Part of the beauty of bringing home a new baby is having them with you at night for feeding, cuddling, and comforting. But the time comes eventually (sooner for some than others) that you need your room back and baby needs their personal space. Transitioning your child into a new room is a big deal for everybody and it will take some time, effort, and patience to make it stick. We asked our readers to share some things that have worked for them.
Handy Tips for Any Age
If you’re moving a six-month-old to their own room for the first time, it’s going to be different to than if you’re moving a two-and-a-half-year-old who has stayed in your bed their whole life.
However, there are some general tips that will apply regardless:
1. Have a conversation with your little one that it is time for them to start being a big boy or big girl and give them the idea that part of growing up is being in their own bed. Talk about it like it’s really exciting and you are happy for them that they are getting so big.
2. Have them choose some bedding. If possible, get some new sheets or even a whole new bedding set and call it their big boy bed or their big girl bed. Have them help choose the pattern that they like.
3. Take care of their fears with a new stuffed toy. If they have been sleeping with a parent, they will not be used to being alone in the dark. Get them a stuffed toy nightlight with a timer inside. I recommend this because it is a great way to help them transition to being in the room alone and not being completely in the dark.
These tips can vary depending on the child’s age:
- Play in the nursery
- Move the bassinet/crib where your baby is sleeping to the nursery
- If the child is old enough to understand, involve them in the process by letting them pick out items to decorate their room
- Start with naps in the room
Above all, whatever you decide to do, stay consistent. Meaning once you start the process, do it every day. There is nothing better for a child than to see that this is the new normal. This will also eventually help them understand that they are now going to be sleeping in their own room.
Pranali Patel is a science researcher and a mom blogger at empiricalmama, where she writes about all stuff motherhood.
Introduce Him to His New Room Before He Moves in
Transitioning a child to his own room does not happen overnight, and it does take lots of patience. We started my son 3 months in advance before the anticipated transition to his room date. We started decorating the room with him and spending a little time in his room. What helped him the most with the transition was mentally preparing him by reading him a book, Big Enough for a Bed by Sesame Street, and singing Cocomelon Nursery’s song, JJ wants a new bed, over and over again.
Also, we chose a Montessori floor bed with a door and made a cozy little place for him. Every night we would go, play, and read a book in his new floor bed. As he was more comfortable in his room, we started keeping him in his bed and closing the floor bed door. For the first couple of days, he would come out of the bed, but with a constant gentle reminder, he started getting that once the door of the floor bed closes, it’s time to sleep.
The key to transitioning a child to his room is introducing his room and making him comfortable in his bed well in advance before you make the transition.
Make the Transition Together
- Depending on the age of the child, this should be a fun collaborative venture.
- Take time to ask your child to envision what would make their specific room special for them.
- Possibly make a list of what is needed and then gather the items together.
- Depending on how much needs to be done, the child can participate as fully as the developmental age permits including such details as picking out a quilt and sheets for the bed, picking out the bed, choosing a window treatment, hanging items on the wall, picking out paint or wallpaper for the room, discussing items such as a desk and bureau for clothes, discussing what to put in the closet, and making shelves for favorite security stuffed animals and various collections.
- Discuss with your child the idea of a “work in progress” as the room is designed and filled. Only as you add each item might you change your mind about other items, colors, hangings, etc.
- Most importantly, this should be a fun experience, one that creates a highly individual space for your unique child. This is also an opportunity to build your child’s self-esteem by emphasizing his or her wonderful interests, favorite color schemes, and that it is because he or she is so loveable that they are receiving this wonderful space of their very own.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child adolescent, and adult psychotherapy and is an expert on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Find her at Choosingtherapy.com.
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