We’ve got a few tips that should make transitioning your toddler to a new bedroom a little bit easier on them and you, and Jade Umeh – real life mum and star of our spring TV advert – shares her real life experiences too.
The Umeh’s Elijah (or Illy as he’s known in the family) is 3 years old, and he’s already begun his interior design career by making sure his room is a celebration of rockets and space. While the colourful theme is a lot of fun for him, it was also a key element in helping him move into a new, bigger bedroom.
If you have little ones big enough to sleep in their own room, you’ll know that making the transition into that room from them sleeping in your bedroom can be a tricky one, and if you’re not quite there yet, we’ve got some tips to help you make the change.
First of all it’s important not to be discouraged if it doesn’t work seamlessly straight away.
“Like with every parenting decision we have made, we approached Elijah moving into his own room with an open mind, keeping in mind that if he wasn’t ready for it, we would move him back and try again in due course.”
Keep their sleep routine consistent before, during and after the bedroom switch. Maintaining the rhythm of a normal bedtime minimises the amount of change and reassures them that it will be just the same as sleeping in mum and dad’s room (and keeping a consistent routine is the best way to help your kids sleep at any age).
“Hils and I are very routine-led and have been from the moment illy was born. From day dot, its been a bath every night, mini massage, pajamas on (with Cbeebies bedtime hour on in the background) to slow the pace down and create calm. We have then always read a story or two and then sung him a song before lights out.”
If you’re sharing your room with your baby or they’re happily settled in the nursery, and you find out you’re expecting another, start transitioning your little one into their own room before the new baby arrives. If baby number one feels like they’re being pushed out because of the new arrival, they may feel jealous.
“When we knew we were expecting our second baby, we made it our mission to make Illy feel even more special than usual. His new room was going to be the spare room which is where we got him ready for bed every night, so he was already really familiar with that room.”
“Once the room was created, we made sure to emphasise to him that this was HIS special room and now that he was going to become a big brother, he could move into a big boy room and big boy bed and his baby brother could use his old room and bed. He hasn’t looked back since moving into that room and his new bed. The rocket room helped us ALL transition to this next chapter.”
It’s also a great strategy when they’re becoming a big brother or sister. Make a big deal about it being a big kid’s room so it feels like they’re getting a special promotion as part of their very important new role. Focus on the positives too – they’ll have lots of room that’s just for them to display their favourite toys, and more room to play!
Get them involved in the decorating to give them a sense of control and involvement in the move. If they feel like they have ownership they’ll feel like they’re invested in their room. You can let them choose a theme or colour scheme freely, or give them a couple of options to decide between.
“Elijah can’t wait to go up to his room and have a little play before his bath and bed. It’s something to call his own, his little room of joy!”
You can help kids sleep in their own room by laying some reassuring groundwork in the lead up to the move. Get them to take daytime naps in the new room to familiarise them with the space and associate it with catching some lovely Zzz’s. You can then build on this by incorporating the new room into their normal pre-sleep routine by turning it into the bedtime story room.
You can also move their favourite books, dolls and cuddly toys into the new room so they think of it as a happy place.
Once the day comes for moving in, treat it like an opening ceremony to celebrate! Once the decorating is complete throw a little party that includes a tour around the room to see all the new and exciting things you’ve picked out together, and enjoy how all of their favourite items are displayed. You could even get them a small gift to cement those positive feelings!
It’s natural to worry about their wellbeing, but ultimately sleeping in their own room with improve their confidence. Make sure they have comforters like their favourite soft toy, dummy and blanket nearby, and use a video baby monitor to keep an eye and ear on them.