Leo has always been really good at going to bed. He has not always been good at going to sleep, but ever since he was about 12months he has been happy enough to go in his cot at bed time and not make too much of a fuss. In the last few weeks, bedtime has started to become quite hard work. Leo has been demanding more stories to be read and asking for all his toys to come in his cot. He seemed to be doing everything possible to keep me in the room with him so he didn’t have to settle down and go to sleep.
After a few particularly stressful nights in a row, last week I decided maybe he would be happier if we changed his cot into a cot bed. So, one evening last week Oli got to work and took the side off Leo’s cot (this was more difficult than it sounds!) and Leo was introduced to his big boy bed. It has not all been plain sailing but the first week in the big boy has gone much better than I was expecting, Leo seems to be happy to be out of his cot – I on the other hand am I bit sad, how is my baby in a bed already?!
Over the past week I have jotted down how everything is going, so if you are thinking about transitioning your toddler from the cot to a bed, here is some idea of what to expect…
Leo was very excited about his new bed. He enjoyed jumping in and out of it and repeatedly declaring ‘my bed, my bed!’. He had his bedtime story like normal and settled down perfectly. I was feeling super smug at this point and had convinced myself all our bedtime troubles were over. How foolish of me..
The second night in his bed was similar to the first. There was a tiny bit of moaning for another story but nothing too bad. We could hear Leo playing with his toys for about half an hour after we had put him to bed. I was happy to leave him play for a bit as it was all new and exciting and a room full of toys with no cot side stopping you, well that’s just a bit too tempting isn’t it? Leo did fall out once but I managed to get him back into bed and he settled down happily after that.
Again Leo went to bed Ok. He played for a bit again and managed to pull his mattress half off the bed when I went to check on him but apart from that he was great and in the morning I was woken up by the sound of him running to our bedroom, so cute,
Well, this is where it all started to go a bit downhill. As Leo had now figured out how to open his door, he thought it would be fun to keep coming into the living room after we put him to bed. He came in saying ‘mummy wants to read’ and then ‘Daddy wants to read’. Oli and I took it in turns to take him back to bed and when we refused more stories he screamed the house down. Eventually he got bored of shouting ‘READ!’ and we could hear him playing with his toys until nearly 10pm. Absolute nightmare, by this point my smugness from the start of the week had completely vanished.
By day 5 I was officially regretting my decision and contemplating putting the side of the cot back on. Thankfully, Leo went to bed fine and didn’t come sneaking into the living room once. He played with his toys for a little while and started crying. Oli went to see him and Leo was just sat in the middle of the room sleepy crying – I think he forgot he could get into bed by himself now.
Things were starting to get better again by day 6. We had the usual moaning for more stories and lies of being hungry to get me to stay in his room but I managed to settle Leo down quite easily. We heard him playing with his toys again (how do we stop this?) but when we went to check on him he got himself back into bed, all cuddled up under his blankets.
So, last night things went downhill again – ahh! Leo settled down OK but then proceeded to come in to the living room about 20 times. At first it was funny because he was acting like a little ninja, sneaking in and then grinning at us from the door. This routine got old really fast though and I had to delve deep in to my brain and retrieve all those little tips I had learnt from watching countless episodes of Super Nanny when I was younger. I remember her saying no talking or eye contact are key in showing your child that you mean business and you are not playing games. Have you ever tried ignoring your toddler when they are trying to talk to you? It is so hard, I felt so mean. Anyway, it seemed to work as I managed to get him to stay in bed after over an hour. As usual we went to check on him and we found him asleep in the middle of the floor with a book on his face! It was hard getting him back to bed without waking him but, between Oli and I, we just about managed it.
This week has been a bit of a learning curve and a struggle at times but I am glad we have stuck with it and not gone back to using the cot. Just like it took time for Leo to adjust from being in the moses basket to the cot, I know this transition is going to take a while for us all to get used to. Although I am not loving the struggle in the evenings, I am quite enjoying staying in bed until 9, as Leo just gets himself up and starts playing with his toys in the morning. Now all I need is for him to learn how to change his own nappy and get himself breakfast and I won’t have to get up for hours!
How old was your little one when they moved into a bed? How did you all find the transition? Please let me know any tips you have on encouraging your toddler to stay in bed at night time, I would love some advice.