Transition to toddler bed - baby not staying in bed, what do you do?!?!

Corinne - posted on 04/09/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )

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What's a method to get your baby to sleep in the "big" bed? My 22 month old just moved, because of climbing out of crib, she has always been a very bad sleeper and we have had her cry it out ever since she was 8 months with not much luck. Now with the new bed, there is a new dimension to the problem.. she climbs out. We sit in a rocking chair next to her and sometimes she stays still in bed for a while. When we close the door, it's a tantrum, when we leave it open, she'll sleep for a bit, but I find it highly dangerous that at night she climbs stairs alone to get to our room, and she will eventually come to my bed and I will need to go put her back. This is getting really tiring, there has not been a full night since she's moved bed! I let her cry it out this morning after a few attempts putting her back and she was banging on the floor tantruming for 1.5 hours until it was 7 and we got up.

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Nancy - posted on 04/11/2010

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I gave this reply to someone earlier:

My son did this. It took a little over a week, but this method worked for us and another friend. I would do Gabe's night time routine. Dinner, bath, jammies, brush teeth. He doesn't do well with bed time stories so when we put him to bed we talk about his day. I tell him "You need to go to sleep because you need to get lots of rest so you will have energy to play tomorrow and do fun things!" I keep eye contact and use a firm but gentle mom voice. I walk out of the room. He would get up and run out. I would pick him up calmly and put him back in bed, explaining why he needs to go to sleep again. The next time I would just pick him up and walk him back in, put him in bed, tuck him in. No words. I read somewhere that talking invites a power struggle with a toddler. They don't understand words as we do. So our actions speak louder than words. I had to get up and put him to bed over and over again for almost 3 hours the first night. There were a few tears but it was angry crying. He was not hurt or distressed, just trying to get his own way. It gradually got better. He has been in our bed once since. And it's been a month. He came running in our room at 4 am scared out of his wits. He stayed in there about half an hour to calm down and then he was moved into his bed without a fuss and stayed there the whole night.

If he gets up too early, I do the same thing. I put him back to bed and tell him he is not allowed to wake up before Mr. Sun. After several days of this, I have a kid who sleeps from 8-7/7:30ish.
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Corinne - posted on 04/10/2010

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Thank you all so much for the advice! I am definitely trying the chair that moves further away every night. The gate we might try, but I do think she'll figure it out very quickly. It's true that I don't know if there is an under laying issue with her sleeping, she basically never slept through the night since she could stand on her legs, I tried night lights, music, cry it out, change of bedtimes, .... I also made the mistake to breastfeed her to sleep, which is why she didn't really learn to fall asleep by herself early on. She'll fall asleep cuddling, and that is my weak point, when I am really tired, I cuddle her to sleep to avoid the screaming, if I just sit there in the chair now, she'll sit up in her bed watching me or her teddy bears and refuses to lay down until I put her down with a caress. I know I have to be persistent, she's already easier with my husband to go to bed, which means she's also playing me, however, he never gets up at night. Anyway, I am going to persist with your advice, thanks! I just wish I could have a few days of rest to catch up on my own sleep ;)!! I also had the tip by the way that babies feel lost in a big bed, so I stuffed her whole bed full with her teddies and I try to make her like the bed by being really positive about it.

Krissy - posted on 04/10/2010

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my son has always had sleep issues from age one he refused to sleep in his cot, so we baught a matteress . unfortunalty to this day he still needs help he is 4 ( though i have just been told by his speech pathologest he has sensory issues with his sleep and she's put me intouch with someone) and if you really want to see if she may have them as if she has been having these prob since 8 months and she is now just shy of two . it doesnt hurt to find out.i did the same as the ladys below but he soon found out how to unlock the gate no matter which one i put up. hopefully your little girl wont figure it out untill she is much older and byrthen you wouldnt need to use it. i must admit i did see the super nanny thing and tryed it out for 3 months every night up til 12 am or more, but it still didnt work and i was so exhausted that i couldnt do it anymore. saying that every child is very different and it may work with your little one. i dont want to frighten you but im just being straight forward as is the other ladys.

Kayla - posted on 04/09/2010

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we put a gate up for my son as well. i did the super nanie thing with staing in the room on a chair til he fell asleep- then every 2 days moved the chair cloeser to his door- then after a few weeks i was in the hallway. now we have no problems. it took so much out of me- stay strong tho..... there is a light at the end of the tunnel. just like christie said- just keep putting them back in bed everytime they get out...... it worled after a while..... you just have to stay strong and keep with it

Christie - posted on 04/09/2010

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Try getting her a night light and maybe a glow worm or we have a really cute seahorse (fisherprice) I think. Tell her that you will turn the seahorse on so she can listen to the music but when the seahorse goes to sleep she needs to go to sleep. Also put a gate by her door and sit outside her door....that way if she gets up you put her back in and walk back out...every night get further and further away from the gate until finally (hopefully) she will sleep on her own.

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