Transition to the big boy bed

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  • #68554
    momof3momof3
    Participant

    I have a two year old who has recently joined his brother in their bunk beds. My husband are now forced to lay with him for 1-3 hours each night to get him to go to sleep. If we leave, he wanders out of the room and comes to find us. We have tried putting him back in the crib (as negative reinforcement, as he loves the bunk bed experience) but he screams bloody murder :crossfingers:

    #68556
    rs4rs4
    Participant

    Hey….I have absolutely NO advice, since I’m still hanging out with my seven year old as he falls asleep…look forward to the replies to help me out as well!

    #68557
    LaramisaLaramisa
    Participant

    My daughter was also difficult to get to sleep at night and got up frequently in the night.

    She continued getting out of bed and coming into my room for even a couple of years after the age your son is now – it just gradually reduced in frequency. At 7 she stills comes in early in the morning at about 5 but at least she doesn’t wake me up anymore. I wouldn’t expect punishments to help much- I think a 2 year is too young to understand this.

    Do you have a relaxing routine you follow before bedtime to help him feel sleepy? (bath, warm drink, quiet play time, story time, gentle going to sleep music – things like this helped my daughter). Is he napping too much during the day so he’s not tired enough at bedtime? Is his brother going to sleep or do they stay awake talking?

    Once she was interested in listening to stories, we just read stories until she fell asleep, which is what we’re still doing at age 7. This takes generally now (at age 7) one chapter of a book or 3-4 picture story books.

    When my daughter wouldn’t stay in her room (after the initial going to bed routine and stories) I’d usually just calmly take her back without alot of conversation – if she was really having problems I’d sit by the bed and read (not to her but to myself)and maybe stroke her forehead a little bit. I moved gradually farther away from the bed and reduced the length of time that I sat there. I tried alot of different things. This solution wasn’t perfect but this helped and eventually it got better.

    #68559
    pedsmdpedsmd
    Participant

    Here’s what we did and it worked like a charm in 2 days…

    First, I have to say I got us into the mess. My husband and I were living in separate towns while he finished residency and I started work. I had our daughter and we worked his butt off during the week so he could be with us on the weekends. We put her into a toddler bed shortly after she and I moved but she had trouble staying there. So most nights she ended up with me in my bed. We were both lonely for her dad so we cuddled each other. I knew I was asking for trouble but I did it anyway. And yes, when he moved up with us for good in June (after 5 months of she and I in my bed) she didn’t want to go to bed by herself. The final straw was one night we had to sit with her for 4 hours while she cried and wouldn’t go to sleep at all much less in her bed in her room.

    The next day, we bought…. (drum roll) a baby gate. I do not believe in closing the door. We put it up at her door and put her in her room and tucked her in bed (after the all important bedtime routine). She naturally got out of bed and stood at the gate crying. Every 10 minutes either me or my husband would go to the gate, make eye contact and ask her if she was ready to get back in bed. She would scream and cry. We left and repeated that every 10 minutes. No picking her up. The first night it took 40 minutes of screaming and realizing we were serious about not getting her before she got herself back to bed. Act as if nothing happened in the morning and do it again the next night. The next night, she was out of bed and screamed for 4 minutes. The next night, not at all. Absolutely no problems since. In fact there are nights that she just isn’t quite ready for bed so she gets up after she’s been tucked in and plays for 10 minutes or so and gets herself back in bed when she is ready.

    I got this idea from Barton Schmitt and I tell it to patients all the time. Works like a charm.

    #68560
    momof3momof3
    Participant

    PedsMD,
    Can you hear the squealing of my tires as I head out to buy the baby gate? Thanks for the advice! 🙂
    momof3

    #68562
    psychpsych
    Participant

    Just in case — we used the baby gate too, but my 2 year old climbed over it so we actually had to stack 2 baby gates. A few nights of screaming at the door but he figured it out. I’m not sure what to do about the other child in your situation, though – could you move the older child temporarily out of the room until you get the little one through the screaming/baby gate stage and then move the older one back later?

    I’m glad you brought this up because my daughter just turned 2 and I couldn’t remember when we transitioned the older one to a big bed!

    #68563
    YearstogoYearstogo
    Participant

    At our daughter’s two-year check-up our fabulous pediatrician asked how her sleep was. We confessed that we lay down with her (on the trundle bed part of her twin bed or, when she was still in the crib, on the guest bed) to get her to sleep every night, and he said “That’s fine … as long as you want to do that until she’s nine!” That really struck a chord with me, because I have a coworker whose daughter IS nine, and still wants to come into bed with her and her husband.

    We determined we would just lead my daughter back to bed as many times as it took for as many nights as it took, and that there would be NO looking back. We didn’t have a babygate up at first. So, the first night took six or seven times leading her back and tucking her in, the second night took twelve times (seriously), and then it took fewer and fewer every night after that. She still uses bottles (water only) at bed and nap time, so at first when her bottle would run dry, she’d get out of bed and come find us to ask for more water, but that was a little scary as she was SO quiet we couldn’t even hear it happening through our very sensitive baby monitor. Now we put a baby gate up and stock her with several bottles (no we haven’t potty-trained yet), and six months after starting this she’s still doing fabulously! She’s always wide awake when we say good night, and she never even comes to the gate (which she could easily push out, it’s not meant to physically restrain her)anymore. This after two years of helping her get to sleep every night, trying all sorts of schemes that we could never quite stick with, and thinking it just couldn’t be done.

    We do have a general routine before sleep, with a bath most nights and several stories, and I am sort of the one responsible for making sure it happens at about the same time every night. I realized just how much she’d gotten into the routine when I accidentally triggered the whole sequence an hour early the other night! Of course, it was really too early for her to sleep, so she did want out that one night.

    What seemed to finally solve our bedtime problem with our daughter was our deciding that we would NOT backtrack this time. It is hard to stick to when you’re tired, and most especially in the middle of the night, but if you make a pact with your husband over it, you can do it! I know your situation is complicated by the fact of having your other son in the room. Is he old enough to understand and be patient if you are constantly bringing the younger son back to bed? There was some crying for us, but not that much in the end. She really liked her big-girl bed from day one, so that probably helped too.

    Anyway, good luck! Post how it went!

    #68565
    diana mdiana m
    Participant

    We haven’t had too much trouble with this, since our 2 yr old loves her paci like a drug, so going to bed (the only place she gets the paci) is its own reward. But there have been some new fears and nightmares that make her ask us to stay in her room at bedtime. We recruited a bodyguard – it is this 3-foot stuffed bumblebee (of all things) from Ikea, and he is her protector, who sleeps on her pillow next to her and keeps away the creepies. So now the bee takes our place next to her when story and song are over.
    -Diana

    #68566
    momof3momof3
    Participant

    UPDATE: We are on day 3 of the baby gate and he only cried for about 3 minutes and then got into bed and laid quietly. The first night our older son had to sleep on a sleeping bag in our room because the toddler cried so loud and long. But I think he has got the idea now. This is nothing short of miraculous for us. THANKS ALL! 😀

    #68568
    pedsmdpedsmd
    Participant

    AWESOME!!!!

    #68569
    YearstogoYearstogo
    Participant

    How’s it going now?

    #68571
    momof3momof3
    Participant

    It is still working great! We are still putting up the gate but he goes right into bed and for the most part does not cry. We also reduced his nap time so he is READY for bed when night comes. What a great bedtime scheme! 😎

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