5 Tips to Help With the Transition to the Toddler Bed

The transition to the toddler bed feels like the only thing we did right. Here's 5 things we did to make it happen.
transition to toddler bed

I may not think I’ve done a lot of things well as it relates to Skylar. But the transition to the toddler bed is one that I know we did right. From about 5 months to 18 months, she slept in her crib. Then at some point she didn’t want to sleep in there anymore. So at night, she began sleeping in the bed with us, and that lasted until about a month after we moved – so until she was about 26 months. I was growing more and more miserable, because Skylar is very warm bodied. And not even a king-sized bed could alleviate the discomfort of having to deal with her tossing and turning. Her room is the only one re-done in the house, because we wanted her in that toddler bed! And so far, its going well. Here’s how we did it.

  1. We flipped her double-sided mattress from the hard newborn side to the softer, more cushioned toddler side. I believe that one of the reasons she loves our bed is because it’s so soft and cushy with its fluffy blankets and the pillow-top mattress. So we tried to safely recreate that feel to make the transition to the toddler bed more seamless. We also added mattress pads for additional cushion and protection from night-time accidents.
  1. The first couple of nights were tough. Getting her to lie in her bed involved a lot of hand holding … literally! For the first few nights, we held her hand until she fell asleep. I could understand why; I’ve always have trouble falling asleep in a room I’ve never slept in. I’ve wished I had someone to stay with me until I was comfortable enough to fall asleep, many times. And I know how comforting hand-holding is for her (sometimes we have to hold her hand while driving, no matter how uncomfortable it is). So I was prepared to do this for her. 
  1. We gathered her favorite toys, so she wouldn’t feel alone. I couldn’t give her the warmth of our bodies to keep her comfortable in her new bed, but her favorite toys were a good coping tool. She still asks for toys to this day. Sometimes there’s up to 10 in bed with her. I don’t care. I just remember to take them out after she falls asleep because I don’t want her to roll over on one and it wakes her up.
  1. She’s been sleeping in the same room with us for most of her life. And I sleep with the TV on. So to try to copy that environment in her room, we mounted a TV to the wall. I have no problems with TV’s in bedrooms, so I had no qualms about putting on in her room. This is also useful for when we have guests and they sleep in her room. The crazy thing is sometimes its easier for her to go to sleep when there’s no TV. So either way we’re covered. I encourage you to do what is best for YOUR family. You have to make it through the next night and the next day. Not anyone else.
  1. We made two decisions. The first is that she would not be sleeping in our bed again. Its the only way I’ve been able to stand firm on decisions in my life, especially those that affect me and my quality of life. We’ve been so firm in this decision that we now have blankets permanently in her room, so that we can sleep on the floor next to her bed just in case she is having trouble going back to sleep. For me, sleeping on the floor is much more comfortable than sleeping in the bed with her.

So where are we now, 5 months in? She’s still sleeping in her room. We still have palettes – blankets on the floor – in her room. But most times, I’m able to tell her it’s time for a nap, lie her down, walk out of the room, and she’s asleep within 10 minutes. I’m basically finding my presence to be a distraction. So even at night, if she’s having trouble sleeping, I’ll leave the room, and can come back within 30 minutes and she’s knocked out. In summary, the transition to the toddler bed has been a welcomed and somewhat easy change for us. It’s been the easiest thing, even considering the palettes on the floor.