1. Make it a big deal. We all get excited when moving one from one place to another but especially when making the movement means independence. Before making the transfer talk to your child about how exciting it is that they are big enough now to sleep in a “big kid’s bed”. It can be great to make a shopping trip where you can let them choose special bed linens of their choice. You can also have a mini ceremony celebrating this big move.
2. Safety is a must. Now that your toddler has their freedom be prepared that they will be looking to explore. Ensure that the room is safe and limit the areas they can explore. Anchor dressers and large furniture, limit access to drawers and closets, and ensure they cannot get into any creams or lotions. I always sit in the middle of room before we start the first night and try to think of any troubles a toddler can get into. Believe me Vaseline is terrible to clean off walls and out of toddlers hair.
3. Routine, Routine, Routine. Even though they are sleeping in a different place try to keep to a similar bedtime routine as they had in the crib. Keep with the same bed routine just be prepared they will try to modify due to their independence.
4. Be prepared for negotiations. It is important to try to anticipate your toddler’s needs before they even ask. This way you can show them everything is there e.g. Sippy cup of water, pacifier, teddy, or even Kleenex. You should also be prepared that they may ask you to cuddle with them for just a few more minutes. If you do try using a timer so there is no negotiating how long.
5. Stay firm and be strong. The first few nights your child will try to test their limits of their new independence and it is important that you stick to your guns and walk them back to their new bed. Be stern that it is bedtime and time to sleep but be patient , as this is a pretty exciting
6. Fill them with praise. We all love encouragement so make sure in the morning you praise them for sleeping in their bed like “big kids do”. For toddlers who like rewards, have a chart that if they can sleep in their bed alone each day they get a star. Five stars equal a special day with mom and dad or special gift.
7. Some helpful tools. Having a special night light, white noise machine, or a special bed friend like Dora can all make this transition easier for your little toddler. To help them understand when they can come out of their bed try using a digital clock with only the hour showing if they understand numbers or check out this great behaviour clock using the sun and the moon. HYPERLINK "http://www.goodnitelite.com/" www.goodnitelite.com