I started talking to him about the transition the day before, mentioning it a couple of times. When I was installing it, he came into the room and saw me working on it for a while so there were no surprises. When it was done, I happily showed it to him and he was excited to start playing on his bed. Since he naps on a cot on the floor at daycare, I figured it wouldn't be a big deal to do this. Mostly I was right.
Naptime is funky - since it's daytime, he can't resist getting out of bed and coming to see what's going on in the living room. My husband, smart guy, tucked him back in and then locked the door (no, he didn't scream at being locked in -- he must have figured it wasn't an option anymore and gave up). Overnight he's slept just fine. I think he likes his new big boy bed.
I'll admit that it makes me a little nostalgic for his baby days. In hindsight, those days were simpler. More exhausting without a doubt, but simpler. However, I really like the fact that I can kiss him goodnight once he's settled in again -- something we lost when we lowered the mattress. Give and take.
If I were to give a short list of tips for transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed, it would be this:
- Do it on a weekend so there's plenty of time to adjust to naps and overnight (and when things are stable at home).
- Talk about it in an animated manner ahead of time so the child knows what to expect, or at least knows something's about to change.
- Let the child see the transition as it's happening so there are no surprises.
- Celebrate a little when it's done so the child can get excited about it.
- If the kiddo wakes and walks, gently but firmly tuck him back in. Lock the door if you can. Buy one ahead of time if you can't.