Archive for August, 2011

How to Transition Your Toddler Into a Bed

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Introducing change into a toddler’s life can be an interesting experiment, to say the least.  I may not be an expert on toddler behavior, but I do have some experience with “change management” among toddlers, and have learned that they are full of surprises. I expected to battle the ‘no pacifier rule’ with my son for at least a week … but all it took is one night. Surprisingly, my daughter took to potty training without much convincing.

But, the transition to a big-boy bed did not go as smoothly.  In our situation, this transition was mandatory, as he learned to leap over the crib rail onto the floor like a mini Bart Conner of gymnastics fame.  Other than safety reasons, there’s no set time when you have to replace your child’s crib with a regular or toddler bed, although most children make the switch sometime between ages 1 1/2 and 3 1/2.  Here are a few tips I discovered help when making the transition:

  • Expect the unexpected. Every child is different; so don’t be surprised if your second child reacts differently to a change than your first did. The good news is, usually the firstborn has the hardest time with the transition, as subsequent children may want to be just like their older brother or sister.  Regardless, attachments to the crib can be strong, and the move to sleeping in a bed is just one of many changes in this phase of your toddler’s life, such as preschool and potty training. If you’re lucky, they will be eager to move from the crib, which is “for babies,” into a “big-kid bed.”
  • Baby steps. Try not to introduce too many big changes at once, like bringing home a newborn and moving your toddler into a big-kid bed in the same week.  If you are making the switch because of the impending arrival of another baby, try to do so six to eight weeks before you are due. You want your toddler to be settled in his new bed before he sees the baby taking over “his” crib.
  • Different, but similar.  If possible, to ease the transition, put your toddler’s new bed in the same place his crib used to be. If you’re using a twin bed, you may not want to make a switch to grown-up sheets and blankets that are tucked in right away.  Give your child his old blanket, even if it’s too small.  When he falls asleep, you can cover him with a larger blanket.
  • Toddler bed.  On that note, another strategy is the use of specific “toddler beds.”  These ease the transition since toddler bedding will use the same mattress and sheets that your toddler is used to, and they will be less likely to notice a change. Many come with built-in guardrails, and some are made in very appealing themes, such as Disney characters, and shapes, such as cars.
  • Let’s get excited! Get your toddler excited about having a “big-kid bed” by taking him with you to pick it out, or if receiving it as a hand-me down, emphasizing its previous owner if that person is someone your child knows (such as a favorite older cousin). Let your toddler shop with you for new sheets featuring his favorite characters, and encourage him to show his “big-kid bed” to visiting friends and family. 

Another approach, although a little more work, is to throw a “big-kid bed” party … invite friends and family over to unveil the new bed.
  • But not too excited. If your child has trouble adjusting to the newfound freedom and is frequently getting out of bed, try not making a big deal of it (this tends to make it interesting for the child).  Instead, make it boring by calmly taking him back to bed, repeating in a monotone voice,”You must stay in your bed.”  It may take 3 or 4 nights of this, but with less drama, more than likely he will not be tempted to get out of bed for the reaction.
  • Don’t give up (right away, that is). If your toddler is upset about the switch, don’t give up right away.  Encouragement can go a long way when introducing change.  After a few days, if he is still distraught, consider bringing it back for a while.  I’ve heard a few friends say they’ve tried “transitioning” away from the pacifier or crib, only to bring them back. Once back, however, within a week, the toddler was willing (and ready!) to try again.  Sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and bringing back the pacifier — or the crib — and trying again later.

Again, no two children will react the exact same, so we’d love to hear how you managed the transition, and any words of wisdom you can share.

 

We have a winner!

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Every effort, no matter how small helps when reducing waste in order to make a positive impact on the environment.  We received all kinds of great tips for our “keeping it green” contest, from cloth diapers to community swaps to reusing containers and boxes. We love learning new ways to be eco-friendly as well as sharing these great tips. Thank you to everyone for submitting your tips on being eco-friendly while raising a family.

Congratulations to our winner…Rebecca Corona!  She has replaced many paper products in her house for cloth and reuses baby jars and boxes in many creative ways.  Rebecca will receive a 4-piece Organic Geometric crib bedding!

For continued updates, to contribute to any comments, or ask your own questions among experts and parents like you, please check out our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.  We love hearing from you!

Rebecca’s “keeping it green” efforts:

I think by far, the biggest impact that I’ve seen is our use of cloth napkins. (We also use cloth diapers and wipes which is a huge impact too, but I think a bit more common than cloth napkins.) Just think about those messy faces and hands in the first two years and beyond that generally need two or three or more paper napkins or paper towels to clean up. One cloth napkin per person generally lasts us 3+ meals. We wash them with our towels or baby clothes so there isn’t an additional laundry load being done. Cloth napkins come in organic fabrics, cute colors and fun prints. They decorate your table instead of cut flowers that die in a few days, not to mention the landfill/energy waste of paper napkins and the plastic they come wrapped in, and the cost savings!!!

I have children who won’t eat home-made baby food due to texture issues, so I buy organic baby food jars. And yes, we go through MANY of them! But I wash them, and use them to store my daughter’s clips, I have one by the sink to put my rings in and I donate loads of them to my daughter’s preschool for the kids to use at craft time. My husband also uses them to store his nails, and screws, etc in the garage.

Lastly, and very fun we go green by using large boxes as toys. The box our BBQ came in became a house, smaller boxes have become “Box City”. We created a Target next to a Nordstrom, a barber shop, a dry cleaner, I can’t wait to see what my daughter will make our winning boxes of bedding into!