Transitioning toddlers to their own bed is a daunting task! Especially if, (like me) they slept in your room for the first few years of their life. I definitely don’t think there’s anything wrong with having your kids sleep in your room, but if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re ready for a change!
Before I took the plunge, I had thought for awhile about moving my daughter into her own room and her own bed. One of the things that stopped me was the longer I waited the more anxiety I got thinking about how difficult it would be for me to transition her into her own room. I thought she would never want to sleep in her own room!
But alas, I knew the day had to come where I had to suck it up and at least make an effort to get her to sleep in her own room. My bed was becoming cramped and I wasn’t sleeping well anymore.
If you’re also struggling with the idea of transitioning your toddler into their own bed, these tips will help make the transition smoother!
How to transition a toddler into their own bed
1. Get a bed. I know it’s a super simple tip right? But I stalled forever on this because I didn’t know what size I should get or if I should get a regular mattress or a mattress that was similar to mine because that’s what she had been sleeping on…and I basically made it a much bigger deal than it needed to be. I ended up getting a twin mattress that was similar to mine.
You don’t have to get a bed frame either! I know this was something that caused me to procrastinate as well because I was thinking I didn’t have the money to drop on a bed frame and a mattress.
So if that is something you’re apprehensive about because it can be expensive, you can get a used bed frame online. Think craigslist, or online garage sales in facebook groups. You also don’t have to get a bed frame at all. You can just put the mattress on the ground.
Having the mattress on the ground can ease your mind at night because you don’t have to worry about them rolling off the bed.
2. Get several sets of sheets. Let your child pick out the sheets because that will help them get excited to sleep in their bed. You’ll want at least 3 sets in case your child gets sick or has an accident overnight.
3. Get a white noise maker or fan. If your child likes noise or gets warm at night, you can get a fan or a white noise maker. My daughter was used to hearing a fan so I got her a mini fan for her room so she could hear the noise.
It helps to block out other ‘bumps in the night’ or the occasional barking from the dog, which would likely wake her up if she didn’t have that.
4. Get a nightlight or lamp. Perhaps weirdly, this wasn’t something I thought I needed to get for A’s room because she was used to sleeping without lights. I didn’t have any lights in my room so I figured she wouldn’t want any either. Well I was wrong.
There were a few times she would fall asleep with her light on, and I would turn it off when I checked on her. When she woke up in the middle of the night with no lights in her room, she screamed bloody murder. It scared the crap outta me every time!! Not to mention I then couldn’t go back to sleep because every fiber of my being was on high alert!
But once I put a nightlight in her room, it eliminated the bloody murder screams. If she woke up in the middle of the night, she just came and got me if she needed me. It made for a much calmer night that’s for sure!
I started off with regular nightlights, but they weren’t bright enough and I didn’t want to leave her regular light on all night because that would affect her sleep. So I got a lamp that had various light levels and it has worked really great.
5. Anticipate needs before they ask you. My daughter is notorious for trying to stall bedtime. She has serious FOMO and always wants to stay with me at night. She will do this by telling me she’s hungry or thirsty. So instead of fighting that battle, every night before bed, I will grab an apple or a banana and some water and let her know that if she gets hungry there is her bedtime snack and some water if she needs it. It has definitely cut down on the amount of times she comes out of her room.
If they have a favorite stuffed animal, doll, or blanket, ask them if they want to bring it with them to bed with them. It will help them feel safe and comfortable along with giving them one less reason to come out of the their room.
6. Set up a routine. Routines can be immensely helpful because it can show your toddler what will happen every night. You both can check off the list together so your child is involved and can see what is going to happen next.
7. Let them know you will check on them. One of the other things that gets her to stay in her room and try to relax is that I tell her I’m going to come check on her before I go to sleep.
I make sure I always go in for two reasons. One is because I want to have peace of mind that she’s sleeping before I go to sleep and two is because I want her to know she can trust that if I tell her I’m coming back, I will. If your child knows you are coming back to check on them they are more likely to stay in their room.
8. You may have to lay with your child to get them to fall asleep for a few days or weeks. In the beginning, I had to lay with my daughter so that she would fall asleep. She has since moved past that, but just know in the beginning they may need you to lay with them to feel safe falling asleep in a new place.
Transitioning your child into their own room can be scary or intimidating for you and your child. I know I worried a lot about her not being close to me at night and for awhile I heard every bump in the night because I was scared she would call for me and I wouldn’t hear her. But I promise, you will adjust! And your child will adjust too! Once you’re ready, these tips can help you ease into a better sleeping situation for you both!