Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Boy Bed Tips

Last night my little guy turned into a big boy. It's crazy that it can literally happen over-night! A couple of months ago, Liam learned to climb out of his crib. Luckily for us, there was one more set of brackets, so we were able to lower his mattress and buy us a little more time. Knowing that he had learned the skills needed to escape, we knew that lowering the mattress would not solve the problem long-term, so we began to prepare for a big boy bed.
We are so thankful that Liam's cousin Aiden out-grew his big boy bed right about the time we were in the market for one. We were also very lucky that the bed fit the Cars theme that Liam had already picked out. Before we got started, we both did a lot of reading about how to make the switch from crib to toddler bed an easy one. I also talked to several friends who had already made the switch to get any ideas that they had.

Here are the tips that seemed to work for us:

*Talk about the move from crib to bed before actually making the transition- We talked to Liam about the move many weeks before it actually happened.

*Let the child help pick out the bed/bedding- Although we were extremely lucky that what Liam wanted fit what we were given, we took him to Target and let him browse the bedding section. He just happened to pick out a sheet set that fit the bed!

*Have the child help with the assembly process- My husband, Liam, and I spent about an hour putting the bed together as a family. It didn't necessarily take that long to put it together, but we took our time and made it fun.

*Keep the crib in plain sight for a bit- We found this to be a big help! A child's crib is the place where they feel the safest, so taking it away the same time that you put them into a new bed can make it scarier for the little one. We left it up in the same spot it's always been.

*Once you make the transition, don't go back- We haven't had to deal with this yet, but I completely understand why this is an important step to follow. Even though we left the crib in the room, we used the crib mattress for the big boy bed. This way we won't be able to easily transfer him from one to the other. It's just as much for us as it is for him.

*Use a nightlight- Liam has never been afraid of the dark, but we were concerned that he would be nervous about the switch so we did it anyway.
*Be consistent- The first time that Liam got out of his bed, we took him back, laid him down, said goodnight, and left the room. The next time he got up, he tried to open the door (we are very lucky he can't yet) and after a failed attempt, went to bed.

*Think ahead- Look around the room and make sure that anything that could be unsafe to a wandering child, is put up or secured. A couple of examples are that Liam's dresser could be a bit unstable if it were to be climbed on, so we secured it to the wall. Also, his changing table was placed under the window. Knowing that he has learned to climb up it, we put it in the closet. Even picking up any toys that they could trip over and making sure that any cords (blinds, monitors, etc.) are out of reach.

*Follow the same bedtime routine- Liam has always been easy to put down. We read a couple of books while rocking, then give hugs, kisses, and say goodnight, we lay him down, turn off the light, and close the door. It has always worked for us, so we followed the same steps to put him to bed. I think that this helped greatly!

*Be positive!- When we discussed the big boy bed we always made it seem fun and exciting. It was always expressed as something that was a big deal and a huge step toward becoming a big boy. By the time the bed actually came out, he was jumping up and down with excitement.

We have only made it through one night so far, but already these tips have come in handy. If things change and more tips are useful, I will be sure to share them. But my fingers are crossed, that this will be one part of parenting that will be easier than expected. Here's to being hopeful!

Sleeping 10 minutes after turning the light out.


  1. Update: 2 months later Liam is doing amazing in his big boy bed! We have had no problems with bedtime at all. It has been one of the easiest transitions we have experienced in parenting. The only issues we have come across are during nap time. Liam has realized that he can just get out of bed and play. At first this stressed me out and I was constantly heading up the stairs to stop him, but I quickly realized that my appearances were not helping the situation. About a month ago I decided I would just let him play and hope that he would eventually fall asleep on his own. It worked! Don't get me wrong, we have had a few napless days, but overall Liam is still taking his 3 hour naps without help from me! Good luck with your big kid!

  2. Thanks for posting the update. I have twin girls and we just turned their cribs into beds (daybed type). At night time they go to bed right away. It is naptime that is the hardest. I always feel the need to go back and make them get back into bed. After reading how you handled it, it makes me feel better that they arent the only ones with a naptime issue :) I'm going to try and let them go and hopefully they will just fall asleep.

  3. triplea momma, good luck! I hope that my experience ends up working for you as well. It's just so tricky! You want them to stop playing and lay down, but my thoughts are, eventually they are going to have to learn how to do that on their own, so why not now! It does get easier.

  4. How old was your son when you started the transition? My son's 18 months old and we're debating whether or not to try and put him in a big boy bed. We're going to be trying to get pregnant very soon and would like him settled before we take his crib away.

  5. He was just under two, but I think 18 months could be old enough. I know that having some time between the new baby and the big boy bed has been very helpful for us, so I would suggest giving him as much time as possible before the new baby comes. Good luck!

  6. I have a 16 month old and he won't sleep in his crib so what should I do

  7. If he won't sleep in his crib, it's the perfect time to try the big boy bed! Make it a positive, exciting milestone. I think that the best thing we ever did, was transition before he was big enough to open his bedroom door. By the time he could, he had already learned the drill, and had no issues with staying in his bed. Let me know, if you have anymore question! Good luck!!