Stay-at-Home Parents/Toddler bed
Hello. I'm the mother of a bright very communicative 20 month old girl. With a new baby on the way due in June, we decided to take a shot at transitioning our daughter to a toddler bed. We did it gradually, leaving the bed in her room until she decided she wanted to sleep in it. For two weeks, she did great! She slept through naps and through the night. After a brief illness this past weekend, it all came crumbling down. She won't stay in bed for naps and we are only successful at getting her down initially at night because she is so exhausted. However, sometime in the middle of the night, she awakes and begins playing in her room or yelling at us demanding we come in.
We did a bit of sleep training around 7 months. She has never seemed to be a child that would fall asleep in our arms or with us in the room even. She usually took 20-30 minutes (sometimes longer) of quietly playing in her crib with a doll or book before finally dozing off. I suppose it's dawned on her now that she can get up and play in her room. Most of the advice I've read in books suggests calmly walking child back to bed every time she gets out of bed (we have video monitor). This doesn't seem to be working and just feels like a power struggle that frustrates us and furthers her from a calm state in which needs to rest. I thought about just letting her play in her child proofed room and ignoring her night waking for the time being. Problem is she lays down right by the door making it difficult for us to enter. I feel like that's a safety hazard.
I'm ready to throw in the towel and bring the crib back. My husband thinks that's backtracking and wants to continue talking to her. I have no doubt she comprehends a lot, but I don't think we can reason with her. In desperation I set up the pack and play in her room in the middle of the night and put her in it, telling her this is where she will sleep if she can't stay in bed. I doubt that makes sense to her. Very tired and very frustrated.
Finally, she throws tantrums around other issues as well. My typical response is to ignore her. When she calms down I ask her questions about what she needs and by then she's ready to cuddle and move on. Can't seem to apply that here. Any advice?
Your situation sounds so much like mine! We moved our then 20 mos old to a crib as well when we were expecting our 2nd daughter (also born in June). I feel she was not ready that young, but we needed the crib for the baby. She would not stay in the bed and that was pretty much the end of naps! We ended up putting a child proof doorknob cover on the inside of her door. I felt bad, but if it wasn't there I would have been too worried about her wandering around the house at night. She also would lay in front of her door and not in her bed. She did this for 2 yrs!!! Thankfully, she is 10 yrs old now and sleeping in a bed!! The ped told me to just let her do it and she would eventually grow out of it. With my 2nd daughter it was no hurry to move her to a bed and I waited until she was around 3.5 yrs old! Neither one of my girls ever tried to crawl out of the crib. I know that is a little on the old side, but it made transitioning to a toddler bed a breeze!! At that point she was old enough to understand what was going on and I didn't have to worry so much about her wandering around at night, because she was older. If I had it to do over again I would have just bought a 2nd crib and kept my oldest in her crib for a while longer as well. So, if you don't need the crib for the baby I would let her stay in it. Eventually she is going to want to feel like a big girl and give the crib up. If it is when she is close to 4 yrs old, so be it. If you do need the crib for the baby then I would probably stick to my guns and not give her back the crib. You want to do this transition early enough so she doesn't feel like you are stealing her crib for the baby and she has some time to adjust before the baby gets here. If you decide to go this route then I would try and ignore her when she wakes at night, other than for an emergency obviously. If she chooses to sleep on her floor then I would let her (as I did). I think if you ever really needed to get in her room you could move her easily enough with the door. I would also get the doorknob cover. Some people were appalled that I did this, but her room was literally right beside mine, so if ever there was an emergency I was right there. Like I said, I just wouldn't feel comfortable knowing she could get out of her room at night, and all I could think of was that she would go outside or something. That scared me way more then her not being able to open her door!!
If having her sleep in her bed and not on the floor is important to you, then you could always use bribery!! haha!! We went and got my daughter a present wrapped it up and told her when she started sleeping in her bed she could have it. Well, that didn't exactly work, so we took the present back. Fast forward a few years later and we tried it again!! Well, it worked that time and she ended up with a kitten and has been sleeping in her bed ever since, so everyone won!!! Good luck and I hope you find something that works!!