You will never forget the first time your child attempts or successfully succeeds in climbing out of their crib. I remember like it was yesterday the first time my son (who was 21 months old) climbed out of his crib. I tucked him to bed just like I had normally done, gave him a kiss and left the room. No crying really, everything seemed normal. Until about fifteen minutes later and all of the sudden, as I was in the shower, I see a smiley boy walk up and say "Hi Mommy". I about hit the floor. How was that even possible. I hadn't even ever seen him attempt to try and escape. There was no way I was going to put him back in that crib, so I had to act fast. If you have an escapee on your hands, here are some tips on helping your child transition from their crib to a big boy/girl bed that very first night.
Here is the plan:
Stay Calm. You panic, your child will panic the first moment they are left alone.
Try readjusting the crib before transitioning. Bring their mattress to the floor of their crib if possible and keeping the crib rails up. Giving your child a harder time to climb out of their cribs can allow them to stat in their cribs a little longer...giving you more time to get a bed and childproof their room if you haven't already done so.
All else fails, bring in the bed. It's not the end of the world to transition your child into a bed. You gotta do it at some point. Probably just a bit earlier then you had imagined. All ok. Just convert your crib into a toddler bed or bring in the mattress. Lay it on the floor if you don't have a bed frame in yet. Make that bed super cozy and comfortable for your child to enjoy.
Give them a comfort item. Our two or three items if need be. Children love to have an item that is with them wherever they go. Especially when transitioning into a new setting.
Give them your t-shirt. Let them wear one of your t-shirts to sleep-in during the first night (maybe week) you start. The idea of wearing your clothes to bed and the scent of you on it will not only can distract them from the transition but also comfort them during the night.
Keep your same routine. Don't change things up on your child. Keep the same bedtime routine while giving them a new place to lay. It's all about consistency here! If you change things up drastically on them, it might be a long few weeks for you!
Handle any struggles with some gentle sleep training. I love keeping your same routine as much as possible but if your child starts bouncing off the walls with the new found freedom, start your sleep training process. I love going slow and steady when transitioning. Using a gentle method really allows for confidence to be built up as your child is going from all they had known before to a whole frame of mind. But no matter what method you choose, give them time to understand!