I was NOT ready for this. If I had it my way, my toddler would be contained in the safety of her sweet little crib for many more days, weeks, months, (years!)… but the choice was no longer mine.
Recently my toddler (just 3 months past her 2nd birthday) decided that she didn’t want to sleep in her crib any more. The crib that my husband and I so carefully and thoughtfully picked out for her when we found out we would be having a baby girl. It happened very suddenly, I was not prepared! She figured out how to successfully (and repeatedly) climb out of her crib. It became clear that she was ready for a big girl bed… even though I was not ready!
SAFETY PROOF THE ROOM
The first step for us was figuring out a way to contain her to her bedroom. The thought of my strong-willed meets free-spirited little girl, wandering our house at all hours worried me… she knows how to unlock and open doors – she is a climber, she is curious, the world is her playground. We made sure to make her room 100% safe, anything that could impose any risk or danger (or that she could destroy) was removed. My husband bought a child lock for her door that we are able to put on the outside of the door so that she is secured in her ‘safe’ room.
PURCHASE THE MATTRESS, FRAME & BEDDING
The next step was ordering her bed. In the interim, we put an air mattress on her floor with bedding so that she could at least make the choice as to where she would sleep (crib, floor, recliner or air mattress – and once I found her on her night stand… YES – night stand!!!). We decided to buy the conversion rails for her crib and to make it into a full sized ‘big girl bed’. We ordered her a full sized (Simmons) mattress and box springs and I found the perfect bedding for her. Pottery Barn has a really fun app you can use for building the perfect bedding set!
TALK IT UP… BIG!!
While we waited for the bed frame, mattress and bedding to arrive, we really talked up her new Big Girl Bed! We made sure to make it sound like the coolest thing to happen since Daniel Tiger became a big brother. She was excited – she knew it was HER bed, she knew it was a BIG deal, she knew it was like the bed that Mommy and Daddy sleep in, etc. During that time she slept on her air mattress and was securely locked in her room. I only heard her try to open the door a couple times during this period and rarely did she get upset. She had books, her blankies and her stuffed animals to make her feel at peace.
LET THEM FEEL IN CONTROL & AT EASE
The big day finally came and we were able to put her big girl bed together, complete with her new bedding. I was a little nervous about it being higher off the ground -there are safety rails you can buy if you think your child may fall out. So far she is doing great! I don’t worry about the fact that she wants to sleep with 452 books and a glass piggy bank, or that she wants to have her light on because she is suddenly terrified of the dark. I simply let her feel in control and we will gradually get to the point where she doesn’t need the light on and we will remove the lock from the door. But for now we are celebrating the fact that she is sleeping in her big girl bed, all night long AND not trying to leave her room.