How To Move a Toddler to a Big Bed

Toddler in his room

A few weeks ago something really big happened in our house, my toddler graduated to a big kid bed. I know. It’s a totally big deal.

I was planning on keeping her in her pack and play (we never used a crib) until she was, I don’t know… ten? Kidding (sort of). But one night I woke up to her standing right next to my bed. I’m not going to lie: it scared the bejeesus out of me.

Well, once a child manages to escape the confines of their crib, it’s time to transition to a toddler bed. Let this story be a lesson to all of you:

My oldest child (now 41/2 years old) jumped out of her crib when she was just 16 months. On her first attempt, she went right over the edge and landed straight on her elbow. I heard the thud from the next room. It was terrible. That little stunt cost us 3 days in the hospital and surgery to put 4 pins in her right elbow.

Stock photo of a young handsome boy sleeping in a bed with light on his face

So if your toddler is even showing the slightest signs of trying to get over the rail, make the transition to a toddler bed NOW. You can also try a crib tent, but there are mixed reports on whether or not they are safe. Also, my oldest was totally freaked out by the thing. After her fall she wanted nothing to do with the crib. Can you blame her?

Needless to say, as soon as my youngest escaped for the first time, I went straight to the garage and dusted off the good ol’ toddler bed.

Now that I’ve transitioned two fairly young children (16 months and 23 months) to a toddler bed, I have to be honest with you: it totally sucks. I really, really, really liked it when I could put them to bed and they didn’t have a way to get out. They could chatter, play, or fuss all they wanted but it was time for bed.

My oldest did a better job staying in her big girl bed, but my youngest just will not settle down. The routine goes something like this: we take a bath, get into jammies, read books, get into bed, and then I can either do one of two things – I can sit in a chair in her room until she is almost asleep, or I can leave the room, and then she gets out of bed about a dozen times or so and then I keep putting her back in until we are both completely wiped out.
It’s kind of annoying.

I thought she would get used to her toddler bed after a few weeks, but we are going on almost a month here, and I am totally over it. I want to put my kids to bed and then be done with it. I have very few luxuries in life and spending an evening alone without my kids in my face is one of them.

Parenthood is full of growing pains, for children and their parents. The constant change is both a blessing and a curse. The good times can be fleeting, but the rough patches aren’t forever. So, just like anything in life, this too shall pass.

Has your toddler moved into a big kid bed yet? How did you ease the transition?

About Morgan Benzian

Morgan is a blogger and freelance writer living in Southern California with her two daughters and flock of backyard chickens. She is also the Associate Editor for mint.com and the Quicken blog. Her work has been featured on WSJ.com, Slate.com, The Huffington Post, and San Diego Home and Garden Magazine. In her spare time she enjoys fake shopping online, writing love letters to Ryan Gosling, and avoiding folding laundry.
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