Does your toddler fight sleeping in a big bed? Discover the top 7 items you need when your child resists the toddler bed transition.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Regalo Inc. The opinions and text are all mine.
Except that toddler bed transition isn’t always so smooth. We’re talking hours of patting and shushing. Multiple attempts to leave the room (and just as many times to walk them back).
Sometimes they weren’t just getting out of bed and playing quietly, either. They’d cry, clearly scared of their new sleeping arrangements. Other times, they’d wake up in the middle of the night to realize they were no longer in their cribs, then refuse to even lie down in their beds.
For many parents, the toddler bed transition is a difficult stage to get through. Maybe your child resists his new big boy bed so much that he ends up sleeping in your bed. You’re not sure whether he’s even ready, or if you switched him to a big bed too soon.
You hear about other toddlers who love their big kid beds, but yours is the exact opposite: he hates it. In fact, he’s inconsolable for hours at the door, until he eventually falls asleep from sheer exhaustion.
Your heart can’t take much more. What can you do to make the toddler bed transition easier on your child?
7 items you need for a smooth toddler bed transition
If you can relate, rest assured it’s not hopeless. And it’s not forever, either—your child will get the hang of his new toddler bed at some point.
Our goal is to make that process easier on your child, to help him adjust to this change in his life. And one of the best ways to do that is by making sure you have the right items for a better toddler bed transition.
If your child continues to resist his toddler bed, take a look at these must-have items that can help:
1. Favorite sheets
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Switching from a crib to a convertible toddler bed might mean reusing your child’s existing bedding. After all, why get new sheets when his current ones work just as well?
But one of the best ways to get your child excited about his new bed is by fitting it with new sheets.
Maybe you’ll choose sheets with his favorite character, encouraging him to give his bed a try. Or perhaps you stick to simple, fun patterns that brighten up his bed.
The items themselves don’t have to be new—they can be hand-me-downs from an older sibling or a family member. The idea is to give your child one more reason to feel positive about his new sleeping arrangement, and sheets are a fantastic way to make that happen.
2. Bed rail
I thought I could get away without a bed rail for one of my twins’ beds. You see, his crib did convert to a toddler bed, but it didn’t come with any sort of railing at all. And if you ever wondered if kids fall out of their beds without a rail, let me tell you… they do.
We bought this Regalo bed rail soon after, which kept him safely in bed (and off the floor):
Regalo bed rails are also easy to swing down, so that my kiddo was also able to easily access his bed during the day without a rail.
The rails provide the snug, secure comfort of being “contained,” while still giving your child space to get in and out of bed easily.
Bed rails not only work well with convertible cribs, but for twin beds as well. You might prefer moving your child from a crib directly to a twin bed, but find that he still needs a rail to keep him in bed.
Want the bed rails really out of the way? Take a look at these bed rails that can tuck beneath the mattress, as you can see below:
3. Night light
Does your child cry because he’s scared to be in his room? One common culprit is fear of the dark. Even if he was fine sleeping in a crib in the dark, the new change in beds could heighten or introduce new fears.
Plugging a nightlight in his room can help him adjust to his new sleeping arrangement much better. A soft, low light can reassure him of familiar sights while still allowing him the darkness he needs to sleep.
And besides, now that he’s more mobile, the nightlight makes sure he’s safe as well. Even though he should stay in bed, it’s better that he walk around safely than to stumble in total darkness.
4. Allow special stuffed animals
Do you have a rule about sticking to one or two stuffed animals in bed? Make an exception and allow your child to bring as many (or let’s say, up to five) stuffed animals to her new toddler bed.
As exciting as a new bed or new sheets can be, being surrounded by familiar stuffed animals can help ease any anxieties she may have about her new arrangement.
5. Light-up alarm clock
Many parents have found that a light-up alarm clock helps their toddlers stay in bed until wake-up time. These alarm clocks turn on at a specific time you set—let’s say 6:30am—which is your child’s cue he can get out of bed or leave the room.
Light-up alarm clocks not only give kids a way to “tell time” and know when to get up, but they also reassure them that they’re not stuck in bed forever. That come morning or when the lights turn on, they can freely get out of their beds completely.
6. Doorknob locks
Now that your toddler can get out of bed, what do you do if he keeps opening the door?
The first night my eldest slept in a toddler bed was a disaster. Sleeping in a toddler bed meant he could open the door and leave the room—which he did for two hours.
Each time he did, my husband or I would walk him back to bed to send the message that his bed was where he belonged. But after those two hours passed, I knew this couldn’t continue.
The next night, we used doorknob locks on the inside of his room, preventing him from opening the door. It seemed strange to use these locks, since we were essentially making sure he couldn’t get out of his room.
But I thought of the locks as another way to keep him contained, just as—up until this point—his crib had done the same.
Even though we checked in frequently in the evening so he knew we were sleeping in the next room, at least he wasn’t able to get up and leave his room.
7. Bedtime books
One of the best ways to ease your toddler’s anxieties and apprehensions about sleeping in a new bed is reading bedtime books.
You can even read books about characters who resist going to bed or need to adjust to a new room. Your child can better relate to the emotions these characters are going through and know that others struggle with sleeping in a big bed, too.
Not all kids take to sleeping in a big bed. Even your child’s initial excitement as you assembled the bed could have easily led to anxiety and panic when it came time to actually sleeping in it.
No worries—even if your child resisted his bed, there are still plenty of ideas to make the process smoother. You can introduce a new nightlight or light-up alarm clock, or read bedtime books while snuggled with his favorite stuffed animals.
And of course, you can install bed rails to keep him not only safe, but feeling snug and secure in an unfamiliar environment.
No more heartache—now your child can sleep in his own bed, willingly and happily.
Interested in getting a bed rail? Get a Regalo bed rail right here.