Friday, July 10, 2015

Toddler straight jacket

Little Magpie is a crib climber. I first learned this when she was 18 months old and I heard a crash from her crib, where I thought she was sleeping. Fortunately, she wasn't injured in that long ago fall. But I knew from that moment that she was no longer safe in the crib as things were.

I also knew that she was not the kind of child who would do well at that age in a toddler bed. My Magpie is the kind of child who would have quietly woken up and then gotten into all kinds of trouble if she were able to get out of bed.

So we had to think quickly about what to do, and we ended up deciding to introduce a sleep sack, which I hastily purchased that night. The sleep sack has now become an indispensable part of the nap and bedtime routine, and we have two different weights of sack, one for winter and one for summer. We now use the Grobag, which is a bit pricier than some of the other brands and comes from the U.K., but is really well-made and high quality. And they make a size that goes up to 36 months, that fits Magpie just fine.

It keeps Magpie warm, but it also keeps her contained. She is quite capable of toddling around in it but not able to get enough leg movement to climb, which is fantastic! We will soon hit the point where Magpie needs to be up in the night to use the potty, and I guess that is the point in which we will introduce a toddler bed. She's basically potty trained now during the day, so at some point it will be time to tackle nighttime as well.

Those of you with toddlers: when did you first introduce a toddler bed? any recommendations on how to go about it to make the transition as easy as possible?

I am aiming to get Magpie as close to age 3 as possible before introducing it but will also be mindful of not delaying her development regarding overnight toilet training.

For now, the situation works for us. We've put the sack right into the nightly routine...

Which looks something like this:
1. Dinner
2. Bath time
3. Pajamas and diaper on
4. Tooth brushing (more popular than ever before now that we use special "princess toothpaste")
5. Sack on
6. Reading in the rocking chair
7. Turn on the white noise
8. More rocking and storytelling ("Tell me about my day"!)
9. Magpie goes in the crib and mama sings (usually "Frere Jacques" and "You Are My Sunshine," at her request)

The days are long and demanding, and I am often exhausted by the end of them, but oh I will miss this stage later when she's more self-sufficient and doesn't need us so much.


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  1. I can't believe I never thought of the sleep sack as a crib climbing prevention method! Smacking my head right now! For beds, we waited until we were 100% sure of success (age 4 for my daughter, 4.5 for the boys). We put a side rail on and made sure there was a little potty nearby (we call it the chamber pot lol) in case there was an emergency pee situation. Not that we wouldn't come help them of course, but they actually seemed to prefer that independence (rarely needed). Childproof the room (as I'm sure you have) and then clear it of most toys and fill it with books. Add some fun sheets they can be super proud of. Secure all windows. Use a baby monitor with an intercom so you can occasionally remind them to "get back in bed." Accept that there will be some horsing around but if the room is safe and you adjust bedtime/nap to minimize that she'll be great. Even our 2 with ASD had very little trouble -- truly because we waited til we knew they were ready.

    Thanks for the add, by the way. :)

  2. I was worried too. My 2nd is particularly rambunctious and climbed out right about 2. But she surprisingly stays in her bed for the most part. She also goes to daycare where they go to cots for naps after age 1 so that probably helped. For that reason we also dropped the sleep sacks around 1.

    My older child due to size didn't climb out til 2y5m. She hadn't been to daycare at that point but she also stayed in her bed. Hopefully your fears will be unfounded as well. Seriously, I expected all sorts of all night shenanigans that never materialized.

  3. We too started using a sleep sack to help with climbing. It worked WONDERS and I couldn't help but think, "Why were we brainstorming so many other things?"

  4. Our timeline for swapping to a toddler bed was guided by potty training. I wanted to have her settled into sleeping in an open bed BEFORE we had to deal with nighttime bathroom trips.

    We removed all the bars from her bed around age 2, maybe a bit later; this did result in a number of evenings of having to put her back into bed when she climbed out, but for us, returning her to bed was never a big issue, it was just "Gwen, get back into bed", and tucking her back in. Also, she's a sound sleeper, so once she was out, she was out, we never had to worry about her waking up and getting in to trouble without our knowledge. The only real drawback was that she's show up outside our doorway (our bedroom had no door, it had a baby gate -- the only one in the house) and stand at the gate going "wake! wake!" much earlier than we'd prefer.

  5. We used the "straight jackets" for our kids too and they are great, especially when your child kicks their blankets off in the middle of winter (South Africa is not geared for cold weather even though it is freezing for bout 3 months a year) so we have cold houses.

  6. Both my kids were under two, like around 20 months I think. Neither ever climbed out, but I have a feeling Alice would have. For Elliot we just but a twin bed where his crib was and that was that. He never even tried to get out for six months or so. Once he did we just closed the door, which worked for a few months (of course all furniture was attached to the walls so he couldn't harm himself). Then we got him a toddler clock, which is like the. Best. Thing. Ever. He had to stay in his room until his clock turns green (8:02) and he does pretty well obeying it, even with getting up early to use the bathroom.

    For Alice, we just converted the crib to a toddler bed and put up a railing. Again, she never attempted to climb out until fairly recently. And at just over two she can open doors, but she too obeys the clock.

    Good luck making the transition. I'm sure she'll do great with it.

  7. This is the one we have.

  8. UGH. I would give ANYTHING to have my 3.5 year old back in her crib :) Sleep has never been quite as good as it used to be in the crib. So I don't have much advice besides don't rush it lol.

  9. That's so cool! I'm sending the info to anyone I know who has a baby/toddler!
    One thing I wish someone had told me when I became a mom is how much energy it takes to get a toddler to bed!

  10. 2.5 for my first child and 2 for my second. Both would come out a million times once they realized they could. Which, funny enough, took about 2-3 weeks. hahahah

  11. Both of my older girls were between 18 months and 2 years when we put them in a toddler bed; we're probably going to be closer to the 2 year mark with our youngest girl. .

    How is your sister doing? Only about one more month for her, right? Is Magpie excited about being a cousin? (I realize that she already has lots of boy cousins on Will's side) Hoping that you are doing well on the dreaded depot Lupron!

  12. Our girl is doing well in a bed for the last two months. We started around 20 months. She doesn't really seem to care either way, but the bed is easier for me; basically we moved, and she has her own room, so even if she got up there's not much she could get into trouble with. With a new room we got a new bed, and the old queen went into her room so I could still snuggle her to sleep at night, also serve as a guest bed in a pinch (thinking we could just move her crib). However, I hated lifting her in and out of the crib, mostly leaning on the rail, so I started just leaving her in the bed. And she is fine! I think she fell out one or two times, but the floor's carpeted and like a foot off the ground. No injuries; now I put a pillow when I leave as a barrier to the edge of the bed, no more falls. She goes to bed around 10pm and is still in bed when we go to wake her up at 8 or 9 am.


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