You may remember my pleas for help on Instagram back in August when Knox started consistently crawling out of his crib (at 22 months). Even though we have another baby on the way (due at the beginning of the year), he seemed too little to move into a big boy bed. I took the advice of my sweet followers and tried the following suggestions before realizing he was ready to be moved out. If any of you are in the same boat, here is what we did first…
- Knox has always slept in a sleep sack and he still was, however, he figured out how to unzip it and take it off before he climbed out. We tried putting in on backwards with the zipper in the back to keep him in his crib. However, this didn’t work, but for a few days. The little stinker still got out of it somehow and would also climb out wearing the sleep sack.
- We also tried turning the crib around. His crib has a high back so someone suggestion flipping it around. I thought this was genius, but unfortunately he was crawling out the sides so this didn’t help either.
- Another suggestions that sounded like it would work, although we didn’t try this one, was to put the mattress directly on the floor (inside the baby bed). Since the lowest level on the bed was still high enough for him to get out, this probably would have worked, but we decided to go ahead and transition him to a big boy bed at this point. Which leads me to our experience and tips…
One evening FMK and I were both home putting Knox to sleep. Typically, this would just involve bath, a few bedtime stories and then putting him in his crib and calling it a night. However, on this night, Knox kept reappearing in the living room. In other words, he was crawling out of his bed. We have a video baby monitor and a nest camera on our phones so we were watching him do it (with skill, I might add). I was getting frustrated and worried he was going to hurt himself, but we weren’t really prepared for any other options as I hadn’t purchased a safety rail for the twin bed in his room, yet. So, FMK took his baby mattress out of the crib and laid it on the floor. By now it was well after bedtime and we didn’t know what else to do. So, we lined all his babies (stuffed animals) up around the mattress, told him what a big boy he was and how exciting it was to sleep on the floor and locked him in his room.
Yes, we locked him in his room. It sounds so awful, but it was honestly the only way to keep him from waltzing right out the door. I rationalized it to myself by reminding myself he wasn’t able to get out of his room in a baby bed either so how is this different? Keep in mind, we were also watching on the baby monitor to see how this was going to play out and his room is perfectly safe and child proof.
After trying to open the door, realizing he was locked in and crying for about 30 minutes, Knox walked over to his mattress on the floor and laid down with his puppy, Abby, and went right to sleep. Success!
The following night, after we went through the usual bedtime routine, we locked the door again. Again, we watched Knox on the monitor get up and check the door. This time he realized he was locked in and just crawled back on to his mattress and went to sleep. No tears. No fuss.
After a few nights on the mattress on the floor, the guard rail arrived from Amazon Prime. It was time to get the baby mattress off the floor and officially pass it on to the new baby’s nursery. We made a big deal to Knox about what a big brother he is going to be and how neat it is to sleep in the big boy bed. He was excited to sleep in the twin bed and hasn’t looked back since… at bedtime. Naps however have presented a little more of a challenge…
Now that Knox has full access to his room, we did go through a bigger challenge with the transition at nap time. I would watch him on the monitor get out of his bed, bring books, toys, etc. back up and play with for 30 mins or more before falling asleep. Some days he would go to the window and talk to anyone he saw passing on the street. (Our neighborhood has a lot of young families and kids playing outside.) I would hear “hi!” coming from the monitor and see his little hand waving at the window. The best was when a dog would pass by, he is obsessed with dogs! ha! I just sat there entertained hoping he would get tired and find his way back to bed.
Most days he did, but one afternoon he was in a blind spot on the baby monitor and I couldn’t see him, but I didn’t hear anything either. I thought to myself, ‘how cute, he must have fallen asleep in his new tepee!’ (We replaced the baby bed with a tepee in his room.) I headed toward his room to check on him, and I could hear his little breaths coming from under the door. Sure enough, he fell asleep on the floor right inside the door. I couldn’t even open the door to move him to his bed without opening the door on him so I did what any parent would do – took a picture from under the door and let him have his nap. 😉 Surprisingly, he actually slept a full two hours that day.
Other days that week were more frustrating. He literally played in his room for over an hour, never making his way back to his bed. I would go in there to try everything to get him to sleep, but with no success. These days were two hours of back and forth until I just gave up. This lasted for the first week or two of the transition into his big boy bed. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I tried two things at once that finally worked so I am not exactly sure which one or if both were the magic solution for us.
For one, I started putting him down for nap time a little later hoping that he would be so tired he would go to sleep better. Instead of his usual 12:30 nap time, I put him down at 1:30 for a few days. He is obsessed with getting a treat (anything sweet) so I told him he could have a cookie when he woke up if he took a nap in his bed. After a few days of going down late and getting a cookie when he woke up, he was sold. Nap time hasn’t been a battle since and we are back to going down at his normal nap time between 12:30-1:00pm.
Although I can’t promise the transition will be seamless, all I can say is just hang in there for those few days or weeks where you feel like he may never nap again. I had people tell me on Instagram the day they moved into a big bed was the day their child stopped napping, but I honestly refused to accept that idea. A two-year old is still so little and they need good sleep and good naps to develop and be happy during the day. Stay persistent and stay strong and you will make it out on the other side… even if you have to resort to bribery and a locked door (like I did).
After living and learning through our transition, here are a few tips and tricks to hopefully help you make it through more seamlessly than we did.
- Timing – Generally speaking most they say to transition your child out of a crib when they are able to climb out themselves (usually between 18-24 months of age or 35 inches tall). However, some babies are more agile and begin doing this sooner and some babies are perfectly comfortable in their crib and my not do this at all. Just keep in mind, the longer they stay in their crib the more attached they may become making the transition harder down the road. Another big factor that can often determine when you make the move is when a new sibling is on the way. If you need the crib for a new sibling, begin the process 2 months before the new baby’s arrival as this can be a sensitive time for the older sibling. The longer he is situated in his new bed the less he will feel like the new baby has taken something from him.
- Deciding on the next step – Once you know it is time to transition out of the baby bed, the next step is deciding where they should go next. As our situation didn’t allow for any planning since it was a safety concern, we moved the baby mattress to the floor. Although this wasn’t planned, it provided a great in between step and may have helped Knox with the transition into his twin bed. Some parents deliberately include this step, others convert their crib to a toddler bed, and some go straight to a twin bed (like we are in now). I personally didn’t want to spend any time or money on another temporary solution like a toddler bed which is why we went straight to the twin bed.
- Make the new bed their own – It can be exciting to let the child help pick out the new bed, sheets, pillows, etc. if you are purchasing something new. Knox’s twin bed was already in his room so we just brought over all his favorite stuffed animals to make his new bed feel like home. It also helps to get the baby bed out of their room to help prevent any confusion or stress from having to decided which bed to sleep in. After all, the old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ goes a long way at this age.
- Follow a predictable bedtime Routine – As with any new change in a child’s life, it is best to keep as much consistency as possible. We stuck to his normal bedtime routine of bath, stories and prayer before bed to help ease him in to bedtime.
Good luck and please share your stories and tips in the comments below for all the other moms out there reading this! Thanks for stopping by! xo, CHK