Tips for Transitioning to a Toddler Bed
Recently, just before our toddler turned 3, we thought it would be just about time to transition him to a toddler bed. We co-slept before but it got to a point where I just couldn’t rest properly and sleep well so I needed to change that desperately. There are a few things I did before and during the process to make sure he gets used to the idea and just to make life easier for both of us. It might be a bit different for us though, since our room consists of a double and a single room with no doors in between, so although he did get his own bed, he was practically still in the same room with us; but hopefully these tips will be useful to you too!
Prepare the ground
Two weeks before getting his toddler bed, I started to tell him something along these lines ‘You’re soon going to be 3 years old so mummy will buy you your own bed to sleep in because big boys sleep in their own bed. It’s going to be really fun and comfortable and you can have all your toys with you. Are you excited about it?’. I told him this every single day and I made sure he replied to my question at the end. I think that’s really important because it really does help the child to become aware and realise that he will soon have his own bed.
Keep reassuring him that it’s fine and he will be perfectly okay; but you have to prepare with patience and energy for the first days since your child might not probably like this transition at all. I was lucky Nathan behaved so well and once the bed was here, there didn’t need to be a lot of convincing.
Decorate the room
Decorate the room with things you know he likes. We bought a personalised wall sticker with clouds and airplanes, so I kept telling him ‘Look! It says Nathan on the wall, so this bed is only for you; not for mummy or daddy. Only you can sleep in this bed.’ I cannot emphasise enough of how important it is to talk to him about HIS OWN BED as often as you can and find exciting things about it so he gets excited too. Nathan especially seemed really proud to find out his name was written on the wall.
I also bought pretty duvet sets – stars, animals, whatever I knew Nathan likes. Who would want to sleep in a bed with boring sheets? Again, I used this opportunity to show excitement at the fact that he gets to sleep with all these beautiful animals and they’re also so excited to be sleeping with him.
Use comfort toys and books to your advantage
Nathan never had any comfort toys but ever since he moved to his bed, he had a lot of stuffed toys next to him and he became very attached to the monkey you see in the picture above. After a few days, if he went to bed and didn’t have his monkey, he would ask for it and then he would calmly go to sleep. If your child has any comfort toys or items, let them have it in the bed when they go to sleep.
Reading stories at bedtime wasn’t really a routine for us either, but ever since then, Nathan loves them. Now I know some stories by heart which makes it easier because I can switch the light off while telling him a story and in 15-20 minutes he will be fast asleep.
Be understanding and show empathy
Like I previously mentioned, you don’t know how your child will react. He will most probably cry for a few days, but that’s totally normal. Tell him you understand and you will always be there for him; but don’t give up just because it’s hard. Keep going; be consistent once you start and your child will get used to it and form a sleeping routine.