J is 2 and a half (where did that time go) and we finally felt ready for him to move into a big boy bed. I had several reasons/excuses to keep him in his cot so long ranging from the room not being ‘J proofed’ enough to the fact J was happy and never made any attempts to get out so why rush.
Preparation was key. We made sure that plug sockets were covered by furniture as the fancy plug covering boxes don’t fit in ours (universal’, my backside!). We secured cables and stair gates. I also went through his toys and removed noisy toys and too many distraction toys. He now has books, his wooden playhouse, teepee and a few wooden toys and fluffies.
I also brought a new monitor (thanks to the awesome mum’s on Instagram for your suggestions). It is a video monitor. This way I can see if J is out of bed and if he’s ok. I don’t mind if he gets up to play in the morning but I want to be able to encourage him to stay in bed at night. The best bit is that the monitor has a 2 way system so I don’t even have to get out of bed to yell ‘get back to bed’.
I brought new vehicle bedding and created a little ‘road’ on the side of the cabinet. I thought that if J had things to look at whilst in bed then he would be less likely to get out and wander around.
We still use the Gro-Clock which I raved about before. Honestly, we couldn’t be without it. J has slept so well since having it and he doesn’t wake us up till 7am (rather than 5, 6 and 6.30 like he previous would). He knows that blue star means ‘”bed” and yellow sun means “get up”.
We also use a visual system with J. We find that if he knows what is going to happen then he is more ‘compliant’. He’s happier to go along with everything and so it makes bedtime less stressful. I will add that we’ve continued our toothbrushing routine and using a ‘toothbrush song’ from our previous blog entry. J is letting us brush his teeth so much better now.
So, we’ve now made it through 2 nights. Both have been successful. The first day we spent time playing in his bedroom and he had fun diving on and off the bed. That night he was eager to get in and drive his car on the little road. He was asleep within 10 minutes. He woke at 2am and had a hug, then at 6 as he couldn’t find his car. Once I gave it to him he rolled over. I then didn’t hear anything till 7am and he’s clock turned yellow. The second night he slept through till 6.50am and after 1 reminder to wait till the clock was yellow he then chilled out.
I don’t know whether it’s beginners luck or whether our established routine has helped. Either way I am just so proud of him and how amazingly fast he’s growing up.
So to summarise, here are my ‘things to think about’ based on our experience with J.
- Safety-removed anything unsafe, look in furniture wall attachments, plugsockets, wires/cables, toys that are a choking hazard.
- Stairgates-do you want them across bedroom door or just to stop access to certain rooms? (J’s are across the top of the stairs and the bathroom).
- Distractions-is there a lot of fun things they’d rather go play with than go to sleep?
- Routine-keep the general routine the same so the only change is the actual bed. Too many changes at once had cause anxiety. Don’t go OTT with talking about it before the night either. The more you go on, the more children can then think ‘hmmm this is something I need to worry about’.
- Be firm-choose how you’re going to deal with situations such as getting out of bed and stick to it! What is going to be acceptable and what’s not?
- Comforters-for J this is his Lamby teddy and having a vehicle. He also has a lullaby night light. These are his ‘constants’ so the only change was the sides being off the bed.
Anything else you think needs adding the list? X