We all go through the transition of our child switching from a crib to a regular bed and many of us dread it. Will they go to sleep on time? How about if they never sleep? How many times will they get out of bed? Are they ever going to sleep in their own bed the whole night? Are we doing the right thing?
This past summer we went through this transition. Our youngest had her own room where she slept in a crib/toddler bed. My older two, one boy and one girl, shared a room and we decided it was time for them to have their own space. We switched my son and youngest daughter so he could have his own room with his boy things and the girls could have their room with all the girl things. We were concerned at first that this would affect how well the girls slept but we are now six months in and it was the best decision we could have made. It’s not always going to be an easy transition but here are some tips that will hopefully make it easier for everyone:
- Have a bedtime routine. Even at an older age, routine is still one of the most important things you can do. For us what helped is rewarding the girls by allowing the older one to read to the younger one book every night. Since we allow them to do this and get out all their “jitter bugs” during this time, they usually go right to sleep after.
- Let them create their own space: Assign each person one side of the bed, specific drawers in the dresser, or maybe designate a corner of the room to each of the kids toys. This allows them to feel like they still have their own space and aren’t stuck sharing everything just because they share a room.
- Be firm and consistent: Set rules from the beginning and make sure you are consistently using them. Let them know they have a certain amount of time to settle in, read books, etc. and then lights out.
- Have white noise or music playing: When my younger daughter was in her room in her crib we would always play lullabies. When we switched her to her new room, she still wanted it. I was concerned that it would disturb my older daughter but surprisingly she enjoys it too. Try what works for your kids and if whatever you try doesn’t work, don’t get discouraged, just move onto the next thing. You can even include the kids on the decision making process.
- Have a back up plan in case it doesn’t work out: If sharing the room does not work out have some kind of back up plan. If you have an extra room maybe you can have one of the kids sleep in there until they are ready to try again. The key is to be patient. They will come around and you will figure out what works best. My girls love sharing a room and it’s so wonderful to see the bond that they have built.
The process can be overwhelming so don’t feel rushed to do it. You can do a trial process and if it doesn’t work out, try again the next month.