We turned Paige's crib into a toddler bed the first part of November. It went extremely well.
She never got out of bed early. She would lay in bed even if she was awake and wait for us to come get her. After almost 2 months of being in the toddler bed, she started getting out of bed in the morning and knocking on the door. But she was still sleeping till at least 7:30 in the morning, which is her normal wake up time. I was waking her up every morning at 7:45, because she would sleep till 8:30 some days.
The first part of January, 2 months after being in the toddler bed, we switched to a big girl bed.
For about 3 weeks, she did perfectly! She stayed in bed almost every morning and naptime until we came to get her. We didn't ever teach her this, she just naturally did it. Looking back, I realize we could've done more training so she understood she needed to stay in bed until we came in to get her.
A little over a week ago, Paige started getting up during naptime and laying by her bedroom door. She also started doing it in the mornings. After a few days of that, she started getting out of bed earlier each day, at about 6 am. She also started getting out of bed less than halfway into naptime.
We tried EVERYTHING to get her to go back to bed in the mornings and for naptime. It was getting to where she was barely napping 20-30 minutes, instead of her normal 1 1/2 hours, and waking up so exhausted. No matter what we did, Paige continued to get up earlier each day and almost not even napping.
We were both tired and losing our patience with trying to get her to stay in bed. And let me tell you, there is a HUGE behavioral difference between a well rested child and an exhausted one. She was having multiple meltdowns a day, throwing fits, disobeying almost everything we said and crying a lot.
Daniel and I talked about it, and I was feeling so stressed knowing Joshua was going to be here in 2 weeks-then I would be extra sleep deprived and dealing with a toddler who wouldn't stay in bed and was constantly tired.
Yesterday we put her in the pack and play in her room.
I had to wake her up at 7:45 this morning, and she took a 2 hour nap today. She hasn't slept that long in several days (since the whole getting out of bed thing started). Today is the second night for her to be back in the pack and play, and I could tell a huge difference in her already. She was so much more agreeable and happier.
I remember reading in Babywise when we first had Paige, that you can tell a difference in behavior between a tired child and one who is getting adequate sleep. After the last several days of seeing my daughter constantly exhausted, I wholeheartedly agree.
The whole situation reminds me of when we tried to potty train a few months ago....we gave it a few days and tried to make it work, but in the end she just wasn't ready. We could have kept going until she got it and make it forced, but it would not have been a good situation. I think the same applies here....once she realized she could get out of bed, she did. I'm not sure how long we will keep her in the pack and play/crib, but I have a feeling when she is a little older and we try the big bed again, she will do much better (I can only hope!!).
It's important to me to give Paige the rest she needs and for her to obey our words-when that is really the only thing that will keep her in bed.
The past several days have been so hard. I was so stressed and felt so clueless and helpless about what to do. Last night, I went to bed feeling so much more relaxed, knowing Paige would be in bed and be able to sleep. I know I can't force her to sleep, but anything I can do to help is worth it!
It did feel like we were backtracking a little bit or that we had made the wrong decision about putting her in a big girl bed. But I do feel this is the best decision for all of us........so we will Live and Learn!