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September 9, 2020

Cutting The “Crib Connection” – How To Guide Your Little One Into A Big Kid Bed

Along with potty training and pre-school, transitioning from a crib to a big kid bed is a huge change for a little one! Since most kiddos associate their crib with security, it can be challenging to break what I call the “crib connection.” However, there are a few clever strategies you could use to nudge your kiddo out of the crib.

Along with potty training and pre-school, transitioning from a crib to a big kid bed is a huge change for a little one! Since most kiddos associate their crib with security, it can be challenging to break what I call the “crib connection.” However, there are a few clever strategies you could use to nudge your kiddo out of the crib.

If you’re planning on moving your toddler to a bed, check out the tips I’ve put together below. Keeping these considerations in mind could help your child feel more confident about leaving their crib behind.  

First Off, How Do You Know Your Baby Is Bed-Ready?

Faithful readers of my blog will know I always stress the importance of listening to your little ones rather than following a strict schedule. Like with any other major transition, your goal should be to gently guide your kiddos out of the crib when they feel comfortable.

As a guideline, most mommas start transitioning their little ones into a bed between 2 to 3 years old. Many pediatricians strongly recommend moving a toddler to a big kid bed if they’re at least 35 inches tall or begin climbing on top of the crib.  

When your toddler reaches two, start mentioning a big kid bed in a positive light.  If possible, place their crib near their future bed to get them familiar with it as early as possible. You could also try a few midday nap sessions on the bed to help your kiddo get a taste for “crib-less” nights.

Move To The Bed With Your Kiddo’s “Crib Critters”

One simple way to ease this transition is to place a few comforting stuffed animals, toys and blankies in the crib from an early age. Over time, these items will become associated with the safety children feel while in a crib.

When it comes time to try napping on a bed, be sure to bring these crib toys along for the ride. Although it may not seem like a big deal, these items serve as a subtle reminder of the comfort your child felt in the crib.            

Give Your Kiddo “Creative License” With The Bed Design

Another tip many childcare experts recommend is getting your toddler’s approval before setting up their bed. Even if you’ve already decided what mattress is right for your kiddo, try to make them feel like they’re calling the shots. Take your little one to the store or show them bed designs online. The goal here is to give them a sense of control over the new bed situation.  

Giving your toddler a little authority could also transform fears of leaving their crib into excitement for a “personalized” bed. Plus, since your toddlers had a say in the design, they can prepare for the transition well ahead of time.

Don’t Neglect Your Bedtime Routines

Little ones CRAVE consistency, especially when they’re faced with a significant change like leaving the crib. Maintaining a reliable bedtime routine could provide your little one with a soothing sense of stability as they adjust to a new way of sleeping.  

One of my favorite routines is reading a kid-friendly book, but I know some mommas who play classical music or pray every night instead! As long as what you do is soothing and consistent, then you’re on the right track!

While we’re talking about routines, I’d suggest you avoid transitioning to a bed if your kiddo is already going through another big change. For instance, it’s not a good idea to transition your child into a bed and start pre-school. Even mommas need time to process big life changes, so be double sure to space out your toddler’s major milestones.    

Feel free to check out this previous blog for additional tips on establishing nighttime rituals.  

Have Patience – Leaving The Crib Can Take Time

Please don’t get discouraged if your little one takes a little longer than “average” to overcome their crib attachment. Many pediatricians say it could take a few months before your little one feels entirely comfortable sleeping alone in a bed. Also, please don’t be too hard on them when they get up during the night.

As long as you gently introduce your kiddos to a big kid bed, they should naturally gravitate toward it when they’re ready. If your little one expresses anxieties about leaving their comforting crib, you might want to read through my previous post on effective ways to manage fear. Happy transitioning! And as always, please feel free to reach out to me via DM on Instagram @windycitynanny! XOXO!


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