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The Truth About Transitioning Your Toddler to a Bed

Photograph by Twenty20

Remember when you thought that sleep training your baby would finally mean you could sleep again? Well that was a lie, sold to you by the corporate interests of Big Baby, by which I mean your mom who just wants some more grandkids. The truth is that once your kid sleeps well in their crib, you will eventually move them to a toddler bed.

Moving your baby from a crib to a toddler bed is a huge step, mostly because it heralds your ability to trap your child into a confined space for almost 12 hours. Most experts recommend you make the move when your child starts trying to climb out of the crib. When my daughter was 2 we made the switch, because we were foolish and thought "it was time." Afterward, we swore our second child would remain in his crib until he was in college. But we eventually transitioned him when he started taking his diaper off and peeing everywhere during naptime.

Here is some advice I have for you if you are considering making the transition.

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1. Don't do it.

I mean it. Don't do it. If your kid is happy, if they don't try to leave the crib, never move them. I don't care if they are 9 and ashamed to have people over for sleep overs. Never do it.

2. Buy whiskey

Fine. You are doing this. You didn't listen to my first piece of advice, so you are going to need this tip: Buy booze. Preferably hard liquor, because you are going to need it when you still hear little footsteps pattering around in the room at midnight.

3. Gate everything

I mean sure, you gated things when your baby started walking, but you really need to gate things now. Why? Because the odds are pretty good that your sweet child will be wandering the halls at night. Gate their door. Gate your door. Gate the stairs.

4. Ear plugs

There was no way to stop it. All we did was put in ear plugs and pray.

When we moved our daughter to her big girl bed, she began screaming and kicking the walls at night. There was no way to stop it. All we did was put in ear plugs and pray.

5. Get religion

Having someone else like a god or deity to curse to in the middle of the night when your child sneaks into your bed helps redirect your anger away from your child and spouse.

6. Just plan on not sleeping

Even when the transition is great. You are going to have an adjustment period. Buy some frozen pizza, make sure you have coffee on hand, and remember it's OK to cry because no, it never ends, you will never sleep, not ever. I know. Come here and give me a hug.

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7. Get a safety cover for your child's door knob

But here is the kicker, put it on the inside of their door, so they can't get out. Wait, what? Locking your child into their own room. That's insane and cruel! Never do it. (But maybe do it for the first month of the transition, especially if your kid climbs over gates.)

8. Go out for dinner

The night before you make the switch, go out for dinner and celebrate your last few moments before the "Mom! I need a drink of water!" phase begins in your life and never ends.

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