Moving twins out of their cribs and into big kid beds is a huge milestone. This is their first real taste of freedom. Toddlers are very curious about the world at this age. Before you even bring in the big kid beds there are several things that you will need to consider in order to not only keep them safe, but to ensure that they will in fact sleep.
Change your expectations
Kids are going to get out of their beds. Especially kids who share a room. They are likely to get out of their big kid beds and play a little, or even run around making noise before falling asleep.
We as parents need to accept that. It is part of growing up. They are getting used to their newfound freedom, testing boundaries and starting to make some of their own choices. It doesn’t mean that they won’t fall asleep. It just means it may take them a little longer at first.
Clear The Room
It is important that you clear the room of all distractions. Take out the toys, put a toddler lock on their closet, and clear their bookshelf. If you have any step stools in the room to help them get into bed, either attach them to the bed or get rid of them entirely.
After my twins stacked both of their little IKEA stepstools on top of each other and unlocked the window we bolted the stools to their beds. Kids will stack absolutely anything in sight in order to reach what they want.
Get a Video Monitor
It is a good idea to purchase a video monitor and affix it somewhere high up that has a full view of the room. You can purchase a number of these well below $100 and they come with lots of bells and whistles.
If you opt for a web cam instead, those can stream over wifi and you can log into the camera from your phone anywhere. Whether you are downstairs or out on a date you can check in on them at any time without any additional hardware.
Many also have a microphone so you can get on and tell one of them to stop bothering their sibling or to lay down and go to bed. I find the camera very helpful. Not only am I able to cut short any mischief, but I can determine whether or not a cry or call for me is because they don’t want to go to sleep or because something happened.
If you frequently go into their room to check on them, or to tell them to lay down in their big kid beds, it restarts their “calm down” timer and takes longer each time to get them to settle.
Bolts and Braces
Any furniture in the room (other than the beds) needs to be bolted to the wall. Toddlers climb anything and everything on hand. I have frequently caught my twins climbing their bookcase to get something that was on the top shelf (another reason that they now have no bookcase) and if it hadn’t been bolted to the wall we could have had a serious incident.
If they have a nightstand I would recommend either removing it or bracing it to the wall as well. Toddlers often use these to jump off of or to reach things that they are not supposed to touch.
Their dresser is a big concern because of the weight. Several retailers came out with warnings and bolt kits last year after serious incidents involving dressers falling on children. Not all dressers are weighted properly and are prone to tipping.
Of course any dresser will tip with enough drawers open or even just a toddler climbing up the front. With this newfound freedom of being out of the crib comes a newfound curiosity of their surroundings.
Expecting a toddler to stay in their room when they know they can get out is unrealistic. In the beginning you can just place a doorknob safety cover on the inside of the door. This prevents little hands from being able to open it themselves.
As they get a little older they figure out how these locks work and easily remove them. The simplest and most economic fix to this problem is to reverse the doorknob on their door and lock it from the outside. This allows you to finally tackle any tasks that have stacked up without the fear that you are going to find them in the bathroom in a mound of unrolled toilet paper.
Potty trained children will need to get out to use the bathroom during sleep time. You can either leave the door unlocked or leave it locked and ask your kids to call for you and/or knock on the door when they need out. This requires you to be within hearing distance.
Locking the door when they are little is a way of expressing boundaries and training them to understand that sleep time is to be spent in their rooms. My twins’ door is now always unlocked and when they get up to use the bathroom they go right back into their room and into their big kid beds.
Enjoy this new period of discovery and independence with your children. Childhood is a series of firsts, but the first sleep in a big bed is a really important one.
Destiny began following Twiniversity’s Facebook page in 2013. She quickly fell in love with how the page created a feeling of community while at the same time providing support to thousands of parents and soon to be parents of multiples. She began writing for the website in the spring of 2014 carrying on the tradition of providing advice and support to parents. She is a mother of 3 boys; twin 3 year olds and a 5 year old. She worked for many years as a civil litigation paralegal prior to having children. Now she spends her days formulating new pie recipes, throwing epic kid parties, planning family vacations, and planning and executing pirate adventures and trips to far away planets with her boys.