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I’ll be honest here.
The first time my youngest climbed out of his crib I cried.
My oldest looked at me like I was insane.
Transitioning my oldest to his toddler bed was absolute hell and I was nowhere near ready to do it again.
But alas, I’ve learned some tricks since then and gained some patience so here we go.
Tip one.Wait as long as you can. My oldest started climbing out at 18 months and he was nowhere near ready. It made the transition harder and longer. With my second, I used wearable blankets, to stall his ability to climb out. We made it to two years before he started flipping out head first, letting us know we needed to transition right away before he breaks his neck. Regardless of age, as soon as they can climb out, it’s time whether you’re ready or not.
Tip two.Change as little as possible. With my oldest, I made a big ordeal about making his big boy room. I bought him a massive race car bed and repainted and decorated. I think it was too much and made it stressful instead of exciting. With my youngest I just simply removed the rail, transitioning his crib to a toddler bed and baby proofed his room.
Tip three.Do one thing at a time. While your little one is transitioning, it is probably not the best time to start potty training or taking away their pacifier. Making one big change at a time will reduce the stress for both of you and make the changes go more smoothly.
Tip four.Make the room boring. It’s inevitable that their new found freedom is going to encourage them to explore after you tuck them in. With both kids, I had to take everything out of the room. The dressers went into the closet, toys into the living room leaving nothing but their beds, the rocking chair, and their blankets and pillows.
Tip five. Baby Proof. If your kiddo can turn the handle to escape the room or get into the closet, you’ll want to baby proof. I promise if your kid can leave the room, he will over and over until you’re pulling your hair out, and if the closet is accessible you’ll find all of his clothes strewn about the room. Ask me how I know.
Tip six. Patience. I usually have to return to the room two or three times to remind him to stay in bed and tuck him back in. My youngest usually falls asleep soon after that. My oldest however used to scream and kick at the door until he passed out behind it. It was awful, he was persistent and no amount of books, cuddling, or singing would put him to sleep. We just had to let him work it out on his own, just making sure to reassure him every so often that we were still there and he needed to go to sleep. It took lots and lots of patience.
Tip seven. Bed rail. The race car bed had tall sides. It was never an issue, but after my youngest would wake up crying in the middle of the night suddenly, we soon realized he was rolling out of bed. A quick two-day ship from Amazon fixed that issue and we are all sleeping peacefully through the night again.
Tip eight.Video monitor. If you can afford it now is the time to get that video monitor. I didn’t have one with my oldest and there were many times I woke him up checking on him or opened the door to find that he had played in his diaper. YUCK! Having a video monitor this time around is life changing. I can see that he is safe whether he is in or out of bed and have a better idea of when it is time to intervene.
I hope these help give you some guidance as you make the transition to your home.
Every kid is different and will react differently to these big changes associated with growing up.
Just remember to be consistent and this too shall pass!
If you have any other tips or tricks I left off I’d love to hear them!