Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Adventures in the Toddler Bed Transition

Two weeks ago we converted our little girls crib into a modified toddler bed (or whatever they are calling it). She has a small rail that still keeps her in the bed but a small opening that she can get in and out of. We were prolonging her crib life as long as possible and enjoy her being contained in one safe spot however, she started trying to get out of her crib by balancing on the rail on her belly. This was happening each time she woke up and she even started stacking her blankets and animals to get a step up. So, we bit the bullet and made the conversion. I was so anxious about this transition because my toddler would be free to roam whenever she wanted and I was not ready for this! I did my best to read up on as much material and advice that I could find on tips to keeping your kiddo in their new bed. I hate going into any new situation unprepared and without a game plan.

We started with the "Nanny" method in which we put her to bed and each time she got out and came out of her room we walked her back to bed in silence until she stayed and fell asleep. Some nights this took 45 minutes, some nights it took 10 minutes. Lots of tears and dedicating our entire evening to bedtime was rough. As it turns out, putting her to bed at night was much easier and less painful then putting her down for a nap during the day. Getting her to nap is currently still a struggle for me. Last week she was tired and all signs pointed towards her sleeping but she pushed through being tired to play or to keep coming out. There were three days where she woke up at 6am and finally fell asleep for a nap at 4pm (noon is her normal nap time), pushing bedtime way back! I would try to get her down for several hours with no luck like we had at bedtime. I would have loved to kept her awake beyond the skipped nap and then put her to bed early but no nap with an early bedtime leads to a 4am wake up. I couldn't handle that! After a few hours of no luck, I caved on our nanny method and rocked her to sleep. She hasn't wanted to be rocked to sleep since she was 1! She was beyond tired, restless, and super cranky because she needed sleep so the rocking and hugs from mama worked. This is not a long term solution but I will take it for now and use it when I have to because I need that nap time for me time!

I think the big difference between bedtime and nap time is the light factor. During nap time, her room is dim but she can still see all of her toys and is distracted by them. At bedtime, its pure darkness. No temptation of toys! Also, we have discovered that if Daddy puts her to bed she is more likely to listen to  him telling her to stay in bed and she must lay down. She comes out WAY less with him on bed patrol than with me. Yup, I am a softie here and have found this is better for Daddy to handle. I have no problem turning over bedtime to Daddy because it's another 30 minutes of me time I get to have. Yay!

I can't say I haven't been tempted to put that big crib rail back up with all the lack of sleep that went down last week. Since she has this new freedom, she is also waking up about an hour earlier (6am now) in the mornings. On several occasions, she has gotten up in the middle of the night (due to 2nd yr molars making their way) and come to my bedside, lightly whispering "hi" causing me to jump out of bed in confusion. It's these times that I am thankful for a Kindle that I can play her favorite Winnie The Pooh movie and let her snuggle next to me for a little bit. I can't be to upset with the 6am wake up because she greats me with a smile and says, "morning". It's great to wake up to that happy face. Plus, when she awakes from her naps she runs to me with open arms saying, "Mommy!!" and seems so excited to see me and hug me. I love that. Guess it's not all that bad right?

Needless to say, there is no going back to the crib days so just gotta keep pushing forward and staying consistent! From what I hear, everyone has this struggle so it's bound to happen at whatever age we had chosen for the new bed. Any tips? I suppose our next transition will be potty training. How long between new bed and no diapers should I wait??

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