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Urgent help: 2nd attempt at a 'big girl bed' How do you get them to stay in it?

(33 Posts)
thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 16:33:19

I'm really apprehensive about trying this again. DD is nearly 4 and has slept through the night every night in her own since she was tiny. she could stay awake or wake in the night and entertain herself babbling away and always get herself to sleep. Alas it was too good to be true. We changed her cot into the bed when she turned 3 ( she had never tried to climb out even and slept in a sleeping bag so hadn't needed to before) It was a nightmare: she got out of bed continuously all evening and throughout the night every night. If she wanted comfort or even to sleep in our bed, I would have done that for her but she didn't seem to know what she wanted. At first it was a novelty, then a game, then she just kept wandering through. We tried gently putting her back, then she started running about crazy. We tried being cross and eventually tried closing the living room door firmly but she had a melt down when she couldn't open it and to this day is now obsessed with us not closing doors completely in case she can't get to us. After two weeks of this (on the last morning, I found her asleep outside our not completely closed bedroom door and it broke my heart) I took my mum's advice and made it into a cot again. She was so happy and hugged the bars saying, 'Thank you, thank you for my bars, Mama' Every night for weeks she thanked us for doing it. This can't go on forever: even her baby cousin is now in a bed. She has agreed to let me take one side of the cot off and is having great fun running in and out this afternoon.

I have to do this, right? I can't let her stay in a cot till she goes to school. How do I get her to stay in, if she starts this all again?

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Tue 07-Mar-17 16:36:17

Safety gate on her bedroom door?

Aworldofmyown Tue 07-Mar-17 16:40:26

Safety gate. If she falls asleep on the floor it won't hurt her. Just put her back into bed.

thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 16:50:10

I thought she might be too big for a gate now she is so old grin. I was worried she might be big enough to climb over.

thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 16:51:00

Also, is is weird that we let her stay in the cot so long? My friends all think it's a bit nuts.

FATEdestiny Tue 07-Mar-17 16:59:56

I can't let her stay in a cot till she goes to school

Why not? Genuinely, what's stopping you?

Some children find a lot of comfort and security from the enclosed feeling of the cot. It feels "safe". If she really likes that feeling, and she continues to fit in the cot, I cannot see why you must stop her. It's not like a vital developmental step.

Once older, maybe around school age, she may well feel more secure at night naturally because she's older.

She clearly loves her cot bars. I would not force her out of it unless with compelling reasons to need to. "Because she's 4" isn't that much of a necessity.

When you do change to a bed, you could:

- remove just one side of the cot first, and add a blanket "door" draped across where the fourth side would be.

- then remove the second side, but make a perminant "den" around the bed.

- once aged 6 plus, you can get a tent-bed. They are not safe for under 6s because they are high sleepers.

- Or buy a bunk bed, just use the lower bunk and add voile or sheets to make the bottom bunk enclosed.

The very worse thing you can do is just put a stair gate on the door and lock her in a bedroom with a bed she feels insecure in. There is no reason to dismiss her upset. It won't go away just by you not acknowledging it.

KingPrawnOkay Tue 07-Mar-17 17:15:57

Perhaps you could get her (or make your current big girl bed) into a day bed, the ones with the railings along the three sides? Butt the side without the bars against the wall so she still essentially has a cot. Frankly if she likes her cot I don't see anything wrong with keeping her in it, but the daybed is at least a big girl bed.

Applesandpears23 Tue 07-Mar-17 17:20:58

Ikea do a tent bed you can put a small child in. That may help. I don't think you are strange at all. My 3 year old is in a cot and I am dreading the running around the house at night stage.

thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 18:12:09

FATEdestiny and Applesandpears23 thank you. I needed to hear that. I thought in my heart that it was what she needed but I was worried that she would adjust after a few nights and I was holding back her development or something IYSWIM because it made our lives much easier.

thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 18:13:17

These ideas are great. I'm newish to all this MN stuff and it's wonderful to have a bit of support.

thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 18:18:04

Nearly bedtime. Wish me luck!

Comealongpond89 Tue 07-Mar-17 18:35:38

You also might find it easier when she starts school. Maybe associate goin to school with having a big girl bed. Also think the bed guards could be a good idea to help her transition as she likes her cot bars so much

thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 19:08:03

She asked me to push the cot against the wall when I took her through to bed. Little sweetie. She seems to need this right now. She may or may not work out that she can push it away from the wall with her feet and escape. I'll stay vigilant.

thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 19:08:31

Does anyone know any children that have stayed in their cots till school age?

Applesandpears23 Tue 07-Mar-17 19:16:00

Ikea also do a canopy thing that goes over the head end of the bed to create a nest feeling and a bed rail to act as a small side. We are trying to get #1 out of the cot soon so we can use it for #2 otherwise I wouldn't bother.

Timetogrowup2016 Tue 07-Mar-17 19:18:02

My brother was in a cot until he was 5.
If she likes it I'd keep her in it.

Lovelongweekends Tue 07-Mar-17 19:20:49

Can you use a bed guard to give her the feeling of sides? I definitely know of children who still have these on when starting school.
It sounds like a comfort/security thing.

kel1493 Tue 07-Mar-17 19:24:28

We put our lb in his toddler bed last month (when he was 17 months). We put a safety gate at his door. Thankfully he never gets out the bed except when it's time to get up. But even if he did he couldn't go anywhere.

PacificDogwod Tue 07-Mar-17 19:31:17

Anything for a good night's sleep all round grin

Seriously.
Within reason, of course, but in the greater scheme of things what does it matter what she sleeps in/on??
By the time she is 16 she'll no longer sleep in her cot, I guarantee you wink

And wrt 'holding back her development'? She is developing at her pace - IMO and IIME there's not really much any parent can do about almost any milestone when the child in question is just not quite ready yet.

Wishing you all a good night thanks

penguincrumble Tue 07-Mar-17 19:34:47

Stay with the cot until she won't fit any more. Why make life harder. Agree with pp suggestion of making big girl bed feel more enclosed once she has it. Once she starts school I think peer pressure will encourage her anyway.

Someone was freecycling bars for an adult sized bed a few weeks ago

penguincrumble Tue 07-Mar-17 19:46:04

Sorry for the half post I got climbed on. Can you see the attached picture? You could maybe simulate the effect with tied on bedsheets?

MrsDoylesladder Tue 07-Mar-17 19:47:47

Bed guard and cot mattress on the floor.

thethoughtfox Tue 07-Mar-17 19:55:37

Food for thought. Thank you all.

Baconandcabbage Tue 07-Mar-17 19:56:45

My DD2 is 5.5 years old and still in a cotbed. One side came off just before her 4th birthday. Put a single bed in her bedroom last year. She slept in it for a week, then decided it wasn't for her and went back to her cot and has been in it ever since. She told me she's going to sleep in her cot 'until I don't fit in it any more'. Fine by me. She's a great little sleeper.

daffodil10 Tue 07-Mar-17 20:51:31

My dd who is now a completely normal unaffected 14 year old used to get in and out of bed all the time as a toddler. We used bed guards and a gate. Took everything out of the room that she could possibly hurt herself with or use to climb out. The only method is cold turkey. She screamed the house down for a couple of nights and we regularly picked her up when she fell asleep on the bedroom floor, but she soon found that getting into bed and staying there was better.

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