Works For Me

Joining Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer playing Works For Me Wednesday today. Lately I happened across a few moms dealing with switching a toddler to a ‘big kid bed’, and I wanted to share how I’ve handled this challenge.

Usually what happens when you first switch a two year old over is the dreaded Jack-In-The-Box phenomenon. You get them into bed, head out to the living room for some hubby time, and within 5 minutes you hear the padding of little jammy-clad feet in the hall. Around the corner comes the two year old, doing his best to look winsome –or pitiful –depending on his bent.

Now what?

Here’s what I do: I stick the kid back in bed. Then I grab a book and a comfy pillow and camp myself outside the child’s bedroom door. I will be parked there until the kid gives up and goes to sleep. When he pops up, I’ll stick him back quietly and firmly. Over and over and over until he gets the idea that bed is the only option.

For a kid who is truly fearful of being alone (use your mom instinct), I will make sure I am within eyesight of the child, though I won’t participate in attempts at conversation. Once he seems relaxed, though still awake, I will often tell him I need to go run a load of laundry or make a quick trip to the bathroom. “I’ll be right back,” I’ll say.

I’ll keep my first trip away brief, coming back quickly to reassure him. Then in a few minutes I’ll leave for a little longer. Always I stay fairly close. If he gets up I will replace him firmly and quietly back in bed. Gradually over a week or so, I will increase my time away, so that he will eventually get used to falling asleep with me out of the room.

This tactic has worked for me!

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  1. Hee hee hee, my little guy tried this for a while too. We put his mattress on the floor and now he'll play around and crash on or near the mattress ;).

    Hey, I'm hosting the COTV today, stop in & link to it if you have a minute…

  2. I've done it that way, too. I remember with my first it was such a milestone to be able to leave and watch tv with hubby, only coming back for commercials. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey, that's how we did it! Actually, "we" is my husband, since he's the bedtime guy… it's a really great idea!

  4. I loved your camp post…good advice on bedtime weaning, too. Thanks.

  5. ohhhh- good idea!

  6. This is what I had to do too. Thanks for sharing.

  7. What a great tip!

  8. Great tips–with our middle one nearing that stage, I'll keep it in mind. I thought I was going to pull out all my hair getting our first to stay in his bed!

  9. With my kids widely spaced, I kept dd in the crib as long as she was safe (until almost 3). I worried about this issue, but didn't have to deal with it too much. Ds has turned two, so we will be moving him sometime, and as God has given him a wonderfully strong will, I may be camping out. Thanks. Any excuse to read a book is a good one, right?

  10. That was my strategy with my little guy too. Thanks 🙂

  11. Good to know…as we haven't faced that challenge yet! Our little guy was already "bed trained", and…..our 19 mo old….well, we're going to start the training come July (when she's 20 months) because she has a little sister coming in Sept!!!!! I've been dreading this for awhile now….but you make it sound quite easy! : ) Any thoughts on nap time staying in bed? I've heard that even if you get bed time down…nap time can still be challenging???!!!!

  12. I've never had troubles with sleeping times/procedures with my last 3 kids… until this one! My last, who is now 10 months has got to be the worst and I know I created the poor sleeping habit monster, now I have to fix it or risk loosing my mind….

  13. Thanks for the tip. My four oldest made really easy trastitions to their big kid beds. Bit I am a little worried about my two year old twins who are about ready to make the change. And they have two exits to thier room. Hubby and I might both be camping out!

  14. Shawnda, I would handle naps the same way. OR, since you are expecting, it may be easiest to just have her lie in your bed with you and nap when you do. But keep in mind, a few kids outgrow their nap by age 2 or 2-1/2. I had one I could sit with for an hour and he would NEVER go to sleep in the day past age 2.


  15. Your timing is perfect. We're just about to make that transition around here, and it's been just long enough that I could quite remember HOW to do it. Thanks!

  16. When we moved my daughter to a big-girl bed she transitioned so easily – or so we thought.

    One evening, we were headed to bed after watching a movie…and found her asleep with all of her toys in the hallway. She had been having a grand old time and we never even heard her. She just played quietly by herself.

    That was one of my feel-bad mommy moments.

  17. I love this! Great tip for those jack-in-the-box bedtimers!