Friday, February 12, 2010

Requests From Our Readers: Week 19

This week we are talking about switching from a crib to a bed. Check out what our reader said....

"I have a 17 month old son and another baby on the way, due in the middle of April. My son will be 20 months old when the new baby arrives. I am trying to decide when the best time would be to transition my son to a "big boy bed." From the articles that I've read, I've learned that you definitely don't want to switch a child over before he is ready. But they do say that if you are changing a child over to a big bed because of a new baby, you should start 6-8 weeks before to baby arrives to avoid feelings of jealousy. I don't think my son will be ready by then but I also don't know what else to what do you think?

What has worked for you?
At what age did you transition your child to a "big bed"?
What was the reason for the transition (ie: new baby, potty training, child was ready, etc.)

So help her out! Be sure to address her specific concerns and let us know what you think about timing for switching to a bed. Thanks for reading and commenting and thanks for submitting reader requests!


Tannie Datwyler said...

I have one idea.... if you don't think your toddler will be ready for a bed by the time your baby is born you can put your baby in a bassinet for the first few months of life. Most bassinets hold babies up to 3 or 4 months.

If you don't have a bassinet or don't want to buy one you can use a pack 'n play which usually has a higher setting (that they call a "bassinet" insert...) for newborns.

This option gives you the flexibility to wait until your toddler is older.

As for when I transfered my daughter to a bed... it was at about 23 or 24 months. My son was going to be born when she was 25 months so I went ahead and switched her early. We really didn't need to though because I did use a bassinet for the first 4 months of my son's life. So by the time my son started to use the crib she'd already been in her bed for 5 months. But, I also thought she was just ready at about 24 months. So I guess you could say age was more the reason instead of a new baby.

She did great at that age! But that was her.... :) Hope this helps.

Hilary said...

I did NOT want to put my oldest in a bed until she was done taking naps, 'cause I knew in a bed she'd be able to 'escape' and we'd never get a decent nap again! So, we bought a second crib . . . for only about $100, and it was the kind that could later transition into a toddler bed, that we put her into when she was a year and a half.

Megan said...

We switched my son at 15 months. The reason being that he was getting out of his crib and hurting himself in the process. It was a little stressful for the first week because he wanted to play with his toys and not stay in bed. But, after the first couple nights, it was great and he sleeps great in his toddler bed.

I don't have a second, but when we have another baby, I do plan on the baby staying in the bassinet for the first couple months and then switching to a crib. At that point we will probably transition my son to a twin bed and move the toddler bed out of the bedroom since they will share.

Fisher Fam said...

My first went into a bed at about 25 months, we had a new baby and we were moving - it just worked out better that way. The new little one stayed in her bassinet for about 6 months, lots longer than anticipated, but housing made it necessary for then. My son seemed ready when he could verbally talk about it with me. He was excited for his new bed. We also kept some of the things from his crib in his bed, like an animal that sings, or his sippy cup. It helped make a smoother transition.

Delia said...

I think every child is different. If you don't feel your child is ready yet, the bassinet option would be great in the mean time. I would not give in to the pressure or follow professional advice to do something that I know my child wouldn't be ready for. You know your child best.

We switched my oldest at 19 months because he was posing a hazard to himself climbing onto the rail and then falling down to the ground. When he was about 2 1/2 we moved him to a twin bed. I won't lie. My son was a good sleeper until we switched him (meaning that if he didn't want to sleep he would just play and sing to himself whenever he woke in the middle of the night or if he woke up at like 5 AM). Now he doesn't sleep that great and didn't nap great either after the move because he can get out. He just still gets so distracted with things he wants to read and play with that sleep is not as cool...very much how I am so I get it and sympathize with him. Still...I want to give him the opportunity to get enough sleep so he isn't a grouch. Even quiet alone time helps him rest.

Until he was about 3 1/2 we took everything out of his room. All there was, was his bed. We did have his clothes and a few books for a while but on some really bad nights those turned into toys and my son started unsafely climbing onto the furniture (which as I am typing this realize that this shouldn't have surprised me since he had to be moved from a crib for similar acrobatic antics). We figured taking out everything would help keep him safe and take away distractions so he could let his mind rest and maybe help him sleep better.

This sounds terrible and to some maybe extreme, but once he got old enough to understand and respect rules we set about his room everything was fine. He now has almost all his toys in his room but stays on his bed reading books if he can't sleep....most of the time (every kid has their day). I found that it became even more important that our daily schedule was predictable and that bed time was as consistent as possible...especially for a long while after they first are moved. We waited for occasional late movie nights until he was strongly settled into the big boy bed routine. Also at this point (3 1/2) he started to phase out naps which are admittedly the hardest time for an active child who has a hard time sleeping. We then just put him to bed earlier ( like 7:30) and he is so tired by bedtime usually that he doesn't have a hard time at bed time as much anymore(he is now 5).

My other son who is 16 months LOVES to sleep and begs to be put down for a nap or to bed. A total 180 from my older son. I can't really predict how the transition will be for him, but I anticipate that he might be a better sleeper since he has been a better sleeper overall from the beginning...and this would most likely play a factor in how well he transitions to a big boy bed. My point in saying that is consider your son's disposition and if he is like my first son, there may be some extreme measures you have to implement so anticipate that.

Erin said...

I ended up transferring my boy when he was about 20 months. His baby sister was due the next month. I had read the same things, and that you should wait to transfer then until after the baby comes because you don't want them to have to change too many things at once. Like, the baby comes and steals my bed and my mommy! I wanted to avoid that so I planned on waiting for a few months until after she was born and putting her in a bassinet or a pack n play for a while. Then he could get used to the baby and maybe would love getting a new bed for himself. But the boy kept climbing out and I couldn't sleep at night because I was worried he would wake up and try to get out and break his neck. So, we moved him just a month before his sister came. The first few nights were hard and we just had to close his door. The poor thing. He was so confused! Where did his bed go, and what was things new thing? He spend the first few nights on the floor (I think) but after a while he learned that he was more comfortable where we left him. After that he was fine, and he didn't mind when the baby took his crib. I don't really know any tips for transition except to get them used to the idea of what a bed is for before you set one up in their room. Maybe you could stop and look at some in the store, or show him a friend or cousin sleeping in one so he knows what to do when he has his own.

Jessie said...

With both of my girls, we moved them to toddler beds around 22-23 months, because they were getting new siblings who would eventually need the crib. Instead of focusing on taking the crib away (for the baby), we focused on the cool factor of having a big girl bed. I made sure to talk about the transition we were making, too, so it wouldn't be as confusing when we put away the crib. I showed them that they could get books and things to read and do if they weren't tired enough to sleep, but most of the time, they've been pretty content to just go to sleep, at least at night.

I used a bassinet for each of my babies until they were about 3 months, which gave me about a 4 month period where no one was using the crib, which I think was a good amount of time for getting the older child used to having a new sibling without feeling too much like the baby is taking her bed.

On The Go Family said...

Our oldest was 24 months when #2 came along. Someone gave us a second crib so we kept her in there until she was three and the transition was SO easy then.

We moved our second over at 3 years as well (no rush -- baby won't be here until April) and it has been a complete NIGHTMARE with him. We've never had sleeping issues with him and now he's a mess.

So I don't know that there's really an ideal age. I think it's more about individual readiness and your situation at home. Whenever you do it, be sure you have a good strategy in place to handle night wakings if there are any. We moved #2 right before we unexpectedly had company and weren't able to be consistent with getting him back in bed -- what a headache that's turned out to be for us.

Now we're doing the supernanny approach (putting him back to bed right away without talking or showing any kind of emotion, no matter how many times a night it happens) and we're making progress, but we're having to erase SIX months of bad habits. Don't do what we did!

You can buy pretty cheap cribs on Craigslist. As others have said, a bassinet or pack and play also works great when baby is first born and should give you some extra time.

We recently moved our 3 1/2-year-old out of the nursery into his "big kid room." As we were showing him the new setup, he excitedly said, "Can I give my old room to the baby?" He totally thinks it was his idea and has had NO PROBLEMS moving on. Whatever you end up doing -- GOOD LUCK!