There is a day of reckoning in every parent's life when their child becomes an escape artist. This occurs when, hours after your little one is tucked into a crib, you awake to find him at the foot of your bed. Or for us- we’d hear a thud in the middle of the night, followed shortly by a cry. Both of these momentous occasions mean one thing -- it's time to bring on the big kid bed.
Take heart, dear parents, this signals a process that involves a lot of encouragement and a few minor stand-offs. There are many in parenthood. Adjustments are not made overnight.
Consider the child's view. A big kid bed is the unknown and the unknown can bring on trepidation in the best of us. So for the first step, get your kid psyched about the transition. Let them help pick out the bed and linens. Anoint certain stuffed animals as bed buddies - they won't be alone if their fave lovies are there, right?
Create a nighttime routine. When everything's set up, make your nighttime routine something to look forward to. We would put on some mellow music, lay in bed with our children and read a story. Every kid has their own way of winding down, so my husband and I usually spent 10-15 minutes with each going through their individual routine. As their lids got droopy, we gave them warm hugs, said good night and made our way for the door.
Stick with it. When they came out of the room in protest, or just because they could, we'd just tuck them back in without any indulging in small talk to engage them.
When they didn't bounce right back out, we knew we’d finally pulled it off. And, with a little time and a lot of build up, you will too!
Viv Schaffel is a freelance journalist and essayist who writes for a vast array of publications, including CBS Watch!, The New York Times, Working Mother and The New York Post. She writes/performs sketch comedy and is an upstanding member of US Weekly’s Fashion Police, poking fun at red carpet risks.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.