that one of the sides, one of the shorter sides is also against the wall. So technically with the mattress flat on the floor, in his sleep sack, he just has that one other side that he could potentially get out.
But you know what? I saw him try one day, he just hasn’t been able to pull it off. So with the sleep sack and the mattress on the floor and the crib turned around in the corner of the room, jumping out of the crib for him has not been a challenge, has not been something that’s happened at all because he hasn’t been able to pull it off. And ever since then, ever since he was about 21 months, he has completely gotten over any excitement around trying to jump out. And he has realized that, Hey, you know what? His crib is actually a really wonderful place to be. So he doesn’t even attempt to jump out anymore. I just put him down, tuck him in and he just goes straight to sleep. Now let’s say that your little one is ready. She’s three, three and a half, four years old.
She’s a little bit more mature. She’s more of a preschooler. Now, not so much a toddler anymore can understand, you know, rules and expectations. It sounds like it is now time to get your little one into a big bed. And my suggestion when your little one is ready is make a big deal out of this. This is really exciting. Take her to the linen store, let her pick out her linen or, you know, take her to Walmart online and let her pick out her new bed, linens, maybe a new sleep toy, a new Teddy bear, a new blanket of some kind that she can sleep with and make it really, really exciting. Make it a big celebration if you can, because it’s a big milestone in their world at the same time, when you do complete her bedtime routine and tuck her in at that point, I wouldn’t be making a big deal.
So I know a lot of parents might instinctively just say to their little ones. Oh, and by the way, you must stay in your bed. You’re not allowed to get out of bed until the morning. I don’t recommend saying that. Why? Because you don’t want to give your little one, an idea to actually get out. It might not even occur to your little one that he can get out of bed and get out of his room and kind of drive you crazy. It might not have occurred to him, but then when you tell him you’re not allowed to get out of bed, you must stay in your bed. Suddenly the idea has been planted and we don’t want that. Now, if you do start to have trouble where your little one, even without you telling him anything starts to get out of his bed, starts to get out of his room.
Then that’s when you have to lay down the rules and explain, you must stay in your bed until the morning. And to help with that reinforcement, I would absolutely introduce eight rewards chart, a sticker chart of some kind, where you give him a certain number of stickers for every single time. He stays in his bed nicely till the morning, in which case he’ll get a prize or reward of some kind. I would also recommend introducing a product like the grow clock. There are many other versions of this product, but the grow clock, which is very popular in Canada and in Europe is a toddler clock that uses color and imagery to let your little one know when it’s time to go to sleep and when they can wake up. And so the grow clock, when it is nighttime and you set it of course, to when you want it to be nighttime.
And when you want it to be morning is blue when it’s nighttime and there’s this star that is sleeping. And then when the clock turns yellow, that’s when it is morning, the star woken up and that signals to your little one that they are now allowed to start their day. So I would use those tools to really reinforce the rules and expectations around staying in their bed until it is time to wake up. Now, if you or little one was sleeping really well in his crib, and suddenly upon you transitioning him to a bed, all of a sudden he wants you to now sit next to him until he falls asleep. And he’s waking up for you at night, that might be a assign that he’s not quite ready for a bed. You see the crib for a lot of these young kids and the crib rails in particular provide a certain sense of security to the child because you’ve got this physical well boundary, making them feel safe, you know, being surrounded by these crib bars.
But when they’re in a bed, they might, I feel like they’re in this big, scary ocean, you know, like in the middle of the Pacific ocean, not having that physical boundary around them, necessitating them to call out for you. And so if that’s a pattern that you see happening that might just be a very clear sign that he needs to go back and check to his crib for another few months or so. And then you can, I always tried transitioning him back to his bed a little bit later. If on the other hand, your little one has always needed some help falling asleep, whether it’s the crib or the bed, and nothing has changed since transitioning her little one to a bed, which by the way is usually the case. Then that’s when you’re going to need a sleep plan. Asleep plan is going to address all the various puzzle pieces, including the sleep environment, your little one’s schedule their routine, their daytime nutrition, as well as their habits and behaviors saviors in order to teach them how to fish all asleep and how to fall back to sleep on their own.
So that learn how to consistently sleep 11 to 12 hours at night. So you can be a functioning human. If that’s what you need. I don’t recommend implementing any kind of plan in the middle of the night. When there isn’t a plan. That’s also addressing bedtime and daytime implementing a plan in at midnight and isolation of everything else going on is not going to get you anywhere. And so if you are struggling with your little one sleep and the transitions to a bed has not made it any better, check out my sleep Bible program, which helps exhausted parents. Like you get their little ones sleeping 11 to 12 hours at night consistently. So everybody can be functioning humans. Again, don’t start a plan in the middle of the night. It’s just not going to get you anywhere. So to sum up the transitions to a bed is really exciting, but don’t be in a rush, keep your little one in their crib for as long as you physically can. And then when you are ready and when your little one is ready to make this big transition, make it exciting, get her involved, but don’t give her any ideas about actually getting her out of her, actually coming out of her bed because we don’t want to plant any ideas like that. I hope that this was helpful and that you all have a great day.
Take care. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram at my CBB, or send me an firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful nights.
Want to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night so you can be a functioning human?