10 Tips to Transition Your Child to a Big Kid Bed
It’s 4 a.m. and you’re in the middle of REM sleep when your hypersensitive parent ears detect jibber-jabber from your child’s room. You know, that same happy baby talk you hear most mornings when your child has determined the day is ready to begin even if the clock and conventional wisdom says otherwise.
So you nod off back to sleep.
Thirty minutes later, you still hear the same baby talk so you go into investigation mode. A glance at the baby monitor shows an empty crib. A second glance—remember, it’s only 4:30 in the morning—still shows an empty crib. Parental reflexes kick in, and you jump out of bed and head directly to your child’s room, expecting to hear crying. After slowly opening the door you discover your child happily playing on the floor with their toys.
Great news, you think, but then you pause and wonder… how did said child get out of the crib? The sly yet proud smile smeared across your child’s face tells you the answer: they climbed out. And once children have learned that they can climb out of their crib, there’s no going back.
Now is the time to make a change. Here are 10 tips to help you transition your child to a big kid bed:
1. Involve them in the Planning
Young children have an endless amount of curiosity and are constantly learning about the world around them. Take the transition to a twin bed as another learning opportunity. By involving them in the planning process, it will help your child feel more comfortable about the change.
Start by explaining to them that they’re a big kid now, and big kids get to sleep in a big kid bed. If you’re helping a child with older siblings, you can explain how their older brother or sister used to sleep in a crib before they moved to a big kid bed. You can ask your older children to describe to their younger sibling how they made the transition to a big kid bed.
Next, give your child a brief overview of the transition process so they know what to expect and also explain how they can help out. Children are used to routines, and anything new can through off their routine, but making them aware of the change and how they can be involved will help smooth the transition.
You can break down the process into these basic chunks:
Create a Vision for the Room
Ask them what type of big kid’s bed would they like? Maybe they’ve seen a big kid bed at a friend’s or family member’s house that they like, or maybe they have a completely new idea for how their bedroom should look. This is a great opportunity to let their creativity flow.
Shop for a Big Kid Bed Together
Set aside some time for you and your child to go shopping for a big kid bed. Make a fun day out of this with a special treat at the end.
Pick out a new Paint Color
If you’re feeling really adventurous—and if you have the time—this is a perfect opportunity to update the paint color in your child’s room. Ask them what colors they would like to see on the walls. Maybe they have a favorite topic they’re into right now that you could turn into a theme for their room such as dinosaurs, trucks, baseball, etc.
Set up the Big Kid Bed
Explain how you’ll need to remove the crib and set up the big kid bed using a few tools. Help your child see that it’s kind of like putting together a big puzzle, except you get to sleep on it!
The First Night in the New Big Kid Bed
Pick a date and make it a “deadline” to have the project done. Not only does this give you a clear date to work towards and plan around, but it also gives your child something to look forward to and reinforces a little patience.
2. Start a Countdown
Now that you’ve set the expectations for the transition, define the timeline with the help of visual cues. This could be as simple as circling dates on the calendar. Let your child cross off the days before they go to bed so they can see the progress you’ve made toward the big day. You can also use this as an opportunity to work on counting. How many days until you get to sleep in your new bed?
3. Take Your Child Shopping with You
Pick a day and time to take your child shopping for a new big kid bed. You can start online to get ideas and then identify a few stores you’d like to visit so your child can see the beds in person. Let them know that they get to help make this decision so they feel like a big part of the process. Once you’re done with the shopping trip, take them out for a small treat. What kid doesn’t love ice cream or cookies? Did I mention that I have complimentary cookies, ice cream and candy at all of my stores? I also have coffee for those days when you just need a pick-me-up! Find a Bob’s location near you.
4. Repaint the Room
Is it time to say goodbye to the baby theme in your child’s room? Since you’re already moving around the furniture in the room, you might take this opportunity to freshen up the walls with a new paint color. Have your child help pick out a new favorite color for the room. You can take them to your local hardware store and show them all the different variations of color choices. If you’re not set on a specific color, buy a few samples and paint test spots on the walls to see which color you and your child like best.
After you’ve selected a paint color, you can now look for new bedding to match.
5. Explain the Setup Process
Once the bed has arrived, walk your child through the process of setting it up. Show them the instructions and how these detail the step-by-step process for setting up the bed. Ask them to count the number of steps involved in setting up the bed with you. Then explain the tools that are needed to set up the bed. Make sure to clarify that only an adult can use these tools to set up the bed.
6. Dress the Bed
After the bed has been set up, bring in the bedding and sheets. Show your child the difference between a fitted sheet and a top sheet. Have them help you make the bed.
7. Let them add their Decorating Touch
Does your child have a favorite drawing or photo? Have the picture framed so you can display it in their room. Let your child help you decide where to place the photo. Remember, this is a child’s room so not everything has to meet the guidelines for the perfect design.
8. Ensure the Bed is Safe and Secure
If you’re concerned about your child falling out of bed in the middle of the night, purchase a bed guard rail to help them make the transition. You can also position the bed against a wall to protect your child from falling off. If you’ve moved furniture around and are now exposing electric outlets that were previously covered by furniture, make sure each outlet has a cover.
9. Keep the Same Routine
A new bed is a big change for your toddler, but you can help ease the transition by maintaining the same bedtime routine. This will help keep a level of consistency that your child is used to while becoming acclimated to a new environment. If you read a book before bed every night, try reading the book in their new big kid bed to help them get used to it.
10. Start on a weekend
It will probably take a few days for your child to get used to their new big kid bed, and that could mean some long nights for you and your child. Start the transition on a Friday night so you have the benefit of the weekend schedule to help cope with the potential for longer nights.
Share your Big Kid Bed Story!
So, there are a few tips to help transition your toddler to a big kid bed. I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you might have and see photos of your child’s brand-new big kid bed! Share your thoughts and images on social media and tag us @mybobs for a chance to be featured in my feed.