As you might know, when Jonah's crib was recalled a couple months ago we converted it into the toddler bed. Jonah isn't quite ready to sleep in the bed yet, so he's been sleeping in his pack n play. Also, there is a rail that goes across the front of the bed, and we are missing a screw for it. I don't want him to sleep in the toddler bed full time until the rail is installed. I think it will make the frame a bit more sturdy, and it will keep him from falling in his sleep.
But, we have been taking the opportunity to make a very gradual transition. Jonah is extremely attached to his bedtime routine. Both for nap, and for night time. I don't think that it would have been possible to suddenly switch him into the toddler bed.
When we first started the transition, we would simply read Jonah his story, and sing him his three lullabyes, just as we have every night since he came home from the hospital. Then, instead of putting him in his bed, we would give him his paci and his blanket, and lay him in the toddler bed. This was only for a couple of seconds. We would lay him down, and then pick him back up and place him in his pack n play. We started to lengthen the amount of time that we let him lay in the bed.
Now, we will read him his story, and then place him in the bed with the lights out for his lullabyes. After his lullabyes, we sit for a few minutes, quiet and still. We had to gradually lengthen the time of this as well. We started with just a pause between lullabyes and taking him to his pack n play, but now he will lay in the bed until he gets pretty droopy eyed.
The next step will be to let him fall asleep in the bed, but I am holding off on that. I am not sure how we are going to do it. I think I will install the rail, and then for nap I will sit with him until he falls asleep in the bed, and try to leave without waking him up. If he wakes up then I will put him back in his pack n play, but at least he will have fallen asleep in the bed. We'll start with nap, and work our way into night time since he is a little more picky about the night time routine.
I'm very pleased with how smoothly this is going. The gradual transition is working out nicely. So far there have been no tears over the toddler bed (from either Jonah or Mommy and Daddy!) So we're hoping that this method will keep it tear free! I'm also planning on getting him to give up the paci soon after he is fully in the toddler bed, but I think that one major change at a time in sleep routines is more than enough for him to handle!