A few weeks ago, with no preparation, I decided to move our girls from their cribs to beds. My sudden decision occurred because when I got them up from their naps, S had her leg caught between the crib bars for the third time in the last few weeks. I decided that it would be safer for them to move to beds. So, we took down the cribs and set up the beds in their share bedroom that afternoon. So, without talking to the girls about “big girl beds” and without reading any stories about sleeping in beds or any other preparatory activities, we made the move. We moved the cribs out – one to go back to my sister-in-law, the other to go to a friend expecting in a few months. There was no turning back.
Obviously, we, as parents, had discussed this potential step before since we had single beds, mattresses, sheets, Bed Bug Bumpers and everything else we though we’d need already. But, we hadn’t quite intended to do it so soon or so suddenly. Even at 20 months old, the girls were still happy in their cribs, so there hadn’t been any need to change their sleeping arrangements. Besides, they’d had plenty of different sleeping arrangements in the early months of their lives but the 10 months or so everything had been stable.
Night 1: The girls wanted to climb and stand on their beds, so we talked about how beds are only for sitting and laying down. The girls both went to bed without any problems. They were probably exhausted from the excitement of moving furniture, cleaning their room, getting everything set up etc.
Day 2 Nap: S fell out of bed. I hurt the thump, then silence, then the scream. She wasn’t hurt or too scared to go back to bed. I think she fell over the foot of the bed not the side. I kind of hoped this would discourage anymore standing up in bed. In hopes of keeping the from climbing, we told their big brother that he wasn’t allowed in their beds. We thought this would keep them from trying to climb in and out, especially since they are too short to get in by themselves.
Night 2: We repeated the talk about sitting and laying in bed. Again they settled to sleep fairly well… at least that’s what we thought. When we checked later, R’s bed was covered with hand-me down clothes that had been in a box at the foot of her bed. I moved the box out the room immediately.
Day 3 Nap: The nanny settle the girls for nap time. She was quite concerned about them falling out of bed, but everything went alright.
Night 3: R fell out of bed once but she wasn’t hurt. Both girls settled to sleep. We started to think that maybe the transition period was over. I hoped that I could relax and sleep a little more soundly without listening for anyone falling out of bed.
Night 4: 7 am – I rolled over and shook my husband awake. We listened to the sound of little feet coming down the hallway to our room. S had figured out how to get out of bed, and she was sure proud of herself!
Day 5 Nap: We set up the playpens to help our nanny feel more comfortable and to give us a chance to figure out what to do next.
Night 5: We put the baby gate across the door to keep S in her room. We also left the playpens set up as a back up. When S climbed out of bed, we put them both in playpens for the night.
Nights 6, 7: we were away visiting family for the weekend so the girls were their playpens.
Week 2: When S climbed out of bed, we’d respond by putting both girls in their playpens for the rest of the night. At nap time, I’d use the same approach and the nanny would use the playpens. By the end of the week R had figured out how to get out of bed too. The first thing they would do when the got out was take the laundry out of their laundry basket. I tried hiding it under the bed, but they could drag it out.
Week 3: Bedtime was going better. They knew they were supposed to stay in bed. If they got out, then they were in the playpens. But now mornings were the issue. At 6:30 am I would hear little feet hit the ground. So, I had to get up and put them in their playpens until we ready to get up.
Week 4: They now know what’s coming when we open the door. If they are out of bed, they head to their beds in hopes that we won’t put them in their playpens. I’m looking forward to the day when we can take the playpens out of their room because it is crowded with two beds and two playpens. I’m not looking forward to the day they discover they can take clothes out of the dresser, too.
When did you make the transition from cribs to beds? What worked for you?