General Question

keobooks's avatar

How did you transition from bed to crib with your toddler?

Asked by keobooks (14276points) November 1st, 2012

I never thought this would be so hard! She can climb out of her crib now, but she won’t sleep in a bed. Luckily, right now, she’s afraid of the dark and won’t get out at night, but nap times are chaotic. She either skips it or runs around like crazy until she passes out on the floor.

I’d like to get her transitioned before she thinks to climb out of the crib at night. Anyone have some tips?

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15 Answers

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zenvelo's avatar

Once my kids could climb, it became dangerous for them to be in a crib. (They can fall climbing over). So it is time now to start putting her to sleep in a bed.

Does she have a lovie or blanket she sleeps with? That, and being with her at sleep times to rub her back while going to sleep. You have to be patient but firm: it’s sleep time, not play time. Do you have any soothing music? With my kids it was a matter of setting it for sleep.

And one more thing: we tried to never let our kids come into our bed in the middle of the night. I set up a sleeping bag by my side of the bed so they could sleep on the floor, but once they are in your bed they will do it every night.

snowberry's avatar

We made sure the room was DARK, as in no light. That worked because her “bedroom” was actually the master closet. We put her in there, shut the door, and presto, no light! We did this when she was really tiny, so being in total darkness was normal for her.

Seek's avatar

Zen and I are kind of opposites on this issue, I think. Though, we both agree that it’s time to lose the crib. And that’s fine; there are many parenting styles, and no one is “right” or “wrong”.

I was very fond of co-sleeping, and sometimes (very occasionally) my 4 year old will find his way into my bed. Usually it’s for comfort after a bad dream. My thought is, it won’t be long before he has absolutely no interest in cuddling with Mama, so I’m going to take all I can get now.

We did our share of “run around until you pass out”, too. It didn’t last long before E started telling me “Mama, I’m tired. I think I’ll take a nap now.” He did that for a short time, but stopped taking regular naps before he turned three. Some kids just don’t need it, and that’s okay.

It does help to have a routine. I taught my son early on how to tell time. He’d run around and play, and eventually I’d ask him.
“E, what does the clock say?”
“Nine o’clock”
“And what does nine o’clock mean?”
“Bath, teeth, and jammies.”

If he is really good for bath, teeth, and jammies, I’ll reward him with an episode of Pokemon before bed.

tom_g's avatar

We co-slept with all three of my kids, allowing them to transition to their own bed/room when they felt they were ready.
But I do know someone who used a crib. I believe they purchased a “toddler bed” when things got dangerous. It was almost a half bed/half crib. I think it used a crib mattress and had some small rails, but wasn’t a danger if the kid decided to get up. Something like this.

bkcunningham's avatar

What do you mean she won’t sleep in a bed? Does her crib convert to a toddler bed?

SpatzieLover's avatar

We co-slept for a long time when it became obvious our son was terrified of sleeping or even being alone. He transitioned to his bed in our room at age 6.5. Most likely he’ll transition to his bed in his room around age 8 or 9.

Coloma's avatar

I never had a problem with this when my daughter was small. She was in her own room from day one and other than occasional feedings in my bed as an infant never slept with us.
I put her in a twin bed with one side up against the wall and she just went to bed in the new bed rather than the crib once she could climb out of it around 18 mos. or so.
I also made going to bed very matter of fact and there were never any struggles.

I just put her down, gave her a back rub, and said ” Goodnight”, walked out, closed the door halfway behind me.
Every child is different and you could try a slide under the side of the mattress safety rail, but I think mostly you just need to be firm and consistent.
Put her in bed, sit with her for a few minutes, relax her with a back rub and if she keeps getting up just calmly return her to bed no matter if it takes 20 times.
No big deal, no screaming or upset, just a calm, no-nonsense ” this is where you sleep and it is time for bed.”

I agree that for the most part if you let a child into the parents bed you will have a really hard time getting them out again. I had friends whose kids refused to leave the family bed for years and years. I wouldn’t like letting the child fall asleep on the floor either. Nope, they must learn to go to bed without a bunch of drama and struggle.

Good luck!

bkcunningham's avatar

I agree, @Coloma. You need to be consistent, very calm and no nonsense. I like a bath time routine before story time and bedtime. Everything should be very calm, relaxed and use very soft tones in your voice. Remind her as she is in the tubbie that after bath time she gets her stories and it is bedtime.

My granddaughter is perfect, of course. She loves her bedtime and nap time routine. She will try to get an extra story or two out of Gannie, but hey, I don’t mind. I rub her little back after the stories and tell her to get lots of rest for the fun we are going to have when she wakes up. If you have a something special you are planning with her, remind her in a calm manner that she needs her rest for that activity.

Don’t forget, you are the parent and she is the child. You are in charge. That means staying calm and in control. It can be tough sometimes and frustrating, but take a breath and hug her really tightly. Sweet dreams.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Well, if she can already climb out of the crib, I would take it down and put it away. I didn’t have any trouble transitioning my kids – they were so excited to graduate to a big kid bed. Of course, I had a youth bed with the half-railings as their next step, and they liked that.

Seek's avatar

My son has a teensy-tiny bedroom, and is currently sleeping on an antique chaise lounge (longue?) that a friend gave us. He calls it his “Ian-Sized bed” and likes the print of the cushions (Mongolian warriors on armored horses. I know, super tacky. I love it.) I think it’s important that the new bed (new potty, new anything, really, that could be “scary”) be made “special” to them in some way.

YARNLADY's avatar

We have been very happy with the Dreamlite we bought for the boys. It took about three nights of taking them back to their own beds to wean them from sleeping with us. I took them shopping and they picked out their own sheets to go on the beds.

When their Dad was growing up, he had a light on in his room every night until he was a teenager.

keobooks's avatar

This is all interesting stuff. I couldn’t cosleep after she was too big for the pack and play because I sleep with a CPAP machine and it’s got a big hose and mask to get tangled up in. My own husband can’t really sleep too close with the machine. But we had her next to the bed in the pack and play for 3 months.

She’s always been a good napper and is still great at bed time. I think we’ll try getting the room darker at nap time. She does seem to follow the sun. We have a tough time with her not wanting to sleep in the summer until it’s dark. But now she sleeps more than ever because it gets dark early and the sun comes up late.

Thanks for this input.

Seek's avatar


My son sleeps with a red lightbulb on. I’ve read a few studies that suggest red lights do not affect circadian rhythm the same way blue ones do.

Actually, he used to have a blue light in his room. Since I switched it to red, he hasn’t awakened in the middle of the night at all. This could be coincidence, but I’m keeping tabs.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Crib,playpen, then child bed with rails on the side.

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