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I’ve gotten some questions about how we switched Ev out of his crib into a big kid bed. He was just over two and had just started climbing out of his crib. And truthfully, we needed the crib for the baby’s room so we wouldn’t have to buy another one. He’s been in his new bed for a little over a month and I would say it’s been a success. We’ve never fought him over bed or nap time, he is happy and sleeps just as well as he did in a crib, and it’s been a fun little project to make the space a little more grown up for him. So I’ll share with you all what worked for us, and hopefully it can help you too.
Before we even switched him, we started talking it up about how babies slept in cribs and how he was going to get his own, special bed. That alone kept him pretty excited. The baby was still in our room, so it didn’t feel like we were taking something away from him to give to the baby, but rather giving him his own special thing. We already had a good bedtime routine established, so we kept everything the same there.
As far as changing the room, we wanted to involve him in the process and give him choices whenever we could. We picked out the coolest fun house bed and decided to switch him straight to a twin bed instead of doing the toddler conversion, then having to get another thing down the road. We let him pick out his own comforter (except for the Spider Man one that I vetoed).
My best tip is to look carefully at mattresses. We knew Ev wouldn’t be able to understand how to tell us if something was comfortable or not, so it left it all up to us to decide. So we thought about what we definitely needed in a mattress, because if your kid is sleeping, that means you get to sleep, right?
- something that would support the weight of an adult and child equally (because we thought we might have to lay in bed with him to help him fall asleep, and we didn’t want to wake him while trying to sneak out)
- soft, but not too springy (aka fun to jump on), so probably foam
- movement support without waking him up (because a bigger bed means more space to roll around while you’re sleeping)
- air flow and cooling (because my kid is sweaty, like a lot)
The Leesa had everything we were looking for, plus it had a 100 night trial, so we knew if it wasn’t working, we could get a different one. We loved that it was a local company (what up Virginia Beach) and had a mission to give mattresses to homeless and at-risk people across the United States. Setting it up was the easiest thing ever. It was delivered straight to our door, and all we had to do was unbox it and put it on the bed frame to air out.
So what worked?
We let him take a few small toys and books in to bed with him. We’re not super strict on when/how he falls asleep, but we do make him stay in bed when it’s time to rest. We allow plenty of time for him to wind down. Sometimes this means three or four books, sometimes it means letting him roll around and move his stuffed animals around multiple times. We know having more space means him feeling like theres more freedom and we don’t want bed time to feel like a punishment.
Just recently, he learned to open doors, which is both kinda cool and annoying. He would get up at like 3 am, and open our door and whisper at us. Talk about creepy. So we got him this alarm clock that turns green when he is allowed to get up in the mornings. Don’t ask me why it works to keep him in his bed, but it has definitely helped. Even if he gets up and comes to our room, we walk him back and tell him it’s not time to get up yet and he says “when the alarm clock turns green.” It has helped us adjust his waking time from 5-5:30 AM to 6:30 AM.
Most importantly, be flexible and understand it may take time for them to adjust. For the first few nights, he didn’t get out of bed, but he would call out to us a lot. Then after a few times, he realized he actually could get out of bed, and he would get up and bang on the door. We would just calmly put him back in bed and lay with him for a few minutes if he wanted us to. We typically wouldn’t allow him to fall completely asleep with us in the room, because we didn’t want him to get used to it. Some nights it would be four or five times before he would fall asleep, but most nights it was only once or twice. After about a week, I would say he was completely adjusted and he would stay in bed when it was bed time.
I hope these tips come in handy for you! If any of you have additional suggestions of what worked for you, leave a comment and let me know. Happy sleeping to you and your babes!