June 17, 2008,
A.T. asks from Villa Park, IL on June 16, 2008
When to Move Toddler into Regular Bed.
My Daughter is almost 2 1/2. We have a crib that can go into a day bed and have recently tried to switch her to it with a rail attached so she can get in and out herself and not fall out. She loves that she can get in and out and will even take a nap without a problem, but when it's time for bed, she totally freaks out crying and then when we finally get her to sleep, she's in our room in the middle of the night with the same fuss. After 2 weeks, we switched the bed back to a crib and she goes to sleep and sleeps through the night fine. Any ideas on a way to approach her getting into the regular bed? What's the norm age for that anyway?
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K. answers from Chicago on June 16, 2008
This is pretty much a battle of wills, and you need to put your foot down if you want to win on it. We did this with my son when he was about 20 months and he sleeps beautifully now. It required about 3 nights with a gate up at his bedroom door and a lot of crying.
Night 1: put him back into bed after 5, then 10, then 15 minutes of crying. Repeat every 15 minutes until he falls asleep. Took us 1:45 the first night. He fell asleep by the gate and I moved him into bed later. Not fun.
Night 2: Put him back after 15 minutes of crying, repeat until he falls asleep. He got up once, I put him back, and he fell asleep in bed. Much much better.
Night 3: He fell asleep in his bed.
You'd use the same approach for getting up in the middle of the night, or at 5:00 AM or whenever. We had the gate up in his room for the first couple months and we'd just ignore him if he woke up too early. After a couple times he'd actually just go back to bed by himself once he figured out that he'd get no response from us. Now the gate is down and he sleeps through until 6:30.
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J.P. answers from Chicago on June 16, 2008
There is no age in which to do it. It depends on your child and if they say they are ready or show that they are ready (climbing out of the crib etc). I just switched my son, 27 months, over the past few weeks. We did it because we are expecting #2 in August and he was already able to put his foot on the rail and we were nervous that he would climb the crib late summer or early fall and we would have to transition him with a newborn. We had some early issues, mainly getting out of bed, and we sort of winged it. The way it worked for us was this: he was allowed to come out of the room 3x. Each time we would say very calmly that it was night, night time and to get back into our big boy bed. If he did it more than 3xs we just shut his door completely. We did this for a few nights/naps. Then he was allowed out 2xs and on the 3rd time we would again shut the door completely. Finally it went to 1x and now we just shut the door right away. I was having a little guilt of "locking" him in his room but now he knows and it hasn't been an issue. Now at night when he wakes he doesn't bother to come out compared to the nights when it was open and he would come to our room at midnight etc. If he cries I give him 2-3 minutes then I go into his room and comfort him and put him in bed and leave and repeat as needed, I did the same with crib training. I also have made sure that his nap/night routine is very structured and consistent since this is such a big deal. Another issue you may encounter is playing during nap time. I typically leave it unless it goes on past 10-15 minutes but typically he ends up in bed and napping and things work out. Anyway sorry this is so long but it is all VERY fresh in my mind since we just did it. Good luck and know that the first few weeks are tough but it does get easier and they do get used to it. Oh and also naps/and night sleep may get shorter as the new process unfolds but seems, for us at least, to have gone back to his old times.
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S.E. answers from Chicago on June 16, 2008
If she likes it this way let her keep it. I believe sooner of later it will get old and she will ask for it to be changed. Keep reminding her that it can be change to a big girl bed any time. She may just like the security of it.
K.K. answers from Chicago on June 17, 2008
My first did not transition until afer age 3. My 2nd is still in the crib, she will be 3 in December, we have no plans to move her! Take your time, lots more to worry about when they are in a big girl bed! We are lucky that we have a gate at the top of our stairs that they can't open.
A.B. answers from Chicago on June 16, 2008
Sounds like your child isn't ready to go into a regular bed...in my opinion anyways. Unless you have a good reason to transition her (like a new sibling), I wouldn't push it. I think all big milestones like this should be an exciting thing for the child-- never scary or forced. Every kid is ready at their own time-- as long as she isn't trying to climb out and she sleeps well, what's the harm in letting her sleep in the crib??
D.P. answers from Chicago on June 17, 2008
My son will be three in a few weeks and we just moved him a couple weeks ago. My doc said to wait as close to age 3 as possible. Unless she tries to climb out of the crib or complains, really, what's the rush? They like their cozy little space. In any case, we did put a gate on the room (and still do). We tried to stay in our room (right across the hall) until he fell asleep in the beginning. It was enough comfort for him to know we were close by, but not so much that we had to start a habit of laying with him every night.
I hope that helps. GOOD LUCK!
S.A. answers from Chicago on June 17, 2008
As long as she isn't climbing out and risking an injury I would just let her sleep in the crib. Mine was almost three until a neighbor girl showed her how to climb out and we had to switch it to the daybed.
C.P. answers from Chicago on June 17, 2008
We moved our son into a toddler bed when he was 15 months old. He took to it well, but of course had bumps along the way.
We kept a baby-gate up at his door for naps and he would fall asleep in his chair or on the floor, but we moved him into the bed then. At night, after he fell asleep, we'd take the gate down and if he got up, we'd bring him back to his bed and let him cry it out.
Consistency is key. If you're going to do the toddler bed, do it and don't go back. Create a special routine for the bed (maybe she can jump on it for a couple minutes before a book or something) that is new and happy. If you're hesitant about it, she will be.