We did it! We finally decided it was time to buckle down and get Jagger out of the crib and into his new big boy bed. We had our second baby, Layla, nine months ago and have been in desperate need of the crib, but we just couldn't get ourselves to evict Jagger. Partly because he was so content in his crib (not one to try and climb out) and partly because we just didn't want to deal with the struggle. Ugh. The thought of one more irrational conversation with a 2.5 year old scared the living daylights out of us. Ultimately we knew it was time. Layla had outgrown the bassinet and wasn't sleeping comfortably anymore and our princess deserved her own little abode. So we buckled down and prepared ourselves for the journey as best as we could. Here are some tips and advice that worked for us.
1. MAKE IT A BIG DEAL - For weeks we worked Jagger up on how exciting moving to a big boy bed was going to be. We set the room up together and went in there to play and hang out on the bed. We let him know that this was going to be his own little kingdom and that he was growing up and becoming a big boy and that big boys got big beds. We wanted him to associate the room with positive and fun feelings.
2. LET THEM PICK THE BEDDING - In addition to helping us decorate the room, we let him pick the bedding for his new big boy bed. We showed him a bunch of options and told him he could have whatever makes him happy and comfortable. Of course he went for a car motif. This kid is obsessed with trucks, cars, busses-basically anything on four wheels.
3. PROTECT THEM FROM FALLS - Jagger was so used to the freedom of rolling around in his crib that he had no concept of being able to roll right off the bed. We set the bed up against a wall and installed a side rail on the other side to ensure he was protected. We even put some pillows on the ground near the front foot of the bed in case for some crazy reason he ended up down there.
4. BLOCK THE DOOR - With every bed transition, expect that they will climb out of bed multiple times and roam around the room or to go looking for you. Jagger was no different. We took one of our old baby gates and placed it in front of his bedroom door so every time he opened the door he was locked in. For the first 5 days he would literally get out of bed 6-8 times and head to the door saying HELLO, but finally on day 6 it must of hit him that he wasn't going anywhere and he stayed in bed the entire night.
5. ADD A COMFORT ITEM - In order to make him feel safe while he was all alone in his room we let Jagger sleep with his favorite lovie, Chuck. The next day he asked for his stuffed Marshall and Shelly the sheep and on day three he asked for his Teddy Bear. Listen, it's a bit crowded in his bed but he feels safe and protected and it helps keep him comforted throughout the night.
6. DECLUTTER THE ROOM FROM DISTRACTIONS - The first two nights we had a Marshall (Paw Patrol) night light that my son loved. Little did we know that it turned off every 15 minutes so of course my son was out of bed every 15 minutes trying to turn it back on. By night three Marshall was lost and Jagger was out of bed a little less.
7. PUT THEM TO BED TIRED - In order to cut down on the trips up the stairs to put him back in bed we started tiring Jagger out before calling it a night. Daddy would run around with him downstairs and play chase or we would make sure he had a good long day of activities. Ensuring that they are tired will only help them fall asleep quicker and eliminate some, but not all, of the putting them back in bed.
8. DON'T TRY AND SLEEP WITH THEM - I made this mistake night one. I thought it would be cute to lay down next to my son and try and help him fall asleep. Well that didn't work and I just wasted an hour of my night. From that night on, every time I would go to his room he would beg me to lay down with him and Daddy had to take over.
9. MAKE IT A GAME - In order to keep him in bed until a decent hour in the morning we told him that the sun is sleeping and outside is closed for the day. We let him know that until the sun comes up he's not allowed to get out of bed. Lo and behold it actually worked. Now every morning when the son comes out we hear his door open and a little voice say "outside open...it's time to play"! I'm just worried what we are going to do when we spring forward in time and outside opens too early for this mommy.
10. BE CONSISTENT - This may sound like obvious advice, but the number one thing to do is stay consistent. I swear it's a lot harder than it sounds. You're going to want to sleep in bed with him. You are going to want to take him to your bed after his 10th attempt to escape his room. You are going to want to give up and put him back in the crib after a particularly rough tantrum, but consistency is key. It took us six days of going in and out of his room until we got him to nap and sleep without getting out of bed and it was all worth it.