My standard strategy for the "Big Move" is pretty simple:
1. Wait as long as possible. They will have a big bed the rest of their lives. Don't rush it. They need to really understand your directions, remember your directions, and be able to have the self control not to leave their bed. I usually wait until they are close to age 3. But if they are older than that who cares. One of these days they WILL outgrow the crib and they will want a big bed.
2. Give them an attractive alternative to the crib. Present the big bed AND the crib as two options. Talk up the big bed as a wonderful thing. If they choose the crib then that is fine. If they WANT the big bed then they are motivated to sleep there. If they get out of the big bed then they go back into the crib (usually under protests) and after a night or two with that as the consequence, they are ready to stay in the big bed. I suppose the one situation in which this would not work is if they LOVE their crib and don't like their other bed. If this is the case then pack up that crib and get it out. Maybe try a pack and play as an alternative.
This has worked GREAT in the past and I recommend it to everyone I know. I am assumed that we have pretty easy bedtimes because I am a brilliant and gifted strategizer and our plan is a sure success. But I am not going to do it this time.
Here is the deal. Anna is a different sleeper.
She is a good sleeper at home and tells me when she is tired even, but she doesn't sleep well places other than her crib. I mean not really at all. And she is a climber- She is climbing out of her crib now so keeping her there isn't a very good choice unless we find her a crib tent. I really want her out of that crib. And we don't have room for the crib and the toddler bed both in her room. And I really want her out of that crib. And I want her to be more flexible with her sleeping because I would love to go on vacation this summer. See my post on the Great Escape. Somehow I have it in my mind that if we transition her to a toddler bed she will sleep well on vacation. I am not sure if that is sound logic or not.
So we are tossing aside a perfectly good model and venturing out. This week I put her down for a nap in a different place each day as a test and it worked pretty well.
Today we build the toddler-bed.
Tonight we give it a try.
We live in such an instant gratification culture I figured
I would feed that madness & post this all as one post
So here we are 3 days later and just a little sleep deprived. But by and large I would say this has been okay. We have had 3 successful naps and 3 nights. We have had to crack down on her which is unpleasant. We have also had to reinstate the bedtime ritual which is nice to have anyway but honestly a little of a pain. It isn't that I don't love the snuggle time with her, it is just that I get to see her all day long and I don't get that time 1:1 with the other 3 kids. I would like to just plop her in the crib like we had been doing and go read to the other kids. Spend 15 minutes with each kid and your routine takes an hour. I know these times are short and I should savor them.
Night one - 730 to bed/ 830 asleep. We told her about a dozen times to get back into bed (I was reading to JR) but she was so excited she just wouldn't stay in bed. Once everyone else was tucked in I finally rocked her and read to her and then put her to bed 'for good'. It lasted until about 230am. I stayed in her room and rubbed her back until she was asleep. Or so I thought. I had just about enough time to use the loo when her little feet were heard in the hallway. Ugh. Back to the bed. And then another 20 minutes later it was Daddy's turn, and then again. Why are we doing this?
By nap time she was exhausted and she did just fine.
Night two - we rocked and did books and she cashed out exhausted, until about 230 again. This time she called out but stayed in bed so I went and reassured her life was good and that was all.
And it was day three. Nap time she was up to some shenanigans in the bedroom but they were loud and I heard and she was scolded and off to sleep.
Night three. She went to bed well then snuck out and was playing with the door. She pinched her finger and I had very little sympathy for her. She sulked off to bed. Then her middle of the night call again -this time 11pm. I am really hoping this isn't a pattern. How many days until we call it a pattern?
And it is Day Four nap time. I should get up and check on her. I have heard the door swing a few times. She is fine. Sound sleep.
So what have I learned? Hum.
In parenting, I try to remind myself that every child is different and the best thing for parents is to have a variety of techniques on hand. I have to say I think that applies here too.
I don't have a record of the other kids and their transition to a big girl bed, but I think we had a couple of tough nights and that was all. I think Ann is a little different because she is the first one we moved to a toddler-bed rather than to a twin bed. No reason for that other than we HAD a toddler-bed given to us and we didn't have another twin bed. But toddler-beds are so small and cute and easy to get in/out of. It takes a lot more effort for little legs to climb up and around the bedrail of a twin bed.
I am glad though to be done with the crib. I think cribs are symbolic for mothers. How many mothers have a crib in their garage just because? Often they aren't planning on having more kids, some are vehemently opposed to it, but they still have the crib. I have seen crib owners tearful at yard sales as they part with the loved item. I had my husband make the first one we used into a bench for the entry way. Here are the two cribs together. Which would YOU rather have around?
Then I borrowed a crib for the girls. Much easier that way. Not so much emotion tied to it. But if you have one in your garage and you are itching for a new project here are some links to a few great ideas for the cribs.
Leave a note and let me know you were here. Praying for a good sleep for us all tonight!