Published Date: 06/26/19
Getting a toddler to go to bed is the worst. Okay, well it’s not the worst of the worst, but it certainly sucks. And when you have two of them, it feels like a never-ending parade of kids getting up to go to the bathroom, requesting a drink of water and asking for the toy they dropped on the floor over and over again.
Nobody warned me about this toddler bedtime ordeal. I just figured my kids would go to bed like they did in their cribs, it would just happen in a big kid bed. And I’m pretty lucky - my kids have a good sleep routine, which, in the past, has included falling asleep within 15 minutes of being put to bed. The little one was the best after she turned one, chatting for a few minutes before nodding off around 7:30 and not getting up until 6:30 or 7:00 the next morning.
My older daughter did really well with her big girl bed transition and stopped asking for water after I put her no-spill sippy cup in the corner of her bed. (Problem solved! Mom can just sit for awhile.) Even when she didn’t go to sleep right away, she just laid there waiting for the droopy eyelids. There were some nights here and there that got annoying when she would call to me every five minutes, but for the most part, she did pretty well.
When it came time for us to move, we had the option to transition our kids into bunkbeds in the same room or give them separate rooms again. Since I was planning on putting the little one in a big girl bed anyway, I thought bunk beds would be a great solution. Especially since the older one, who’s more of a rule follower, had been begging for bunk beds for more than six months. I knew she’d stay in her top bunk. The other one can be a wild card, but typically wants to do what her sister does, so we decided to embark on the bunk bed adventure.
Here’s what I didn’t take into account while doing this: kids aren’t big fans of change. Even when it’s something they ask for, dream about or beg to do. So, when we changed homes,
changed preschools, changed bedroom situations and moved the little one into a bunk bed from a crib… well, all hell broke loose those first few nights. It was like they’d never had to go to bed before. And I quickly started to lose my mind about it.
There was playing, screaming, two kids climbing into the top bunk to have tickle fights, too many toys in the bed, fights over what color the diffuser was going to be that night… the list
goes on and on. (If you’re imaging a circus right about now, then you’re on the right track.) Naturally, I thought it was a HUGE mistake.
After almost a week of this, I took some advice from my husband, who told me to just let them be. Lay down some ground rules, but let them find their way to sleep in the same room, in big girl beds. I always handle bedtime because he travels so much for work, it’s easier to keep a routine by making it a mom duty. At first I thought he was nuts. I also think he was super tired of pausing the show that we FINALLY got to watch after they went to bed, but that’s beside the point. Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. I was giving them the attention they were seeking and it wasn’t helping the situation at all. In fact, it was making me irritable and super frustrated.
So, I decided to try it. And little by little it started to work. Bedtime got a little easier and fewer requests were being made. Now, I’d love to report that three weeks into our new sleeping
situation, everyone lays down after brushing their teeth and quietly goes to bed. But let’s be real here. They are toddlers. That’s just not going to happen. The playing has subsided a fair amount. They’re starting to follow the rules a bit more these days. When they’re exhausted, they’re out within 10 minutes. And I even caught my big girl telling my little one a few “Once Upon A Time…” stories before they went to sleep one night. I’ll take that as a win and keep on keeping on. And maybe we can get through an entire show without one interruption sometime soon.
About the Author
Ashley Ruiz is a former television producer turned freelance writer, who stays home with her two little girls. The skills she learned in the unpredictable world of TV have benefitted her as a mother, helping her juggle the duties of motherhood. She also invented the Mommy Care Kit - a postpartum gift basket for new moms to help them get through the first few weeks after having a baby. Originally from colorful Colorado, Ashley lives with her family in Los Angeles, where they take advantage of the beach and beautiful weather as often as possible.
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