Wandering Baby Syndrome
Now, I recognize that some parents just want an age (even if it’s just a guideline), so I would say 2½ years old is probably the earliest you want to make the crib to bed switch.
But again! That’s just a guideline, and later is better.
Now that I’ve told you to wait as long as possible, what if you’ve waited and now are ready to make the transition?
The first thing you might notice is how quickly and easily your little one makes the switch. Your little one climbs into the new bed, loves the cool print on the new sheets, and sleeps happily straight through the night.
Maybe you’re in the clear! Or perhaps not…
There’s typically a honeymoon period with the big kid bed. Kids initially think they’re great but then, after a couple of weeks, they start to wake up and leave their room in the middle of the night, asking to get into bed with Mom and Dad.
You may be tempted to allow your child to hop in, but I strongly suggest you put an early and absolute ban on bed sharing at this point. If your child starts leaving their room in the night, walk them back, tell them it’s not allowed, and let them know what the consequence will be if they do it again.
The best deterrent I know for WBS, or Wandering Baby Syndrome, is to close the bedroom door all the way, and keep it closed for a full minute on the first offence. If baby leaves the room again, make it two minutes. Then five, and so on.
Again, regardless of how sweet the request is, or how easy it might be to just flip back your comforter and let your little one climb aboard, don’t give in. You really need to make it clear that it’s not allowed, or you’ll be dealing with nighttime roaming for months.
Related article: Getting a better night’s sleep (as an adult!)