A discussion on sleep training in the Toddler years and best care practices in achieving best sleep hygiene for the ENTIRE family. Join me as we introduce the tips and tricks of Columbine Sleep Solutions and Parenting Practice Colorado – practices that teach parents the skills for successful sleep training and behavior modification.
Hi, welcome back. I am here with Paige and Lindsey of parenting practice of Colorado. We are definitely blessed to be together in this realm to talk about sleep training. These two ladies are a dynamic duo, both trained in the sleep sense methodology of helping us to have better sleep hygiene and getting us sleeping through the night.
My quest in finding this information is that we get so many questions about sleep coaching and specifically in the toddler years. Welcome both Paige and Lindsay. Thank you for joining me today. I appreciate you having. Thank you for having us, both of them, not only having their own little people at home, that they are actively coaching and molding, but also have helped many, many families, especially in the sleep environment, getting to sleep and getting to sleep efficiently.
Today. I really wanted to talk about sleep coaching in the toddler years, specifically talking about transitioning to a big girl or big boy bed. Coming into your parents’ room at night, as well as how do I get this toddler to sleep if I have other siblings in my world. Let’s jump right in. I would love to hear you guys’ thoughts and tips or tricks about transitioning when kids are going to a bigger bed and out of the crib.
Yes. First and foremost, when it comes to toddler sleep, I like to shine a light on the fact that if a toddler wasn’t sleeping well, when they were an infant, there’s a really good chance that when you get to the toddler years are going to have some struggles as well. And you might have probably see even bigger struggles when you went to make a change, like moving from a crib to a bed. For example that particular process of moving to the bed is a process that I particularly like to say try to attempt doing further out than you would think. Oftentimes parents will think that, oh, my child is two years old now, so they need to go to a big bed or my child is jumping out of their crib. So they need to go to a big bed. My stance on transitioning to a big bed first is to try to wait as long as you can. I always joke that I’ll keep my kids in their crib forever if possible. Now, of course that’s not a safe thing to do. But there is really oftentimes no big reason to move, to a big kid bed.
When it does become time though, which often times happens between that three and four year mark, there’s a few things that you can do to help with the transition. First it’s verbalizing to your. What is coming in the process. Setting them up and setting expectations for that transition.
Once you decide to make that transition as well, I often suggest making the move into not a toddler bed. Okay. Most of the cribs that we have can transition into a toddler bed. Now, if we do that, oftentimes that space is going to feel so similar to that child. There’s not much change occurring there. And so if we’re going to set big expectations around this move to a big kid, that we might as well move them into a twin or a double or a queen, I think that helps to solidify in their head that this change is coming.
The next thing with that move, it’s making sure that we are setting the boundaries around that sleep experience. They’re going to most likely be easily able to get out of the bed now, which in the crib that was hard to do. Some kids of course can learn to jump out or climb out, but overall they are contained now that is not going to be the case as much. It’s very important to let them know what is expected when they moved to that bed. Making sure that they stay in their bed all night long, unless there’s an emergency or something of that nature. And a good way to reinforce that is with something like an okay to wake clock. You need to stay in your big kid bed until the light turns green at whatever time in the world. It’s all about making sure they’re aware that the change is coming, making it a big to do even a potential celebration when that comes and then very clearly explaining to them your expectations around staying in the bed, staying in their room.
If that isn’t happening following through with some type of boundaries holding them to, those boundaries that you’re setting. Once again, I’m a big fan of keeping kids in their crib as long as possible. But when you do making that transition, setting expectations, holding your boundaries and ensuring that they know that the change is coming. Paige, what other thoughts do you have on the transition
That was awesome. I think that the preparation week, so the week before you actually intend for your child to sleep in a new sleep space. Getting books about sleeping in a big bed and reading them, talking to them about why our bodies need sleep and explaining how they feel in those moments when they are showing you that they are tired. Oh, you’re fussing. I see that you’re tired. Oh, you’re saying your tummy hurts. Maybe you’re tired. It’s about time for bed and starting to give them a little bit of feedback about what’s going on in their own bodies and their environment. They can make those connections and be like, I don’t want to feel tired, so I should go to bed and stay in bed and it’s a safe space. This is where mommy and daddy or my parents are going to be. And I want to be here. Making that environment cozy and safe and age appropriate is also going to be a lot of work during those weeks.
A nursery where our children are contained in cribs is not as baby-proof as a toddler’s bedroom should be. Making sure to take that time so they can’t climb up on things that are going to fall or cord. Bathroom products or even battery operated toys in there. We want to make sure that stuff is all out or contained. That way we can rest easy knowing that they’re going to rest easy. I find the most success with kiddos when the prep work is really intentional and consistent and then they follow through.
I love that both of you kind of brought up my kids. Two years apart, basically all three of them. And I can remember so many people asking me are, well, are you buying or are you ready to kick that one out of the cribbing and get a new bed? I’m like, mm, no. At some point in time, I might’ve owned three cribs at the same time physically and my boys were very happy to be in their cribs. I find that if kids are really climbing out from a safety standpoint, I might be talking about transitioning to a big girl, big boy bed a little bit sooner, just from a safety standpoint , it’s safer to fall out of a single mattress bed, to the ground versus climbing up and over the crib.
That’s motivating in my coaching. As far as this might be a better time to maybe look at a bed because it might be safe, but I love that you bring up really a toddler room needs to be almost more safety proof than an infant’s room. If they get out and they’re reading or climbing and doing acrobats like my children always were. You do want to make sure that that environment is safe. You have bookshelves tethered to the wall that you don’t have any products or access to a bathroom that you might be looking at some ingestion issues. It is a really good point that you bring up that once you are also thinking about transitioning to that bed, that you’re also thinking is this environment out free roaming, is it safe? I love that both of you, brought that up and, we’re talking about that.
In moving to that next topic, once kids are in their big boy, big girl bed, we have this constant coming into mom and dad’s room. How do you guys suggest dealing with that?
I think that this goes to a little bit what I said before, but. Setting the expectation with your child of what you expect of them and holding them to that expectation. For children that we were working with in our program, if they do get out of their bed and they come to visit mom and dad, which happens frequently at that point in time, we’ll return the child to the room.
Reiterating. What, we expect of them in that situation. In some situations, if it continues to be a problem, then we may have to follow through with some type of potential consequence in relation to that. But I think once again, it’s children who are visiting their parents’ rooms are oftentimes confused on what they should be doing.
They’re not sure of what is expected of them. Mom and dad have acted differently every time that they have visited the room. Maybe they’re returned one time. Maybe the next time they’re welcomed in. I think that it’s all about. Keeping your boundaries, setting those and then consistently acting upon them and the consistency and approach when parenting, and even, especially in the sleep world that we’re in is just it’s key into success. If we are not reacting in that same way to our children, they become confused and therefore behaviors also become confused. I suggest that if your child is visiting you of course we want to make sure that they’re okay. But if we know that they are, then it’s just about returning them to the bed and setting once again, the expectation of what we need from them in that space.
Couldn’t agree more. I feel like consistency is key. I think I used that phrase more than people would like to hear, but I think if you send a mixed message, one time they’re welcomed into parents’ room or, one time they’re shuttled back. I think if you aren’t consistent on the plan, that’s where problems begin to happen.
If you’re consistently. Digging deep and walking that child back to their bedroom. I think that sending a constant message. As we’ve said before,, four to seven days to make or break a habit, I think if we’re consistent in doing that and knowing that you have that plan together that you’re setting yourself up for a much more successful scenario.
Yeah, I agree. A little bit deeper on that is if mom carries toddler back and give snuggles and kisses and lays in their bed for a moment and dad just walks as they follow behind, that’s even confusing as well. They’ve both agreed to walk the child back, but the process in getting back is different and that even alone can cause confusion and question and pushback from the child.
During that prep. If you’re not working with Lindsay or I, you should be talking to your partner and being very clear on the language you’re using and the exact process that you’re going to agree upon as a team. That way, this cleans up quickly and your child doesn’t have the opportunity to become confused success to parenting consistency. Using the same language giving the same cues really sends the same message and the child is not confused. When we call things something different or somebody has a different process, that can be really hard as adults. We don’t like a lot of variation. Think about that development of the toddler and how they’re going to respond to not having a consistent process.
Lastly, I wanted to touch base on what do you do when you’re having problems with siblings in that same sleep space. And you’re trying to get those toddler down to sleep. How do you address that when you have other kids in the mix?
Is this scenario, a baby and a toddler or a toddler and a child. It could be either because I think that that can happen where you have the toddler and you have a baby you’re trying to keep asleep, whatever, maintain that environment. It’s pretty common to have older siblings and you’re trying to now get the toddler sleeping and how do you manipulate that with both of those cases where you maybe have an older sibling and, or a younger sibling.
To help your kiddos room share, regardless of their age, you’re going to want to protect the child who sleeps well, we want to protect their sleep and that could look like maybe they’re older and we’re moving a younger sibling in. We’re going to pull that older child out with proper expectations and limits on how long they’re going to sleep in their new sleep space. So for the next three nights, you’re going to get to sleep in mommy’s room. In your own bed right here. And we’re going to work really hard on getting brother to sleep in his new bed and your room together.
Then when he gets it and he sleeps through the night, you’ll get to join him and you get to share your space. If it’s a baby moving in with the toddler and they’re both not sleeping well. Well, it doesn’t serve any of us to separate them. If the long-term goal is for them to sleep well together. You kind of have to bite the bullet and just know that you’re going to go into a few rough nights.
They’re going to wake each other. That should be expected regardless of age, but if we allow them the space to wait. Fuss and then assess what’s going on. They will go back to sleep. But if we rush in to protect the child who hasn’t woken up, you could potentially give them a new sleep prop, whether it’s feeding, rocking, holding, or laying with them to protect the child who sleeps well, instead of just letting them work it out, essentially with you offering support in 10 minutes, I call that the rush to rescue .
Let it marinate for a little bit, let it settle. You’re learning. They are learning, but give them that experience as my friend, Lindsay likes to say, give them that experience to be able to put themselves back to sleep. Yep. Yeah. And again, they are resilient and they will get used to each other sounds and noises and smells and all of that.
But if we rush in, you never allow that process to happen.
I agree. Lindsay, do you have anything to add on that? Just to go a little bit with what Paige said. There are some times where I work with a client and ask that the older child or the one that is sleeping well, even go to grandma and grandpa’s house for a few days or somebody else’s house while, they’re working with the toddler or the baby. I found that that can help, especially in the first couple of nights when it is difficult. Of course setting expectations with that child that might be with family members or a friend. But I have found that to be a bit helpful to in training a toddler specific.
I appreciate both of you joining me this evening, talking about getting our parents and everyone in our household. Sleeping. Again. Sleep is such an important part, not only for adults, but definitely as children for growth and development, but we’ve really hit home on some great topics as far as transitioning into a big girl or big boy bed coming into parents’ room at night and how we address trying to get all of our kids sleeping together at night in the same sleep space. I appreciate both of you and your input and insight. Your tips and tricks are definitely valuable.
If you found the information in this podcast this evening, helpful, you can click on the link below to get a download version of the notes of our discussion between Paige, Lindsay and I. Also, if you’re interested in working with me in coaching your family from first breaths to first steps, you can also contact me on FB two F s.com until next time 📍 be well.