It wasn’t easy. Those first few nights drove us absolutely bonkers. BUT, I think it was easier than most people have it. When I asked for tips on Instagram, I received so many comments, direct messages and emails about their experiences with the “big kid bed” swap. And boy, sometimes it can be tough. It is sleep training all over again! So after receiving so much great feedback and help, I wanted to return the favor and share what worked for us… because any advice in this matter is worth sharing! This is what we did:
Made it exciting:
Ezra came with us to pick out his bed, he tested it out in the store, “helped” put it together… we made a big deal. We talked about his “big boy bed” with excitement several times a day until he was excited about it too. We encouraged him to show any guests that came over his new big boy bed and he did just that! Soon he was crazy about it!
Ezra was used to seeing his bedroom from a certain perspective. He has been in that crib for a long time! For us, putting his bed in the exact spot as his crib wasn’t possible, it just didn’t fit. We think this is what caused some jarring in the middle of the night: waking up, not recognizing his space right away. So if possible, place the child’s new bed in the same spot as the crib once was.
Stuck with our bedtime routine:
Clay has been putting Ezra down every night since he was just a wee one. It’s their thing… their bonding time (and my time for some peace and quiet alone for a few minutes.) So we didn’t want to switch that up. Every night: brush teeth, Ezra chooses a book, they get a cup of water, find the binky and bear, give mama kisses and go to bed. Every single night. So when we switched they did just that, nothing else changed.
Gave him a choice:
Now that he was “a big boy”, Clay decided to let him choose: “do you want me to carry you to bed or do you want to go get in bed by yourself?”… he asks that question every night, and every night Ezra chooses to walk himself to bed (with Clay following behind). This makes him feel like it is his decision to get into bed.
Introduced a new (or old) stuffy.
Ezra was never really into his stuffed animals. But when he moved to his big boy bed, we started giving him his bear. Now he always wants bear in the bed with him, I think it gives him that little extra comfort. If they already have one, of course, they’ll be there by their side already! 🙂
Talk through it:
Although they may only be 2-3 years old… they understand so much. Talk to them and let them know why you are switching their bed! We asked Ezra several times if he was happy with his new bed and addressed his concerns. 🙂 (he had many.) This was a big change for our little one! So we tried out best to make him know we realized that and cared about his feelings.
The no eye contact, no emotion bed return:
This is a tip from a few people on IG and it totally worked. I think it has a name, but can’t find it and don’t remember. If you know, please comment and let me know! So this was used when he figured out, “hey! I actually don’t have to stay in this bed if I don’t want to!” and would wander around the house at night. Every time he would get out of his bed, we would pick him up gently, without eye contact or words, and put him back in his bed, tuck him in, and walk out. He did this a few times a night for two nights, cried every time we would return him to his bed. But that’s ok! He was learning! He only did this for 2 nights and on the third night, slept all the way through.
I had also talked about our schedule: (he has been sleeping in until about 10 every day). He has not always done this, and I am starting to believe he is going through a growth spurt because this kid is sleeping like crazy! But, a few things that has always helped with extended sleep:
Black out shades:
We got ours at IKEA mainly because we have little/no AC in our house and it kept his room cool. But we have found that they work great for nap time and bedtime as well.
With such a small house, white noise is a must. Constant sound, blocking out noises from inside and outside, will help in longer sleep sessions!
And just FYI because some of you asked: Ezra goes to bed at around 8:30-9 and sleeps until 9:30-10. He still naps from around 3-5.
I would be happy to answer any questions! I am no expert… but I know what is working for us! Best of luck to you mamas! Things can be tough sometimes, but we are tougher! 🙂