HOW do we do this transition? Written by one of the A to Z Sleep Solutions’ Sensitive Sleep Consultants out of Minneapolis, Minnesota – Kate Swanson
This is the third part of our transitioning out of the crib series. To read the first two before you jump into this one.
First, make this a fun, positive experience that you can enjoy together. Get them involved in the process – let your little one help with turning their crib into a toddler bed, pick the place in the room that the bed will be located, or have them pick out a new set of sheets. This ownership of the process will make them feel included but remember to keep the whole discussion and transition down to just a day or two. If we draw out the process too much it can quickly turn into something stressful. We don’t want to build up any unneeded anxiety for our toddlers.
Next, turn the whole room into a big safe crib. Use a baby gate at the door to create a giant “crib” space. Keep all toys and distractions off the floor and out of reach. As your little one is settling to sleep, the fewer the distractions they have around, the easier it will be for them to fall asleep. Make sure dressers, bookshelves, and other furniture items are secured. Once your child is able to get out of bed on their own, they may decide to start exploring; this could even mean attempting to climb a bookshelf to reach a toy placed on a higher shelf. Also, have a good look around at power cords and window blind cables. You never know what our clever little ones will try.
Finally, communicate your expectations. This is a significant change for some children. We need to remember to establish boundaries and consequences and introduce positive solutions clearly. Be clear about what we, as parents, expect sleep time to look like. And remember, who is setting these boundaries? Is it you or your child? Our toddlers are experts at fighting sleep to get our attention. After our little ones have transitioned to their new sleep space, we can expect to see an experimentation period where our littles start exploring. The overall concept of time is still difficult for many young children to understand so give them a visual cue, such as a wake-up clock or alarm so that they know when sleep time is over and they can get out of bed. Be consistent – repetition is your friend – and most importantly be patient!
If transitioning seems like an overwhelming task for you – reach out to our sleep team and let us help guide and support you through! We will set up a step by step plan, based on your child’s temperament and your parenting style, to help this transition go as smoothly as possible. We have positive solutions to get your toddler sleeping and cut down the fight.