Moving To The Big Girl’s Bed

Dear Mamas,

My daughter just turned 2, and I’m pregnant with my second — due in August. Kaitlin loves her crib, she’s never tried to climb out, but I think she’s ready to make the move to a real bed and I’m acutely aware that we have another crib-dweller arriving soon.

We’re moving to a new house next month (about 6 weeks before my due date) and I’d like to make the transition before the move. Do you have any tips to make it easier?

Thanks!

Penelope

Dear Penelope,

The move out of the crib is an iconic moment to remember (with the first child, at least), so DO make it a big event with lots of fanfare. The more special and exciting you make it, the more engaged Kaitlin will be.

I’m not sure what your furniture plan is, but I always advise parents to skip the toddler bed. It’s a waste of money — a pure creation of the children’s furniture industry. Get a regular twin bed that will last for years, and if you’re worried about her falling out you have a few options:

1) Keep the box spring and mattress on the floor until you’re comfortable that she’s used to the new arrangement. If she rolls off, no big deal, she doesn’t have far to go.

2) Get safety rails that attach easily to the sides of the bed. Keep them in place as long as you need to.

3) Put padding (pillows or soft quilts) on the floor around the bed to break her fall. I can’t tell you how many times I found my kids on the padded floor next to their beds. Unharmed. Never woke up.

Take Kaitlin with you for this purchase. Let her choose any bedding she likes, even if you think it’s the tackiest Dora the Explorer print in the store. The key is that SHE loves it.

Before you pack up her crib, make it clear (every day for several days) that she’s getting a Big Girl’s Bed because she’s a big girl and doesn’t need a crib any more. Entice her with Dora.

Your challenge is going to be how to handle it when she wakes up in the middle of the night and realizes she doesn’t need to call you, she can just toddle right over to your room. She may not. One of mine seemed to think there was an invisible barrier, just like the bars on the crib. He would sit up in bed and call us without budging until we came in.

You may want to set this up along with the new bed. Say something like: “Big Girl’s Beds (don’t forget to capitalize it) are just like your crib. If you want to get out of bed you need to call us to come and get you. You can’t get out of bed by yourself … Dora says so” … or whatever.

If this doesn’t work you may need to set up rules and boundaries about when it’s OK to get out of bed. Take a look at this color-coded clock we wrote about awhile back that may help.

The important thing is, DON’T bring her into your bed and DON’T go backwards and put her back in the crib. Remember, you’re the boss and you make the call. Even if it means leading her back to her new bed several times a night at first. You made the decision and you need to stick to it.

Finally, count on some regression when the new baby comes. Chances are she’ll go backwards in a few areas in the attempt to be “your baby” again. She may ask to nurse or drink from a bottle. If you’ve started toilet training she may back-slide and start having accidents. Be strong! This too shall pass. Take it as it comes and don’t make it a big deal, but keep the rules intact.

An early rough patch can create great memories and funny stories for when the kids get older. Good luck!

Email This Post Email This Post

Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?


Warning: Illegal string offset 'echo' in /home/mamasonc/public_html/mama/wp-content/themes/hybrid/library/extensions/custom-field-series.php on line 157

One response to “Moving To The Big Girl’s Bed”

  1. Paige

    Your advice was right on the money! My husband and I talked up the crib for a week before the transition. I took my daughter to buy bedding (and it was Dora, haha) and we made it a very special event. The transition could not have gone any smoother! My daughter loves her “big girl Dora bed”! We have used the line “Dora and Boots say so” about staying in her bed and she listened! I also took your advice and skipped the toddler bed and went right to the twin bed and I am so glad I did. It is one less thing she needs to transition to later down the road. Thanks again for your fantastic advice!

Leave a Reply

Loading

MAMAS ON DEMAND

PARENT COACHING
& CONSULTATION

With One or Both of Us


Go to AskDrMama.com & AskMamaEllen.com for the scoop!

Phone • Internet • Your Home or Group

Listen up

The Five Second Rule: True Or False?

If you pick it up within five seconds, you can eat it, right?

Watch This!

Teach your kids to step in and step up when they see a classmate being teased. Show them how to respond and tell them what to say. Let's try to make our world a little kinder and a little warmer. Please?

What You Said

  • Maggie sullivan: I have a neighbor, will holler and wave at me if i am near porch but if i try to sit in the yard, or...
  • Ellen Schrier: Thank you so much! Please come back often!
  • Ellen Schrier: Hi Lisa, Sorry for the very late response. We are sorry to hear about your daughter and are sure that...
  • Lisa jacobs: My daughter was in a car accident and now has a concussion. She is plan to go to Mexico City which is a...
  • RF: Well my baby had her first two bottom theeth at 10 months old and i tought so far so good and then now at 11...
  • ofertas cine: That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thanks...
  • Commercial Real Estate: Hello there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to...
  • actualite: Hi to every one, the contents present at this website are really remarkable for people knowledge, well,...
  • bonne année 2017: You need to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest websites on the web. I’m going to...
  • Samantha: My daughter wakes up with a rash on her face, back, neck, arms and some times hand. Once she starts moving...

Just so you know

The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.