DanO and I are limit testers. We have an hour before we’re leaving for small group? Let’s see if we can get the cement board down in the mudroom! Our kids are starting to play independently and we have free time? Let’s look into investment properties. It’s 6:30pm? Let’s take apart the youngest’s crib and put him in a big boy bed tonight!
And so we did.
With OBoy we were so intentional about the Big Boy Bed switch that I even opened up the floor to advice and made an infographic about it. We let him have a role in the bed construction and we were cautious to teach him that the bed is a calm place for sleeping.
This time around, the boys were jumping and squealing on the bed before DanO and I had pulled apart the last crib pieces. Ah, second children.
It wasn’t completely spontaneous of us to do the bed switch on Monday night. OBrother had climbed out of his crib last week after nap and speaking from experience with OBoy, that is the beginning of the end. We also had been planning on getting him out of his crib around this age (18 months) because this worked so well for us before.
At only one and a half years old, both of our boys have made an almost seamless transition to sleeping in a big-boy bed.
In OBoy’s case, we wanted to make the crib-to-bed transition with some cushion for when the new baby (now OBrother) was coming, so we had outside motivation to do what many consider an ‘young’ or early switch. But it worked so well! So, so well. There was one night when he ended up falling asleep on the floor and we moved him to the bed. There was one other night where he showed up at our bedside at 2am and scared the ever-loving crap out of us. And that was about it. I remember 8 months later when OBoy was at the heights of 2 year old defiance (notably an important stage where toddlers are forming their self-awareness and learning how they interact with the world around them), the thought occurred to me: If we had switched him at this age it would have been an all-out war.
To me, 18 months old is that sweet spot where they are old enough to climb in and out of the bed (with a little step) and old enough to understand when you say ‘no’ to them, but not (in both our boys’ cases, at least) actively testing boundaries and standing their defiant little ground.
So our practice was a little different this time, but the theory informing it was the same. We like the early transition. Neither of us are fans of delaying the inevitable, so while I understand the notion of keeping the crib around into the early pre-school years if the child is not a climber, our personalities are such that if it’s gotta happen sometime, we’d rather just do it now. Which has paid off beautifully.
A few quick notes about the state of their bedroom that make it possible for us to do this:
We don’t keep toys in there. None. Zero. Once in a great while, someone will make it upstairs before bed with a toy, but we always have it ‘sleep’ in the hallway outside their room.
We are strict about staying in bed before sleeping. From the time the boys are laid down in their beds, prayed over, and kissed goodnight until the time that they wake up in the morning, they are to stay in their beds. Glaring exception: if OBoy needs to use the potty he can come out of his room and get us. We have a video monitor (and an old house where you can hear every footstep) to help us enforce this.
Books are a very, very big yes. There are two baskets full of books available to them to read and play with in the morning. As time went on, OBoy’s fine motor skills developed and his desire to rip books to shreds waned so we began allowing paper paged books in their room overnight. Now that OBrother is on the loose, I have sorted out and kept only board books in their room.
Their dresser drawers are “kid friendly”. The entire contents of their dresser (which is also a changing table) is safe for them. Clothes, blankets, towels, cloth diapers, and pacifiers. Not even so much as diaper cream lives in their dresser (learned that one the hard, greasy way). So worst case, if they destroy the thing, they will not find anything dangerous.
Yesterday when we watched the boys on the video monitor, snuggling together in the morning in OBrother’s bed, my heart was so warmed and thankful. The transition for OBoy was exciting and monumental, but there’s something about this switch that is huge for their brother-to-brother relationship. They have always shared a room, but now they have equal access to it. I am excited to watch their relationship and friendship grow as the result of this.
(To answer your question: Yes. Yes, we snuck into the boys’ room, turned up the light a bit, and snapped pictures of them sleeping the first night OBrother spent in his new bed. Sorry I’m not sorry.)