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Approaching The Big Kid Bed

by T Akery | June 20th, 2011 | Infants/Toddlers

Toddlers are naturally anxious at the thought of sleeping in the big kid bed. It will likely be all excitement until it is time to go to bed. That is when all the excitement dies and you are left with a very tired toddler who doesn’t want to go to bed. This is usually the time when you consider throwing in the towel. But remember, this is preparation for the next step in their lives. That is getting them on a regular sleeping schedule for preschool.

The first step is to get the atmosphere at least not so terrifying for your toddler. Ordinary objects can appear extraordinary in the dark. The solution is to provide a night light or a few night lights. Fears about closets can be alleviated with closed closet doors and investigating the closet with your toddler beforehand. Make sure they have their favorite sleeping stuffed animal and blanket handy.

The next step is to get into some type of routine prior to the start of preschool. That means getting them ready for bed at the same time every night. This means the weekends, too, even if the big kids get to stay up. It might be tempting to let them stay up later. But if you aren’t careful, all of that progress you are making to getting them to bed on time can be wiped out.

The third step is to cut back on the stimulation as bedtime approaches. This is a little bit harder than it sounds. It means limiting the milk or juice and replacing nighttime drinks with water. It means cutting back on desserts or pushing back dessert time to an earlier time. If they must have a snack, stick to something that won’t give them a sugar rush. Cartoons can be stimulating and delay a child’s desire to sleep. Also, try not to stimulate with a lot of playtime before bed. Try more calming activities such as baths and stories told from books. It helps a great deal if you can tire them out before bedtime.

The fourth step is to be patient. This is probably the most important step. It will take time to get them used to going to bed. You may have to endure a few tantrums, fits, and getting in and out of bed. It can turn into a battle. But the most important thing is to be consistent. Eventually, your toddler will figure out that it is more fun to sleep in the big kid bed.

The big kid bed is a sign that your toddler is growing up. It can be a hassle but the rewards will pay off in the future.


  1. From my experience with a toddler, I have to say that every bit of this article is right on. Great post!

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