The Not-So-Easy Transition from Crib to Big Boy Bed

5 minute read

The Not-So-Easy Transition from Crib to Big Boy Bed.

I hoped Max would be one of those kids who would sleep in his crib for as long as possible. He was sleeping great and seemed so safe in there. I wanted him to take after his dad, since Aaron’s dad jokingly said he tried so hard to get baby Aaron to climb out of his crib that he actually got inside the crib to show Aaron how. Aaron never did. Me on the other hand, climbed out of everything.

Max had been an excellent sleeper for a while (other than waking up incredibly early every day). He was easy to put down and would stay asleep the entire night. He didn’t seem to have any interest in climbing out of his crib. Then one afternoon, when Aaron’s parents were in town, Max climbed right out during nap time. I have a sneaking suspicion Aaron’s dad gave Max some pointers. We watched the Nest Cam footage in disbelief as he hoisted his little body up the siding and plopped over onto the other side. We snapped a quick pic of the moment.

Escaping the crib.

It wasn’t the most graceful thing we’d ever witnessed but he did it and he was out. It was both startling and slightly hilarious. A few days later, Aaron lowered the siding to convert the crib into a toddler bed. Big mistake. Max basically slept everywhere in his room except his bed.

The Not-So-Easy Transition from Crib to Big Boy Bed.

The Not-So-Easy Transition from Crib to Big Boy Bed.

The Not-So-Easy Transition from Crib to Big Boy Bed.

Up until that point, Max had handled transitions surprisingly well - transitions to bottles, daycare, off of bottles. So we weren’t prepared for how difficult the transition to the toddler bed would be. Initially Max was pumped about his new bed situation. He loved that Aaron and I could lie down next to him when reading bedtime stories. Although seeing Aaron (who is 6’2”) laying next to Max in that tiny bed was a pretty funny sight! After the first night, it was clear the biggest challenge would be getting him to stay in bed. We finally got a baby gate to put at his door. Most nights Max slept on the floor right next to the gate, despite our best efforts to try and keep him in bed. Aaron and I eventually gave up and started laying blankets on the floor so he wouldn’t wake up with carpet marks on his face. For a while we told Max if he stayed in his bed, we would sit on the couch outside his room. The first night we did that, we captured this hilarious footage, where Max sneaks out of bed to quietly check to see if we are still on the couch then runs back to his bed. But like all things toddler, this only lasted a short time before he was back on the floor next to his gate.

A few months before baby Zoe was born, we moved Max to his new big boy room. Needless to say, we were skeptical about the transition to the new room with the big boy bed in it. Getting his new room set up was a process that took several months. Not because his room is incredibly fancy but when you live with a toddler, finding time is not always easy. If you read my post about my kid-free and husband-free week, you know that the bulk of the setup happened while they were away. Here are a few pics from the room:

Big boy room.

Big boy room.

Big boy room.

Big boy room.

Big boy room.

Big boy room.

Max has been in his new room for a few months, but has only slept in his new bed a few times. We’ve decided to let it go and just be happy that he is sleeping through the night. For now we are happy that he is sleeping well and have decided that sleeping on the floor isn’t the worst thing. Here is a pic from the first night Max was in his new room:

First night in a big boy room.

At this point our sleep routine is far from perfect but here are a few of the items that have made bedtime a little more manageable:

1. Alexa

We have recently started using timers with Max, and he responds much better to the structure than he does to us. Ten minutes before bedtime we say “Alexa set Max’s bedtime timer to 10 minutes”. When the alarm goes off, Max willingly accepts it’s bedtime and heads upstairs. Of course, he wouldn’t be a toddler if there weren’t a few instances where he yells “No Alexa, it’s not bedtime!”.

2. Hue strip lights

A lot of friends have recommended various “okay-to-wake” alarm clocks that change colors to signal when it’s time to get out of bed. We opted for a similar concept with the Hue strip lights that we lined along the side of Max’s bed. The lights can change to any color you want and be controlled from your phone. If you are super nerdy, as we are, the lights can be hooked up to your smart home system so different rules can be set up. Additionally, we got a mattress sensor to detect when Max gets into bed. Once the sensor detects a person it initiates a 30 minute timer after which the lights slowly dim over the next 15 minutes.

3. Nest Cam

I shared our baby monitor in this post and why we love the Nest Cam so much. Even though Max isn’t a baby anymore, we still like being able to see what he is doing in his room. It’s great because we can easily access the camera from our iPhones, iPads or Apple TV.

4. Baby gate

One of the things that we worried about once Max was out of his crib was that he could potentially roam the house and fall down the stairs. He no longer liked when we closed his door at night so our only option was to put a baby gate at his door. It helps us sleep knowing that he is safely in his room.

5. Fun Pajamas

Never underestimate the small things that will thrill your child. In this case - Cars pajamas!

6. Sound machine

We never really used a sound machine with Max, but now that baby Zoe cries at night a sound machine is a great way to dampen her coos and grunts, which are surprisingly loud. It also helps lull Max to sleep while giving us a little leeway when walking past his door at night.

7. Swaddle blankets

Max still refuses to use a blanket, he literally throws a fit and chucks it across the room if you try to put one on him. However, he loves to hold the lightweight swaddle blankets when we goes to bed. They don’t offer a lot of warmth, but when combined with a small space heater in his room he sleeps very comfortably.

I’d love to know your experience moving your little one from a crib to a big kid bed.