My parents think I’m crazy. My friends think it’s nuts. But it’s true. My four year old sleeps in a crib.
Know how I sleep? Long and uninterrupted. Because that boy stays put all night long. Twelve glorious hours a night. Sometimes thirteen, if he’s real sleepy. Snuggly…and caged.
I understand it’s unconventional, but I have my reasons. If your kid doesn’t get to sleep until midnight, roams the halls, joins you at 3 am every morning, or otherwise won’t stay put—perhaps you should read on.
“How long are you going to keep him in there? ‘Til he’s seventeen?”
I don’t mind if he stays in the crib until he’s eighteen. He might feel a little stiff in the morning, and sure, I’ll probably have to bend on the no-climbing-out rule, but sure. He wants to stay in there, he can stay.
People, please! He ain’t staying in until seventeen. I figure I’ve got six more months, max. My plan is to get him a big boy bed when he asks for one. Until then, a crib feels safe. A crib signals rest. A crib is a place he’s not allowed to leave without permission.
“You know he can climb out, right?”
Yes. I know he can climb out. He was physically able to climb out when he was zero. But he doesn’t (except for that one horrible month when he was three and a half…) because he’s not allowed to. What keeps him in? Me. I’m the mother. I make the rules. If he gets out, he gets a ration of crap. And nobody signs up for extra rations of crap.
“Isn’t he cramped in there?”
You mean with his 25 stuffed animals and four blankets? Yeah, it looks a little tight. But he likes it that way. Plus a crib is exactly the same size as a toddler bed. You know that the only difference between a crib and a toddler bed is that one has a lower front rail, right? If a child fits in a toddler bed, they fit in a crib. Ergo…he’s fine.
“My child transitioned by age one.”
Just kidding. That really is great. It’s nice to check milestones off the list. One less thing to worry about…
What’s that? She makes her way into your bedroom every night by 3 am? You have to lay down with him at bedtime so he actually goes to sleep? You have to provide ten cups a water, fifteen stories, and forty-five minutes of back rubbing each and every night, along with a song while standing on your head to make her actually sleep in that terrifyingly large bed all alone, each and every single night?
Okay, sure. Big kid bed.
“Won’t he get made fun of?”
Who’s going to know? How many sleepovers do four year olds attend? Or three year olds? Or two year olds? How many get to be in each other’s bedrooms, unattended at that age? Nobody’s going to know.
“Won’t this stunt his growth…or something?”
There are certain milestones kids should pass through. You’ve got to get them off the bottle for their teeth. And out of diapers for everyone’s sanity. They need to dress themselves and become more self-sufficient. I’m down with all of that.
I haven’t seen any advice advocating for moving a child from a crib before he is ready. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A crib is a bed with walls. That’s it. It might be a little odd to keep my four year old in a crib this long, but like the old adage says, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Q: When did you transition your child? How did it go?