The move from crib to bed – it’s something every parent fears. Will it disrupt the sleep pattern? Will I end up with a child in my bed every night? Is my baby growing up too fast? The questions go on and on.
It’s natural to worry about a big step like this, but you have to be strong and follow the ABCs of sleep training: be Assertive, Believe in yourself and your child that you can do this, and Commit to the transition.
Here are some other tips to help make the shift easier for you and your child. Hang in there, this is just one of life’s many hurdles and you will get through it!
1. Wait until your child is at least three years old before making the crib to bed transition. If your child is under 3 and climbing out of the crib, consider buying a crib tent to keep him/her safe.
2.When the new bed arrives, immediately dismantle the crib and remove it from your child’s room. It is overwhelming for a child to have more than one choice of sleep surfaces. Once the decision has been made to transition to a bed, commit to it.
3. During the initial transition, move your child’s bedtime earlier. You can expect the process of falling asleep to take longer and you want to avoid having your child fall asleep overtired.
4. Do not alter your child’s bedtime routine during nor after the transition. The crib to bed transition can cause anxiety in a child and it is calming for a child to have a brief and consistent bedtime routine.
5. Place a digital clock in your child’s room and set a firm sleep rule for wake up time (6 am is an appropriate wake up time assuming your child has a bedtime between 6 pm-7 pm). You can implement a reward system if your child is able to stay in their bed quietly until the prescribed wake up time.
6. Be prepared for a rough couple of nights, as it is difficult for a young child to exhibit self-restraint when they have this newfound freedom of sleeping in a bed. Even the best sleepers have some sleep regression during the crib to bed transition.