How to get a toddler to sleep in her bed

I actually don’t know how to get a toddler to sleep in her own bed.  If I knew the answer, I think I’d be rich.

You see, Little C has been my “grown up” in regards to a lot of things.  She’s better at telling me what she wants.  She potty trained way faster than her sister (sissy is still in diapers).  But there there are the ways Little G is more grown up.  Little G is better at playing by herself.  She will also get in bed and sleep without much prodding.  Every so often she gets up, we put her back and she goes down right after.

Little C, however, is not the same.

We had to switch to toddler beds because Little C was climbing out of her bed.  Honestly, I was worried about Little G not transitioning well to the new bed set up because she does NOT do well with change.  But she did great.  The very first night, she was sleeping happily in her bed.

Little C did ok at first.  She was waking up earlier and coming downstairs, but she was sleeping in her bed.  A week ago that all changed.

Little C started refusing to sleep in her bed.  She asked to sleep on the floor.  So we put her on the floor and covered her in her blankets.  It took longer to get her down and, quite frankly, I thought it had to be an uncomfortable way to sleep, but she would eventually go to sleep.  Most nights I would be awakened by her at 2:30 or 3:30 in the morning and she would ask to get in our bed.  Some nights I would take her back upstairs, but some nights I just let her get in bed because I was exhausted.

The past three nights have been even worse.

We will put her in bed and she will fight.  We will make her bed on the floor and she will freak out.  We spend hours – literally HOURS – trying to get her to sleep but nothing works.

On Sunday night, she told her daddy that she was scared in her room.  So her daddy put a night light in the room.  And she slept.  She didn’t get in bed until after 10 but she slept.

Last night we started trying to put the girls in bed at 8.  During our pre-bedtime routine, Little C told me she was scared of dinosaurs getting her and of other people being in the house.  There weren’t other people at our house and, well, we don’t generally keep dinosaurs around.  I told her that her daddy and I would take care of all the dinosaurs and gave her a “special” blanket that, as long as she had it, no dinosaur could see her.

Little G fussed a couple times but she did get in bed and go to sleep by 8:30.  Little C, however, kept getting up.  Once, I got her to lay down and thought that was it.  She was upstairs, in her room, for almost 20 minutes.  But then she started screaming.  She ran downstairs and screamed and cried.  So much, in fact, she was hyperventilating.

So what do you do?  Do you let your child hyperventilate herself into exhaustion?  Maybe until she passes out?  Do you let her wake up the entire house?

I can’t.  So I picked her up and tried talking to her.  But she was inconsolable.  So my husband tried.  We took turns taking her upstairs and laying her down.

This went on for over three hours.  Finally, I went to take a shower, leaving her with her daddy for a few minutes.  Thinking maybe if I wasn’t in the room she’d go to bed because she kept telling me she “HAD” to sleep with me.    When I came out of the shower, my husband had gotten Little C’s pillow and special dinosaur protected blanket and put her in our bed.  She fell asleep sometime between 11:30 and midnight.

Her sleep is not good for me if we are in the same bed though.  I was kicked, shoved, laid on..everything you can imagine, ALL night long.  I think I slept 3 hours.  I think in the past week, that’s probably the most sleep I’ve gotten.

Google tells me to continue putting her back in her bed.  To talk to her about our bedtime expectations.  To listen to her fears and try to make them better.  To give her a night light.

I’ve done it all.

Now I don’t know what to do.  I’m open to advice that works.



One thought on “How to get a toddler to sleep in her bed

  1. Pingback: Toddler Nightmares | My Life with Identical Twins

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