2 1/2 YO with Sleep Issues — The Bump

2 1/2 YO with Sleep Issues

My DS1 is 2 1/2 and we transferred him from his crib to his big boy bed (queen bed) about a month ago because he finally started jumping out of the crib. Since this transition he has stopped sleeping through the night and is up AT LEAST 3 times a night. He will not go to sleep unless you lay down with him. He is able to open his bedroom door so we installed an extra tall baby gate in his doorway so that he can't roam around the house in the middle of the night unattended. We had woken up several nights around 3 and 4 AM to him laying in bed with us, or playing in the living room in the pitch black, which prompted the baby gate installation. Since he has been in his big boy bed he wakes up screaming in terror and cannot put himself back to sleep without myself or my husband getting up and laying in his bed with him. We have a very strict nighttime schedule and he is in bed every night at 7:30. We follow the Bath, Milk, Book, Bed routine religiously and have not wavered from it in almost 2 years. We have tried the CIO method, checking on him in intervals of 5 minutes, allowing him to attempt to self soothe before we go reassure him everything is fine... nothing is working. He just stands at the baby gate screaming so loud that he is losing his voice. No one is getting any sleep including our 3 month old son and it seems to be getting worse each night. For the sake of our marriage my husband and I both refuse to sleep in his room with him, even though it would mean more and better sleep for everyone. We don't want it to turn into a bad habit. Help, what can we do to help him stay asleep at night? Its beginning to affect his attitude and his behavior at daycare... Any and all advice is welcome! TIA!!! 

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 7/16/2014 @ 7 Weeks 2 days
 2/01/2015 @ 4 Weeks 4 days


Re: 2 1/2 YO with Sleep Issues

  • I had this issue with DD when she was 3. She used to sleep with us in our room in her own bed when we lived with the inlaws. So when we moved she had a hard time sleeping alone in her room. The bed wasn't a problem but being in the room alone was. I would lay her down & put a movie on so that she wouldn't be in the pitch dark & fall asleep while the movie was on. Well that failed. After the movie was over she would start crying or walk over to my room scared. So instead of shoving her back into her room we let her lay with us until she fell asleep (5-15minutes)& took her to her room. It took us, i swear 3 months before she was okay sleeping on her own! We let her do this so that when she woke up in the morning in her room she could see that it was okay to sleep in her room. Sometimes i would lay in her bed with her until she fell asleep & then i would go to my room. Trust me im like you. I wasnt a fan of her sleeping with us for the same reasons. & i didnt want to create a bad habbit either, but letting her fall asleep & taking her to her room helped A LOT. Yes it took 3 months & trust me it wasnt convenient all the time. but it was a huge transition for her the same way it is for your son. Maybe now the bed just feels too big for him. My daughter(now 5)loves being surrounded by her stuffed animals it makes her feel safe. & my twins(8months) love to sleep with a blanket against their backs or hugging it.

     Other than just laying with him until he falls asleep & letting him fall asleep with you i have no other advice. This worked for us. Cant guarantee it will work for you. I hope you figure something out! 

    Keep me posted on how he's doing okay. Good luck!
  • My son is 16 months old so my advice may not apply but I'll toss in my 2 cents anyway.

    I heard the easiest way to transition to a "big boy" bed is to take down the front railings of the crib and let him adjust to sleeping unconfined.  That or get him a twin mattress.  I think the queen sized bed may be too big for him and maybe he doesn't feel safe, which is why he's crying for you.  Seeing the bars may have been comforting previously and since this is a big change for a little guy that may just be too much.

    After my kid gets used to sleeping without bars I'm going to get him one of those awesome beds I always wanted as a kid myself (like a pirate ship or a car, whatever he's into when he's 2.5-3 years old).  My hope is by making it fun maybe he'll want to stay in his room and not come into mine.

    Disclaimer: I may be a bad source of advice because my 16 month old sleeps with my spouse and I :( so we kind of fail in the sleep department but I'm a softy and don't mind sleeping with the boy most nights.  We all sleep better this way anyway.  I mean, he's not going to want to sleep with us forever.  Babies eventually grow up!

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  • Do you think you or DH could sleep with him in his room temporarily, as a transition?  Give him some time to adjust to the new bed with the added comfort of a parent.

    I also agree that a queen is awfully large for a 2 year old.  I like the idea of letting him pick out a fun, child-size or twin bed.  Or just let him pick out a fun blanket/sheet set, and/or some stuffed animals or pillows, get him involved and excited about his new bed.

  • We transitioned our 3 year old - now 4- from crib to Queen.  We put a pillow under the mattress sheet on both sides so she's kind of hugged in the middle.  Also, she is upstairs by herself in our house while our room is on the first floor.   Needless to say, the transition did not go wellol once she realized she's upstairs on her own.  Our pediatrician said that around 3, kids imagination opens to a whole new world and they can imagine things they are afraid of at that point.  We are ready strick about bedtime, typically at 7, and try not to waver because our daughter cannot fall asleep by herself.  We have to stay up there till she is asleep, and then leave the room.  Once asleep, she rarely comes down.  Once she does, we typically let her because she needs something, clearly, and we may not know what it is.   She won't be going to college sleeping on my floor, so I'm pretty good with it.   We are about to have baby 2 and I hope having someone else upstairs will keep her up there from now on.  I feel like, our kids need from us things we may not understand, and while it sucks they aren't doing what we want, we need to learn from them too what makes them feel safe and comfortable when they don't have the words to let us know.  I know it's frustrating, but it won't be forever.
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