Ask The Moms: Transitioning out of cribs when multiples share a room

Posted on
Categories Ask the Moms

Long-time readers of my personal blog know this is a topic near and dear to my heart. We made the insanely foolish mistake of transitioning our twin boys out of their cribs at 16 months. It is the one parenting mistake I wish I could take back. I polled The Moms behind the scenes for their top three tips on the crib transition advice when multiples share a room.

Tip #1: Wait as long as possible to transition.
Tip #2: Wait as long as possible to transition.
Tip #3: Wait as long as possible to transition.

Critical to understanding why this is the overwhelming advice from other multiple parents is why the transition is easier as children age. Before the age of 18 months, children have very little impulse control. That is why most experts recommend a discipline strategy of redirection before the age of 18 months. Around 18 months, children are ready to start a discipline strategy such as simple short time outs, because they have started to understand rules and boundaries. And most parents can tell you that although they start a discipline strategy, it takes months for younger toddlers to learn better impulse control and respect the rules and boundaries you have set up.

I want you to imagine taking two children with no impulse control and putting them in a room together, unsupervised, for 12 to 14 hours a day. The image in your head should now be something similar to WWE Smackdown with smaller wrestlers. That would be my house, for months.

Age two is when some experts recommend you can move on to a more solid discipline strategy such as 1-2-3 Magic. As children age from two to three, they gain a significant amount of impulse control and they have acquired enough understanding about boundaries that they can (and will) follow rules. They can stay in their beds. They can stop themselves from poking their twin in the eye. They respect other people’s personal space.

Looking at it from this perspective, you can see why transitioning multiples to beds earlier than two can lead to disaster. And many parents who transition between two and three report their children stop napping because it becomes playtime when they are alone together. This happened to us as well. Eventually we separated our boys during daytime so they will take their much-needed nap.

I can’t say what age is the perfect age to transition for every set of multiples. The Moms agree waiting until after three was easiest on everyone. At that point, you can hype up the “big kid” beds. You have a different level of communication with your children to help them through this transition. They are more likely to physically leave their twin alone. If they don’t feel like sleeping, they can entertain themselves. They can tattle on their twin.

In the meantime, The Moms recommend crib tents to help keep children safely in their cribs if you have a climber. And if one of your kids starts climbing out at 16 months and you start considering transitioning, shoot me an email. I’ll help talk you of it with all the juicy details that I kept off my blog.

Share this...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Tumblr0Share on Reddit0Digg thisShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someone

19 thoughts on “Ask The Moms: Transitioning out of cribs when multiples share a room”

  1. Excellent! Perfect timing – our boys are 18 months and (thankfully) have not attempted to leave their cribs yet. But, surely, it’s just a matter of time! We are buying crib tents this weekend.
    We figure a good guideline for the timing on getting them out of the crib (and probably potty training as well) is to look at the age our daughter was when she did such things and then add six months. She moved into her toddler bed on her 2nd birthday so we figure about 2 1/2 for the boys.

  2. One of my twins can and does get out of the crib at times; the other one broke her collar bone trying to copy her sister. This was a month shy of their 2nd birthday. My doctor told me to switch them to bed, or at least put down the side of their cribs; I told him he was insane. I will wait until the last possible minute to move them out of their cribs. My oldest child was in a bed at 20 months;my second child was in a toddler bed for a short time, refused to sleep in it and went back into the crib until he was 2 1/2. I’d keep them in their cribs until they’re 20 or so if I could.

  3. Oh Laura. What would I do without you. I was a ‘checkout’ button away from buying my EIGHTEEN month old twins toddler beds when I commented on your blog last month! You have forever changed my mind! Perhaps in another18 months we’ll start looking again:) Thank you for having twins older than mine so you can lead the way for me!!!

  4. I completely and totally agree. In fact, my twins were FOUR when we said goodbye to the cribs and the crib tents. And we did both sets of twins at one time – four new beds in one day! It was big time fun at our house.

    The crib tents are worth every penny. And quickly, you learn to pin the zipper to the trim, so they can’t unzip them from within.

  5. Our twins are 26 months and I’m glad they’re still in their cribs too -esp with a new baby in the house – if they could get out of their beds, I’m certain we’d have a bit party in the baby’s room for those 3am feedings.

    Thankfully neither have been able to get out of their cribs yet and neither mind them still…so we’ll stay put as long as we can!

  6. I am with you on the wait as long as possible! Our boys were almost three, and if one wasn’t a head bang-er and was breaking the crib he probably would still be in there! :)

  7. Well said, I intend to keep my 19 month boys, in their cribs, for as long as possible, amen!
    I made a stupid mistake though years ago in buying a “sleigh crib” for our first son, which converts to a toddler bed and then full size bed.
    I am using that same sleigh crib out of necessity, for one of the twins and it is a real pain, I would advise any new parent to forget the sleigh crib, not worth it.
    I recently turned the crib around so the lower side is near the wall and the very high side faces out. Instant Extra protection from climbing! We don’t need crib tents… yet. but if/when we do need crib tents I’ll be in trouble, as I doubt they can attach to such a sleigh crib, which has uneven sides. We’ll see…

  8. Laura, when I sent out my SOS a few months back, your experience was very helpful to me. Some of my friends with several singletons had a hard time seeing what the big deal was…I started to think I was being a wimpy and letting my kids walk all over me. But then the other MoM’s chimed in and it helped me tremendously!

    BTW-Jonathan has not attempted a crib escape since I turned his crib around like Diane described.

  9. yeah, we transitioned to toddler beds at 16 months. Not the best idea. It’s working out okay, 3 months later. That said, Elliot is opening and closing the door right now. Sigh.

  10. We rigged the cribs when they were about two, and then they quit even trying to get out. We just converted the cribs to toddler beds just after 3 and luckily haven’t had any of Laura’s problems.

    They do not get out of bed unless I tell them it’s OK. There’s no horseplay, and they even nap like champs. They fall out about once every 5 days.

    Hopefully I’ll find the time to go shopping for some real beds soon!

  11. Didn’t know about crib tents (sigh). Our 21-month old boys are enjoying sleeping in the same twin bed now–with a full length rail on it so they can’t get out. However, I’m going to have to start napping them in separate rooms… the naptime is either wrestling, trying to climb out of bed, poking each other in the eye, pulling hair, throwing anything not bolted down out of the bed, taking clothes and diapers off,…..

  12. Whoa, this is the jackpot! I am bookmarking this sucker! I will email it to the next singleton Mom who asks when I’m transitioning the girls out of the cribs, implying I should start soon. My girls will turn 1 next week. They will be staying in those cribs a looooong time if I can help it.

  13. We transitioned our b/g twins to toddler beds at 23 months. Sure there have been some rough nights, but it was worth it. (The day Porter climbed out during his nap, I had to make a mad dash to buy the beds, set them up and have them ready for bedtime. We had the room all ready and actually threw a small “new bed party” complete with some new blankets as well as the old favorites) They are now super possessive of their beds. At the very beginning I took alot of stuff out. I left just the beds, the dressers and that was about it. I have slowly moved stuff back in. I was surprised to see how well they stayed in them the first night.

  14. It took a lot of patience to transition to toddler beds in our house. Many nights I felt like I was hosting a slumber party. Hubby and I would take turns staying in their room until they all fell asleep. Now that they’re used to the drill we stay in their room for about 5 minutes just to make sure they’ve settled down. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun but it worked!

  15. Michele,
    Can I ask you how did you “rig” your cribs? My b/g twins are 25 months, and my son is holding onto the side of the crib that slides down and rocking it. We have to tighten it every couple of days. I’d like to keep them in the cribs for longer, but worry he’s going to collapse his crib! Thanks, Sujata

  16. I’m late to this conversation but I thought I’d add my 2 cents.

    We actually didn’t decide to transition our kids, they asked for it! My daughter started saying she wanted her own bed around 2 years old. She wanted her own space, essentailly a bed that she could tell her brother he wasn’t allowed on. It worked out well though, we bought them single beds 2 weekends later and they each got to pick out their own bedding.

  17. I feel much better after reading this. We have “virtual twins” – 5 months apart. We adopted our oldest son at birth when my wife was 4 months pregnant with our youngest son. The oldest is now just over 3 years old, and we thought it was time to transition. We’ve had crib tents, and the boys have slept like college students until now.

    It’s just chaos at bedtime (same room), and they’ve completely stopped taking their naps. Their naps were 2 hours + until the conversion. Now they’re 0 hours, 0 minutes. We need the nap time as much as they do – is that ok to say? I felt all this pressure from friends who have singletons that my boys should be in beds.

    Ugh. Even as I write this my wife is lying on the floor between their beds trying to get them to sleep…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge