The transition from crib to bed can be a confusing time for parents. Uncertainty about when to make the move can lead to hasty decisions or unnecessary delays. The primary concern is usually the child’s comfort and maintaining the sleep routine established during their early months. Undoubtedly, a good night’s sleep should be a priority for the entire family, with regular and consistent sleep routines for both parents and children.

Preparing the Room

Before making the transition, take the time to adjust the room and select a suitable bed. A child-friendly bed that appeals to your little one can encourage them to spend time in it. Fun-shaped beds, such as bus-shaped bunk beds or car-shaped beds, are always a hit with children. Brightly colored textiles (sheets, blankets, bedspreads, duvet covers, cushions, or pillows) add a splash of color. If they feature dinosaurs, princesses, or superheroes, success is almost guaranteed!

Safety First

Safety should always be the top priority. Therefore, it’s important to install a guardrail to prevent your newly independent child from waking up on the floor.

Emotional Attachment

Some children adapt easily to change, while others may find it challenging. Generally, children tend to be attached to their crib (or their parents’ bed) until about 36 months. This attachment is not just a matter of habit; there’s a significant emotional element at play, with feelings of comfort, security, protection, and tranquillity associated with it.

Easing the Transition

Here are some simple rules to help ease the transition:

  • Place the child’s new bed in the same spot where their crib used to be.
  • There’s no need to start using adult sheets and blankets right away. It might be a good idea to fill this new space with their old belongings. These familiar items can provide a sense of security until they adjust to the change.
  • Consider their preferences when choosing the decor and furniture for their room. Even if you love pink for your little girl, she won’t feel comfortable in her new space if her favorite color is green.
  • Be patient and understanding. Allow them to get acquainted with their new bed at their own pace. Try to create positive experiences by reading stories to them in bed, for example. It might be a good idea to start with naps before expecting them to sleep alone at night.
  • Some parents turn the big bed change into a celebration to motivate their child. They choose a date for the “opening” of the big bed and start motivating the child a week before. When the big day comes, they throw a party with friends, cousins, grandparents, etc.
  • Finally, if you find that you’ve transitioned your child from the crib too soon and they’re resisting the new bed, don’t be disheartened or force the issue. Encourage them to give it a try, but if they remain upset after a few days, consider bringing back their old crib. Some children simply aren’t ready to make the leap to the big bed. Forcing a young child to transition prematurely can have adverse effects. It may be beneficial to take a step back and try again later. However, it’s crucial not to view the return to the crib as a regression in your child’s development. In some cases, several attempts may be necessary, and you might be surprised when your child unexpectedly starts to love their new bed!
  • Remember, every child is unique and will adapt to changes at their own pace. Patience and understanding during this transition period are key.

Conclusion: Embracing the Big Bed Transition

Transitioning your child from a crib to a big bed is a significant milestone in their life and yours. It’s a process filled with mixed emotions, uncertainties, and challenges. However, with patience, understanding, and the right approach, it can also be a rewarding and memorable experience.

Remember, every child is unique and will adapt to changes at their own pace. It’s important not to rush the process or view any temporary return to the crib as a setback. Instead, see it as part of the journey. With time, your child will come to love their new bed and the independence it brings.

So, whether you’re just starting to think about making the transition, or you’re in the midst of it, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help ensure that the move to the big bed is a positive step forward for your child and the whole family. Happy transitioning!

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This article was written by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa

Luzmery Child Psychologist Storyberries

Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents, and families. Since 2016, she has run a Psychological Center in Venezuela called Psicoluz. She offers workshop facilitations to parents, is involved in recreational activities for children, and has been working as a freelancer since 2017 performing online psychotherapy.