Getting your 'baby' used to a big kid bedroom
Age: 1 year 1 month
Deciding it’s time for your little one to move to her 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 your baby is so near, than you were planning on. Actually moving her into her own bed and bedroom is another adventure altogether.
Even if your baby’s new room is only a few steps away from your own, it’s a big transition for her, partially because your baby is a whole lot smaller than you, so that distance that’s just a few steps for you may feel significantly larger to her. It’s also a big deal because it’s a change from the routine she has followed her whole life in the way she spends about half of the hours in her day.
Yes, you’re tired, and yes, your baby will probably be tired soon, too, but the transition to your little one sleeping the night in her own room is going to take some should-be-sleeping-hours (yours), a few tears (your baby’s [probably]), and a whole lot of cooperation and understanding from you both.
There are different ways to introduce your baby to her new sleeping space, and which one will work best for you and your baby depends on her personality and your needs.
Setting the stage
No matter which way you choose to start your baby moving towards sleeping in her own room, it’s a good idea to make sure she 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 she was born, and is full of all of her things, and she is all that’s missing to make the picture complete, or maybe it’s been put together in the last week, with her current interests and tastes in mind, but either way, if she hasn’t spent much time there, it’s going to seem a little scary. Moving playtime into your baby’s room, maybe having a picnic there with her, and even starting out by moving naptime into her bedroom, if she still naps, are great ways to introduce your baby to her very own space.
Talk it out
As your baby gets older, talking to her about major changes in her life is going to grow more and more important. Even if she is still a little bit short of totally verbal, she is probably taking in more than you can see, and it’s only polite to warn her before making such a big change in her 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 her own room, or a puppet show about the transition may be the push your baby needs to think about the move to her big kid bedroom as a good thing.
One way to start to ease your baby into sleeping in her 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 her, sleeping in her room for the first few nights that she is there. From there, if you feel like your baby will do better with a more gradual transition, you can switch to sitting with her until she falls asleep, then moving a little further away or leaving a little bit earlier the next night, and so on, until your baby is falling asleep on her own like a pro.
Open door policy
Whether your baby has been sleeping in the family bed or in her own crib, if the goal of the move is more about uninterrupted sleep than your baby totally making the transition, making up a little bed on the floor near your bed where she can sleep if she 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 your baby spend the whole night in her own bed, but you’re still getting late-night visits from your little one, a quiet walk with her right back to her room may be the way to go. Keeping quiet means your baby doesn’t get a reward in attention from you, and the walk back to her bedroom means she doesn’t get the outcome she wants, either. Just this once.
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