Found a broken printable link? Check my Free Printables page. All the links there are redirected and fixed.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sleepy Critter - Reader Q & A

I have a question for all you readers this week.

My husband and I are firm believers in keeping children in a crib as long as possible. Not because we want to keep our children baby-ish and keep them from growing up, but because we want them to mature in their everyday obedience before we have to fight the "stay in bed" battle. We believe that a child's ability to obey in the little things on an everyday basis sets us all up for better success on the bigger things. I guess it falls into the category of setting them up to succeed rather than fail.

Cherith never learned to climb out of the crib. We moved her to a "big kid" bed somewhere around around her third birthday. Daryn learned to climb out of his crib on the older side of two. We moved him over to a bed at that point.

Ethan learned to climb out of the crib just a month after his second birthday. Now maybe if his personality were more... let's say, less confrontational... it wouldn't be a problem. But he's the most stubborn little guy. I'm pretty sure that he will be/is our most difficult child. Every tough stage in childhood will be even tougher with Ethan.

Now, I'm not bashing my own son. We love him to death. It is this very personality that makes him incredibly fun, hilarious, and just so lovable.

But this staying in bed thing.... I'm at a loss. He'll cooperate fairly well with Aaron, and only get out of bed a time or two. But when Aaron is at school, or during the day for nap time, he's out of bed hundreds of times. I've tried handling it the exact same way Aaron does, and I've tried many other ideas as they come to me. It's just getting worse, not better.

So my question for those who have been there before me... What have you tried that worked for you and your young 2 year old?


  1. Hey Brenda, I'm not sure if Laura would agree, but your Ethan sounds a little like my Noah. None of my boys have stayed in their cribs much longer (if any) than two years old. I think the obedience thing DOES start when they're little, and one of the first things is "stay in bed." For our boys, it started even before the crib-to-big-boy-bed phase, though. Whenever we've been at my Mom's house or Brian's family's house, the boys have had to learn to obey us and stay laying down on their blankets even though they could get up and walk around if they wanted to. I think that helps some. Now, with all three of the boys, it seems to help if I remind them when I'm tucking them in that they have to stay in bed unless they want to be punished. It also helps if I think ahead about all the things they're liable to come up with after I tuck them in and deal with them beforehand (drink of water, potty, stuffed animal, right blankets, etc). We still have times when one or the other of them will come wandering out with some excuse or story for why he can't sleep, but it's not too big of a deal. Brian is never at home at bedtime since he works second shift, so it's good thing. I am not the "heavy hand" at our house!!

    What I would like to know is how to get a very energetic 3-year old to sit still and pay attention long enough to learn something you're trying to teach him! Numbers are proving to be the death of me!

  2. Ah, yes... the never sit still child. :) My experience on that one is to stop trying to teach them formally. Teach them during play or story time.

    They have a couple years before they "need" kindergarten anyway. He probably is more of a hands on, integrated learner. Sit down on the floor with him and count the toys he's playing with. Sit down and color with him. Draw numbers on your paper, and show him. "Look. I drew a 10."

    Sit down learning may not be his way of learning, so at this young age, it may actaully be physically difficult to focus his brain. Yes, that needs to be worked on, but at age 3, he's got time.

    I'm going to email you some questions about staying in bed.

  3. My #2 is 30 mo., and since we're expecting #4 in April, we decided to free up our 2nd crib to get her used to it before I have to start waking up again. Plus, she's potty-trained during the day, so we thought it would be a good idea to not trap her in her crib with a diaper on- esp. if she woke up in the night having to go. We'll see how that part goes... She struggles with staying down for naps as well. I've found that it was time to move her nap back by a few hours. #1 never struggled with a nap right after lunch. She's just not ready yet. So moving it back to 2:00 has cut down on it tremendously. She'll still play some, but it's usually in bed, and she eventually drifts off. The bonus is that that's one fewer kids begging for my attention when I'm trying to make dinner, since she's still asleep. Hope you get everything figured out!

  4. When Ryan transitioned out of the crib, it took like a week of putting him back in bed- one night I did it 30 times. He was a little over 2 but had started climbing out of crib. He is EXtremely strong willed at that time he was worse. But he is like a different kid now. It stuck alot of discpline and teaching to get him here. some of it def was develpment and understanding of situations but He really wore me out when he was younger. What motivates him? would sticker chart help him?

  5. With one of my older boys, I made a little poster for his room with the 3 "Bedtime Rules". 1. Stay in bed. 2. Be still. 3. Go to sleep. We would say them together and count them off on our fingers. If he was successful in actually staying in bed, I'd give him a sticker on another paper and lots of praise. He loved to see the stickers adding up over time.

    It also helps if you wait just outside the door where he can't see you and catch him in the act of disobeying. Good luck!

  6. My oldest was the same. She was constantly getting out of bed and just laughed in our faces when we told her to stay in bed. At the time she slept with two stuffed animals and a blanket that she loved. I finally told her that if she was loud or got out of bed I would take one of them away. She tested me and went crazy when I followed through. I then warned her again. The first night was terrible and I ended up taking all her lovies. The next night I only had to take one and the third none. We had relapses once in a while but I never had to take all three again.

    With my second that didn't work - he brought his lovies with him to hand me when I caught him out of bed. With him, the threat of putting him back in the crib instead of his big boy bed is what works.

    Good luck!

  7. Thanks, all of you, for all your ideas. I have no good news to report yet. :P