I thought we were far past sleep regressions, but boy was I wrong!
We recently moved into a new home, and since I have baby number two coming along in August, we thought it would be a perfect time to transition Toddler Checkers into a big girl bed. She’s almost 3, and this would give her almost three months to get used to sleeping in a bed vs. crib. And we didn’t really have a need to do it any earlier since she was sleeping fine in her crib and never made any real attempts to escape the crib. In fact, it was nice having her in the crib because I knew she wasn’t running around her room at all hours of the night! She is also not night-time potty-trained yet, and so she didn’t need to get out of bed in the middle of the night.
When we went shopping for her bed and mattress, I thought she would be super excited to finally be in a bed. She would climb into all of the beds at the store and shout, “I like this bed! I want my big girl bed!” However, sleeping in it has proven to be a bit of a challenge. I should also note we weaned her nap time paci at the same time. She used it for much longer than we had intended (only for day time naps), but we figured that since the paci wasn’t necessarily helping her fall asleep or sleep longer anymore, it wouldn’t make much of a difference to get rid of them.
And so, with this newfound freedom, several things have come into play:
1) Stalling – Bedtime was already a little bit of a challenge when Toddler Checkers was in her crib, mainly because she just wanted to stay up with us and play. However, since transitioning her to her bed, the stalling has gotten much worse. She asks for songs, hugs, kisses, and potty breaks multiple times after we put her down and so bedtime sometimes extends anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Each time we put her back into bed and say it’s time to sleep, and inevitably we hear her little feet run out of her room and hear her say something like, “Wait! I forgot to say, ‘I love you.’ Can you come up so I can say I love you?”
2) Fear – Every now and then when we are about to leave her room, she will say, “My bed is scary. I want my crib. I’m a baby.” And I usually will tell her that she is a big girl now, and go into all of the fantastic things that big girls do that babies cannot do. Usually this will work, but it hasn’t helped her like the bed more.
3) Freedom – Now that Toddler Checkers can easily climb in and out of bed on her own, she plays when it’s bed time! Sometimes I’ll let this go if she’s playing quietly in her room and she doesn’t have to wake up early for daycare the next day. Sometimes she’ll put all of her stuffed animals in her closet, and place washcloths (“blankets”) over them, pretending to put them all to sleep. Other times we’ve heard her run through all of the bedrooms upstairs, shuffling items (one time she moved a whole rug by herself) from one room to the next.
I’m not quite sure how to tackle these new challenges, other than to do what we have already been doing, which is to spend a little more time with her at bedtime and reassuring her that we are just downstairs, and telling her to go back into bed each time she stalls or climbs out.
Once she is asleep, she will sleep through the night (and we have a guard rail, so she has never fallen out). I am thankful at least this has not been an issue!
What was your experiencing transitioning your toddler to a bed? Please share your tips and advice!