Getting your ‘baby’ used to a big kid bedroom

Deciding it’s time for your little one to move to his own room is one thing – and it can be a tough enough decision on its own if you’ve gotten a little bit more attached to that cuddle time at bedtime, or just to knowing that Baby is so near, than you were planning on. Actually moving him into his own bed and bedroom is another adventure altogether.

Even if Baby’s new room is only a few steps away from your own, it’s a big transition for him, partially because Baby is a whole lot smaller than you, so that distance that’s just a few steps for you may feel significantly larger to him. It’s also a big deal because it’s a change from the routine he has followed his whole life in the way he spends about half of the hours in his day. 

Yes, you’re tired, and yes, Baby will probably be tired soon, too, but the transition to your little one sleeping the night in his own room is going to take some should-be-sleeping-hours (yours), a few tears (Baby’s [probably]), and a whole lot of cooperation and understanding from you both.

There are different ways to introduce Baby to his new sleeping space, and which one will work best for you and Baby depends on his personality and your needs.

Setting the stage

No matter which way you choose to start Baby moving towards sleeping in his own room, it’s a good idea to make sure he has the chance to explore the room, and build some positive associations with it, before you start. Maybe it’s been set up since before he was born, and is full of all of his things, and he is all that’s missing to make the picture complete, or maybe it’s been put together in the last week, with his current interests and tastes in mind, but either way, if he hasn’t spent much time there, it’s going to seem a little scary. Moving playtime into Baby’s room, maybe having a picnic there with him, and even starting out by moving naptime into his bedroom, if he still naps, are great ways to introduce Baby to his very own space.

Talk it out 

As Baby gets older, talking to him about major changes in his life is going to grow more and more important. Even if he is still a little bit short of totally verbal, he is probably taking in more than you can see, and it’s only polite to warn him before making such a big change in his life.

Young children can also respond better to changes that are introduced to them through stories, which gives them a framework to think within. A homemade book about a child who is old enough to move into his own room, or a puppet show about the transition may be the push Baby needs to think about the move to his big kid bedroom as a good thing.

Slumber party

One way to start to ease Baby into sleeping in his own bed, though it may not be the easiest way on you back, is to bust out the air mattress, or a particularly thick quilt or comforter, and go with him, sleeping in his room for the first few nights that he is there. From there, if you feel like Baby will do better with a more gradual transition, you can switch to sitting with him until he falls asleep, then moving a little further away or leaving a little bit earlier the next night, and so on, until Baby is falling asleep on his own like a pro.

Open door policy

Whether Baby has been sleeping in the family bed or in his own crib, if the goal of the move is more about uninterrupted sleep than Baby totally making the transition, making up a little bed on the floor near your bed where he can sleep if he comes into your room in the middle of the night can be a good way to keep a restless toddler from giving you a restless night’s sleep.

Walk it off

If it’s most important to you that Baby spend the whole night in his own bed, but you’re still getting late-night visits from your little one, a quiet walk with him right back to his room may be the way to go. Keeping quiet means Baby doesn’t get a reward in attention from you, and the walk back to his bedroom means he doesn’t get the outcome he wants, either. Just this once.

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