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Toddler bed chaos

(31 Posts)
AlltheGs123 Thu 07-Jan-16 11:57:37

My DD has moved into a toddler bed and it's horrendous. She resists bed time and then wakes in the early hours and then regularly through the night. She wants to come into our bed and will throw huge tantrums, we have been trying to rapid return but most nights it'll take a couple of stints on her floor lying next to her bed to settle her - needless to say we are all exhausted and we all dread bedtime! Trying to dissuade her from taking her daytime nap but feel quite cruel. She's 2 and a half btw. Any experiences with Glo-clocks / gro-clocks (can't remember exact name) - are they any use???

wtftodo Thu 07-Jan-16 12:30:49

THIS IS US. 2yr3m.
We moved her in early november. Used a gro clock, which helped initially but is now "too bright", tried gradual retreat, it's gone the wrong way and we've ended up with worse wakings than ever and ultimately two weeks of her only sleeping if we both sleep on the floor all night.
I tried rapid return last night which went horrendously (I started another thread about it) and am shamelessly plugging in here for advice smile

winchester1 Thu 07-Jan-16 13:21:42

Oh dear I'm in the same place with our 2yr 4m, he recently moved himself to a bed by climbing out of his cot and into the spare bed in his room, and refusing to get in the cot again. For added joy we also have a 1yr old in the same room who wants to start her day between 3 and 4am by laughing loudly and waking everyone.

Its like musical beds in the mornings and no one is sleeping enough.
Today DC2 and me went downstairs after a bottle she naped on a mattress me on a sofa. OH went in to DC1's bed as he was cryin out, and DC1 ran away to our double where he slept alone.

We tried the gro clock but it didn't help, our 2yr old isn't talking yet though so I'm not sure he understands it tbh.

We plan to put DC2 back in her own cot after her morning/night bottle on Sat morning, lock the baby gate on their door and just keep telling them both its night time. I'm not hopeful anyone will get anymore sleep though.

Shirkingfromhome Thu 07-Jan-16 13:28:24

Absolutely no advice but just to show a bit of solidarity and lurking for any advice
I allowed ds(2) in our bed and now I can't get him out. He's a really fidgety sleeper and none of us are sleeping particularly soundly. Doesn't help that I'm pregnant with dc2 (due Mar) and I think he's beginning to feel a bit insecure.

Friends have tried Gro clocks with mixed responses and they've also tried various sleep training methods. None of them have reported any consistent success so I'm not sure if this yet another phase to ride out. It can't last forever, right?!

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 14:57:20

Young toddlers gain a surprising amount of comfort from the sides of their cot. The enclosed feeling can give a feeling of security, comfort - keeps them feeling safe.

Without the sides enclosing them in, the room is big and wide and can be quite scary. So much more reassurance is sought to replace the security and safety that the cot sides supplied. Add to that the novelty of being able to get up at will, do whatever child likes in the room and even leave the room when they want. It is quite unsurprising for me that young toddlers do not take to this change very well.

The simple answer that I use is wait until toddler is older to make this change. My children were between Aged 3 and Aged 4 when this change happened.

So in answer to those on the thread - my first advise would be to go back to the cot if possible. Your child sounds like they are not emotionally ready to leave the cot, even if they are physically ready.

If unable/unwilling to do this - try to recreate cot conditions. Can you put one side on the cot (the open side against the main room) and butt the other side up to a wall? Can you create a 'den' with light blankets over the bed? Can you allow the child to have a floor bed by the door instead (sleeping by the door is closer to Mum and dad so feels bit little safer for the child).

winchester1 Thu 07-Jan-16 15:00:08

How did you keep a three yr old in a cot? My two yr old climbs out of his travel cot easily, we'd planned to wait longer but I can't see how we can now.

wtftodo Thu 07-Jan-16 15:18:00

FATE, we took the side off the cot because our daughter was climbing out - but really dangerously ie climbing up onto the bars of her cot and rocking it back and forth in rage - which I was sure would end in injury.
In these circumstances would you still recommend putting the side back on?

She was ok in the bed at first (with us helping her drop off)

Has a towel rolled up to keep her in and keep her snuggly, and cushions on floor etc

Would appreciate your thoughts!

AlltheGs123 Thu 07-Jan-16 16:14:11

The decision was taken out of our hands as she learnt to unzip her grobag and fling herself across the bars.

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 17:56:51

This is everything about Terrible Two boundary pushing. Its behavioural.

How did you keep a three yr old in a cot?

My children could physically have climbed out if they wanted to. But just because they could didn't mean they did. However just because my children didn't cot-vault very much, I do understand that other toddlers do and will.

climbing up onto the bars of her cot and rocking it back and forth in rage

Honestly, without meaning to be rude - did you really think that a child who's behaving like this in a cot would be all-fine in a bed? It's behavioural and the same boundary-pushing will happen when in a bed. It is just a million times easier doing and establishing Rapid Return in a cot than it is a bed.

When the boundary pushing Terrible Twos are over, the change to a bed can be done at a positive time rather than under pressure because you feel you "must". In fact you don't have to make this change now. You could just teach a cot-vaulting child not to climb.

The decision was taken out of our hands as she learnt to unzip her grobag and fling herself across the bars

You are a parent. Your child should not to be dictating to you using bad behaviour. Climbing out of the cot is just bad behaviour, the child just needs teaching about acceptable behaviour boundaries.

There are loads of examples of children doing things that are dangerous and having to be taught not to. It's just the Terrible Twos. Then the change from cot to bed is something that you decide together and at a positive time, rather than out of exasperation at a less-than-ideal time when toddler is already pushing boundaries.

AlltheGs123 Thu 07-Jan-16 18:07:08

That's all well and good but teaching a determined two year old that climbing out of a cot is bad behaviour is easier said than done and we were not prepared to risk her safety whilst waiting for her to learn.

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 18:27:21

Teach her that lying down in the cot is acceptable behaviour instead - and bypass the whole issue. You cant climb out if you are lying down and going to sleep.

Yes it is time consuming, requires commitment and consistence. It is easier said than done. Most aspects of parenting are.

This does not make it an impossibility.

winchester1 Thu 07-Jan-16 20:35:27

Maybe you got lucky, I.don't see how I.can teach a toddler sleeping in a bed is wrong or dangerous when he sees us do it and it causes him no pain. Plus I'd have to stand guard all night in his room to stop.him

He doesn't disturb or try to hurt or wake his sister I'd rather him in the bed than screaming in the cot.

I'll let you all know how Friday night goes maybe it will be 'the' answer! wink

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 20:50:58

I'm not suggesting anything about a bed Winchester? I definitely wouldn't advocate promoting negative emotions regarding a bed to your child. That is a terrible idea.

I was suggesting that the climbing out of a cot could be dealt with as an alternate to the toddler bed chaos this thread describes.

Maybe I have been lucky 3 times so far. Lets hope DC4 doesn't prove me wrong smile

KittyandTeal Thu 07-Jan-16 20:57:17

Climbing out of a cot is plain dangerous.

Our dd1 was never in a cot but we puta toddler bed bumper on the side of her bed when she went in there at 2. Is it worth trying that? That way they are loses in the same way as a cot but they don't need to climb over it (they get out of the gap at the end of the bed) to get out.

Ours was only £20 so might be worth a go.

winchester1 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:03:55

Sorry but I'm not getting it. My kid climbs out his cot at 2am (for example),into the bed in his room. How do I teach a him that's wrong? Esp once he has done it a few times without us realising (he climbed back.into his cot for his book each morning).
If I'm not there to discipline him how is he meant to learn that esp as I cant have a conversation with he isn't speaking - yet (I hope).

Maybe you were lucky - I'm dc4, and my mum was still finding new issues and problems with me and dc5

trilbydoll Thu 07-Jan-16 21:05:20

Bedtime in our house is a disaster at the moment but in answer to your Q:

We have a groclock. DD knows she is meant to stay in bed until the sun comes up. However in the middle of the night her desire to come into our bed is greater than wanting to do what she should!

The gro clock has adjustable brightness btw, in case the pp who said it was bright did not realise!

And imo if you have a child who hates the cot, by keeping it you're creating a battle unnecessarily. Bars are good for shaking angrily, prisoner style! It's also much easier to sit on a bed and keep them horizontal. So although the bed has disadvantages, I don't think the cot is necessarily the magic solution!

Quodlibet Thu 07-Jan-16 21:10:22

Fate, I am actually interested in how you suggest establishing bedtime boundaries with a two yr old. Mine would until recently tolerate going to sleep on her own in her cot, but now one of us has to sit in her room til she drops off - often 40mins plus. If we leave she gets distressed and sometimes climbs out.

What do I do?

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 21:13:10

He's doing this at 2am winchester1? What is waking him up? That sounds like sleep training is need to get him sleeping through the night and not waking up. Again, this in itself is a different issue to the Toddler Bed Chaos.

winchester1 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:25:35

Oh his sister is waking him sorry thought I'd said that. The chaos begins from there. Him climbing out the cot is by the by he does that quietly and puts the bed. But now that change is done I.cant undo that i don't think

Now she does indeed need sleep training but not sure how. CC with dc1 but that would def wake dc1, and he hasn't napped for quite a while. She's always woken between 3-4am regardless of where we are staying, when she eats or what time she goes to sleep. Maybe its genetics

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 21:35:10

Fate, I am actually interested in how you suggest establishing bedtime boundaries with a two yr old. Mine would until recently tolerate going to sleep on her own in her cot, but now one of us has to sit in her room til she drops off - often 40mins plus. If we leave she gets distressed and sometimes climbs out.

Feel free to start a thread Quodlibet. It sounds like you are doing gradual withdrawal (perhaps without realising?) but have stalled on the withdrawing bit. I could do a long post here - is that OK with everyone?

Gradual withdrawal (GW) as a sleep training method relies on trust. Your DD gets distressed when you leave the room because your presence is her source of comfort and security needed to get to sleep. As an aside to GW you could probably do with establishing some kind of super-special very precious and important snuggle thing to provide her comfort separately from you. That is an aside ready for when GW is completed though.

So your DD feels scared/worried/whatever when she is left alone and awake in her room. So she needs to trust that you will stay until she is asleep. If you sneak out before she's asleep then she might start messing around at bedtime and trying to stay awake. This is done as a means to keep you there - because you are her comfort and security. 40 mins isn't bad, I have known parents get to the stage where it takes hours. The more she trusts you will stay, the quicker she will go to sleep.

Once that trust is established (and I am assuming we are entering GW at this point - as I said you were already doing GW in establishing that trust that you will stay), then you start gradually withdrawing the amount of reassurance needed.

Say if at the moment you sit on her bed and hold her hand, each day next week sit on the floor and hold her hand. But every night stay until she is asleep. She has to trust you will stay until she is asleep.

Once she is at-ease with you sitting on the floor holding her hand (that might take a day or two or a week or two), sit on the floor and rest your hand on her back/chest instead of holding her hand. But every night stay until she is asleep. She has to trust you will stay until she is asleep.

One she is at ease with that, just sit by the bed. But every night stay until she is asleep. She has to trust you will stay until she is asleep.

Once she is at ease with that, start standing but bring back the reassuring hand on her chest. stay until asleep.

Then just standing by the bed. Stay until asleep and don't make the next change until she is at-ease with this change.

Then facing side-on to the bed. Stay until asleep and don't make the next change until she is at-ease with this change.

Then a step away from the bed. Then a bit further. Then standing by the door. But always remember to stay until asleep. Then outside the door.

Then "I'm just going to put this bathtowel in the bathroom, I'll come straight back (or whatever)". Come back and stay until asleep.

Then "I'm just putting this washing away in Mummies room, I'll come back". Come back after a minute, check she's OK, go back again, come straight back and so on.

Then a promise that you will stay upstairs while she is asleep and will keep popping your head in to check she's OK.

Then a promise you will stay upstairs until she is asleep but check on her less. Then start popping downstairs but coming back and checking she's OK.

The whole of GW sleep training method is based on trust that you will always, always stay until she is asleep. It also takes a long time if you do it in a non-distressing way. There are other sleep training methods that involve more crying and distress but work quicker.

Jw35 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:40:42

Fate I love everything you said! I agree too. My eldest went into a bed at almost 3 but a lot of my friends did it much earlier and had all sorts of problems! I'd leave in a cot as long as possible for the reasons Fate said!

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 21:47:50

I'd not read up winchester1. 1YO in a cot who needs sleep training and 2YO cot refuser in the same room. Blimey - hard work indeed. You have my sympathy flowers

In all honesty I would go for the divide and conquer route if possible - have the baby's cot back in with me. If the toddler stays asleep in bed, the problem is sorted and you just need the to sleep train the baby.

This helps identify specific, solvable problems in amongst all the chaos.

UnplainJane Thu 07-Jan-16 21:56:54

Just out of interest FATE..... Are you a professional sleep expert?! If not, you should start charging for advice! Everything I've ever read you reply on other threads seems like spot on advice! Love it how knowledgeable you are and how you are so willing to help others by sharing your knowledge. Keep up the good work. I bet there are hundreds of parents out there whose thanks you deserve flowers

(Sorry about the gushing on this thread.... Didn't know where else to put it!)

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 22:03:26

Awww thanks!

I'm just a Mum, not an expert or anything.

Quodlibet Thu 07-Jan-16 22:04:29

Ok thanks Fate.
When I tried stepping out just now (out of frustration) to sit on the sofa in the next room (something we agree together before bedtime, but once we get to me leaving it's all delaying tactics as you describe). So I left and she started off with pretend crying but soon worked herself up into a big tantrum and then prolonged sobbing (I was sitting with her again as soon as she was actually distressed) which ended with an admission she was scared about a scene from a film.

What I struggle with is the regression. Until a couple of months ago, fine. Very occasionally even now she'll go to sleep if she can see me in my bed (with both bedroom doors open). So am theoretically up for this gradual withdrawal method, but not sure what my starting point should be.

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