Monday, January 14, 2008

Big-Boy Room - The Tent

We've had an interesting week battling Sam's determination to get out of bed and play on several fronts. Being the fearfully over-educated people we are, we first turned to books that promise everything from getting your child to sleep in bed in two nights without the use of duct tape to having your child make their own bed before they can even walk. Unfortunately, most of those tomes deal with toddlers who want to leave their room and see you multiple times a night. Sam is perfectly happy playing in his room with his stepstool (yes, his stepstool) much less his toys and books, so we don't have that problem. So we read many solutions, none of which applied to our specific situation.

We did come to the conclusion, however, that Sam needs help settling down at night. His grandfather often has to read late into the night to settle down enough to sleep and his mother routinely watches TV to help fall asleep, so it isn't that surprising Sam needs a little help. So last week we began reading several books, telling a few stories in the dark, singing to him, and then coming back to check on him multiple times to see if he was still in bed.

Most times he wasn't.

In fact, when I went to check on him, Sam would run and jump back in bed giggling the entire time. Most of those nights we tried to rock him to sleep, but that can take 45 minutes to an hour, something we don't relish doing for the next few months.

Last night, however, we hit on two items that when combined, proved to be the kryptonite to Sam's need to get out of bed. First up, was the bed tent:We figured out that Sam felt a little exposed in bed and the tent helped him feel a little safer. Also, because he already loved playing in his Christmas tent, it created a surefire draw to the bed. He wanted to sleep in the big boy room before, but the pack and play in the room was fine. Now he wants to sleep on the bed.

Saturday night, at the end of our rope with this round of sleep challenges, I picked up the free copy of Parenting magazine that had come. Sure enough, it featured sleep issues on the front. We read the article and adapted one of the suggested methods that hopefully will keep us from any more freak-outs over bedtime. We do our usual routine and then, as we leave the room, tell him that we'll be back to read him another story in two minute if he stays on the bed. We then progressively lengthen the time until he falls asleep. Last night worked perfectly. He got still and fell asleep on his own. Each night, now, we'll increase the amount of time before we go back in, helping him learn to settle in and go to sleep on his own.

We'll let you know how it all goes.


Andy Forbes said...

Wow, great story! I read it to Maria as she was doing some crafts, and she couldn't stop laughing.

We have no idea when we'll be transitioning Will into a big boy bed, but we're glad that ya'll have already blazed that trail and can offer us some good advice.

Fahmi said...

I second the above comment. We are really hesitating the switch ourselves, by saying that the kid is not ready. I think it's more that *we * aren't ready.

Andrew said...

We decided to go ahead and do the switch because TK is coming in early June and we wanted some time for Sam in the new room and new bed. And hopefully our experiences can help (which is why we post them) and give you some ideas. But as we've certainly discovered, there is not magic solution, just trial and error for what works for your kid.

But I will tell you that the tent is fabulous and if you want one, go to Target (Woolrich makes it) and buy it now because it has been discontinued and they are just selling out their stock.