The most important part of the transition, in my experience and opinion (having talked to many, many moms who’ve done it) is the parents’ mental preparation.
The transition will go as it will go, but of course, one can’t know exactly HOW it will go until they’re in the throes of it.
It may go great for a few days and then unravel. It may go horribly for 24 hours and then be fantastic. One child may adjust more quickly than another. If you live in a house like mine, one kid will be most happy to follow the rules — until his brother convinces him that climbing on a bookshelf is a better choice.
Don’t react too strongly to what’s going on — make sure their room is safe, and don’t allow your displeasure over what they may be doing in it to further encourage them to push your buttons!
Also, avoid making the transition when you’re about to set off on vacation, immediately upon returning from vacation, moving to a new home, recovering from illness (you or the kids), or embarking on any other adventure that, in and of itself, will require adjustment by everyone involved.
Here are some of the strategies I share in my book Ready or Not…There We Go! The REAL Experts’ Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins
1. Put the mattresses on the floor first (as opposed to setting up a full bedframe). This gets the kids used to the lack of confinement but ensures that there isn’t far to fall should they roll off the mattress.
2. Don’t be in a hurry to move kids to toddler beds or big-kid beds. The older they are when they do so, the easier it will be for them to follow the rules that go along with it. Parents of multiples are desperate for change — any change! — but holding off as long as possible consistently proves a worthy choice.
3. Most important is for parents remember that this is a transition time and not to have any expectations. When kids get out of their cribs it means one thing to them: FREEDOM! Expect naps to go by the wayside, at least temporarily, while kids play instead. The good news is that when they don’t nap, they can be put down earlier at night. Do not be surprised by what they get into during their “naptime.” Our boys were found one day stuffing the contents of their diapers down their floor vent!
Here’s our question to our parents of older multiples: How did you do your crib to toddler bed transition? And as always if you ever have an idea for us, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org