Transitioning to a toddler bed? Here are a few tips
Transitioning from a crib to a big kid bed, can be lots of fun. New sheets! New bed! Not to mention the fact that it’s a classic “big boy” or “big girl” milestone. But here’s what they don’t tell you about that big kid bed: your big kid can climb right out. And that can make for a whole new set of bedtime problems – namely, what we call The Jack-in-the-Box Syndrome. Sometimes parents unknowingly encourage this behavior by reading that extra story and sometimes they may be having separation anxiety. Here are a few tips that might help:
1.Assess the Schedule:
Sometimes, toddlers hop out of bed every 10 seconds simply because they’re not tired. So take a look at your toddler’s schedule – is bedtime too early? However, the reverse can also be true – sometimes, toddlers are sleepless at night because they’re overtired.
2. Institute a strong bedtime routine:
Toddlers thrive on routine – particularly sleep routines. A strong, consistent bedtime routine will do wonders for helping your toddler understand that it’s time to settle in and go to sleep. Be sure that your routine isn’t too long (15-30 minutes is perfectly sufficient)
3. Try a sticker chart:
It’s incredible what a toddler will do for a sticker! Try a sticker chart, let them put a sticker on the chart before bed if they are cooperative during the bedtime routine, and then another sticker on the chart before breakfast if they stay in bed all night long.
4. Employ the Silent Return to Bed:
Even if you tweak your toddler’s schedule, implement a great bedtime routine, and provide incentives in the form of stickers to encourage your toddler to stay in bed, you will no doubt have some jack-in-the-box moments here and there. This is just to be expected – toddlers love to test boundaries, after all! In this case, we recommend that you try the ‘Silent Return to Bed’ – that is, when your toddler wanders out of his room, silently walk him back, tuck him in, and leave. You want these interactions to be as boring as possible – no threatening, no bargaining, no discussing. This will help discourage your toddler from repeat attempts to engage with you by getting out of bed. We find that if parents are consistent in doing this, it can significantly reduce jack-in-the-box behavior relatively quickly.
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