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3 min read

Imagine if someone just went into your bedroom and changed out your bed. The new bed looks different, smells different, and feels different.

All without your input or consent.

Understandably, you'd probably be a little freaked out!

Maybe a little mad too. Maybe even a little sad that your old bed was just gone. And your entire room looks different.

This is what it can feel like when we transition children from a crib to a bed.

This is often why the transition is so hard. It's usually followed by many nights of waking throughout the night.

But when you think about why, the fact that it's such a big, surprising change, it makes sense.

How To Transition Your Child Into A New Bed

Some families use a Montessori Floor Bed from birth to avoid this transition, but it’s most common for it to be introduced in the toddler years.

When introducing a new bed in the toddler years, the transition requires more time and patience.

The new freedom to move about their bedroom
 can be exciting, empowering, and even a little scary.

Following the 5 steps below will make it easier:

1. Prepare your child for the change

It can be helpful to talk about the new bed before you actually change out their crib.

Even children as young as one can begin to understand these conversations. You can say something like, "Your body is getting bigger so you need a bigger bed".

You can even make it fun by picking out new sheets and bedding together, in a pattern your child prefers.

As always, follow your child's lead. Answer their questions but avoid talking about it too much. You don't want them to worry that it's a much bigger change by talking about it non-stop.

2. Safety is paramount.

With the change to a toddler bed or floor bed, the whole room becomes the crib - everything in it must be child-safe - outlets covered, furniture strapped to wall, sharp corners protected, small objects removed, strangulation hazards shortened (the pull cords on blinds or long curtains) and cords covered.

It can be helpful to prepare the rest of the room before the bed is introduced so there's not too much change at once.

3. Set your expectations appropriately.

This could take awhile - weeks or months even. It will be different for every child.

Just trust that they will eventually successfully transition.

A big part of Montessori is trusting that the child will eventually be able to do something and understanding that they need our patience and support while they figure it out.

4. Start with naps.

If you have the space to have both the crib and toddler bed set up, you can get your child used to sleeping on the bed for naps first.

The advantage to starting with naps is that it won’t disrupt the bedtime and night routine so your child won't get overtired, which can make the whole process harder.

5. Delay going into their room.

When your child wakes up, delay going to their room as soon as they’re awake (unless they need you). The purpose of the floor bed or toddler bed is for the child to have freedom in their room, i.e. the freedom to move when compelled to.

If they want to get up, allow them to do this and foster their independence. As long as they’re content, they’re learning that they’re okay on their own.

There is a learning curve to managing this freedom.

Some families report finding their child asleep in the middle of the floor or amongst their toys because they got up to play in the middle of the night.

This is okay. They will eventually learn that the bed is the most comfortable place to sleep.

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