How did we even get here?
Our not-so-little Levi is now four years old! On one hand, it feels like yesterday that my water broke in the middle of the night and we excitedly and nervously made our way to the hospital…but then again, I almost forget what life was like without him. Time sure is a thief.
Through the many stages you go through with a little one, from crawling to walking, to feeding them solid food and potty training them, so much happens in such a short amount of time. Now another big achievement has come our way, transitioning our toddler into a big kids bed! He was in a tiny toddler bed before, but I still feel that the toddler beds are low and protected enough with a bit of railing to not be a huge change – here I will be talking more on the big kid beds, like a single or double, but the tips will, of course, apply to those transferring from a crib to a toddler bed as well.
Tips for Transitioning Your Toddler To a Big Kids Bed
I’m not exactly sure what the most daunting experience in this transition is. Maybe it’s that they are now more free to do as they please in the wee hours of the night, or hearing that worrisome and loud thud in the middle of the night followed by tears. Either way, it’s a completely understandably terrifying experience and somewhat underrated achievement to have your once little baby sleep in a regular bed.
It has been a few months that Levi has been sleeping in his big boy bed, so I wanted to share some tips and tricks we have maneuvered through when transitioning him
With anything regarding parenting, these are my opinions and I urge you to do what is best for your family. This is what I found best for mine.
Build the excitement + involve them
I know transitioning your little one to a big kids bed can be daunting, but don’t project those feelings onto them. They are growing up and doing things big kids get to do. This is an exciting time! Most toddlers don’t want to be babies anymore, and this is a great time to show them that you think they are a big kid!
We showed Levi the bed & mattress we were picking out for him and got him all excited as he asked every day when the ‘mailman’ would bring it. We built up the excitement any chance we could, so when it finally came, he was chomping at the bit to set it all up! He was extremely excited about his important job of helping daddy put together his bed and get the mattress out of the box.
Opt for a foam mattress
I know this is a bit more specific, but hear me out. Levi is a mover, we catch him sleeping every which way possible. He’s the kid whose head is on the ground but his legs are still in bed. With a kid like that, falling out of bed was a big fear, as well as just having a restless sleep because he is always ‘on the move’.
My husband and I felt a foam mattress would take some of that worry away, so we tried the Canadian-made Endy mattress. Since putting Levi in the Endy mattress, he has woken up only 10% of the time when it used to be like 70% of the time, if not every night. The properties of their foam allow him to stay in his position comfortably, and when the dog jumps on his bed, which sometimes tends to happen, or if one of us falls asleep with him, the motion doesn’t transfer once we get off and he continues to sleep away. The mattress also features open air cell technology for a cooler night’s sleep – which I have read is one of the most important qualities for an important night’s sleep!
I do believe the mattress is the most important part of a good and restful sleep, and we have not been disappointed in choosing the Endy mattress for Levi. He even sometimes falls asleep before we come to tuck in him, which was unheard of before!
If you want to try out this amazing mattress use code STRAWBRIDGE50 for $50 off any sized mattress! (We have one for our bed too and ADORE it!)
Prepare for them falling out of the bed
This couples with my last tip. When Levi was in his toddler bed, he fell out quite a bit – that’s why we opted for the Endy mattress. He has only rolled out a couple times in his new bed, though that is mostly because he likes to sleep hanging off the side – I’m surprised he doesn’t fall off more.
You can prepare for this by laying a few blankets beside the bed so they have something soft to fall on. Some kids will roll out and just get back in bed without really realizing it, others may cry or just sleep on the floor! Depending on your child, they will eventually figure it out.
Make sure the room is toddler proof
This one obviously speaks for itself. Keep the large furniture anchored to the wall as much as possible, and take away anything they can choke on. Levi wakes in a complete state of oblivion sometimes, so I don’t trust his cute little butt one bit. Plug the outlets, take away toys they will need help with…you get the idea!
At some point, your toddler will get out of bed and want to play. Whether it’s once you put them to sleep, or in the middle of the night, or in the morning. Make sure they are able to safely be in their room without supervision!
Childproof the door
This one is totally dependant on what you are comfortable with! You could go as far as putting a gate on the door so you know your child won’t come out in the middle of the night. This can be an option if you are comfortable with them playing in their room for an hour before the rest of the house is up.
Alternatively, if you are okay with them coming out, let’s say if your child gets scared and wants to come in your room, or just wants to snuggle, there is something called the Toddler Monitor. The Toddler Monitor is a cute little device that hangs on the outside of their doorknob. Download the app and when the door opens, it sends an alarm to your phone. You can learn more about it here.
Start bedtime earlier
Levi’s bedtime was around 7:30 pm so we start getting him to bed at 7 pm in the beginning. Once we put him down, he almost always got up to try to play or jump on his bed. If we had started his bedtime at 7:30 pm he wouldn’t have fallen asleep until after 8 pm. I definitely encourage you to try to start bedtimes early so your whole night doesn’t disappear!
Give room for grace
Even though this is a hurdle, you are building the excitement that your little one is growing up. Don’t get stressed out if naps are becoming a little harder in the days to follow. I had to accept that some days Levi didn’t nap, but played silently in his room. For them it’s a new found freedom and independence, let them revel in it a little! Once the novelty wears off a little, I promise you will find your normal again.
There will be days when everything you work on gets thrown out the window. If you have kids, you know how unpredictable they can be! Keep working on the things that are important to you and important for your kids…it will be worth it!
& good luck!!
What are your best tips for transitioning toddlers to big kid beds?