Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How I Solved my Toddler's Insomnia

I am not really sure why my son started to have sleep problems. Could have been his brain didn't know how to shut off, or his new trick of climbing out of the crib was just a little too fun to pass up. Whatever the reason, bedtime is now a breeze again and we are feeling a little bit more sane in that department.

The problem:
McKay (2 years old) learned how to climb out his crib. He started to climb out the second we would leave the room and even started helping his twin brother get out. He would jump on the bed, laugh, and wreak havoc for about 3-4 hours until he would fall asleep with one of us sitting in a chair at his bedside policing him so he would not get out. Bedtime would start at 8 PM and he would be asleep at midnight. Then he would wake up at 2 AM and stay awake until 5 AM. Now, as you could imagine, we were going insane. With after bedtime being Sean's only time to study while I am working nights, this was not working out for us at all!

The solution:
I asked the pediatrician what in the world we should do. She made some suggestions and this is what I put together: That night I moved Brody (his twin brother who is a champion sleeper) in to our oldest daughter's room with his crib. Then I took McKay's crib down and put together a toddler bed. I child proofed the entire room and removed all toys. Lastly, I put a child proof doorknob cover on the inside of the door. I put him to bed that night and said, calmly, "McKay, if you stay in your bed, I will leave the door open but if you get out of bed, I will have to close the door to remind you to stay in your bed at bedtime. Love you" I left the room and McKay was right out of bed. "Sorry McKay, looks like we'll have to close the door to help you remember it's bedtime." I shut the door and he started screaming. I let him cry for about 5 minutes and opened the door again. "Would you like to try it again? Stay in bed and I will leave the door open." Again he came out and I shut the door again. He cried and soon fell asleep by the door of his room with his little hand under the door in a perfect fan. I felt really horrible but the pediatrician had assured me that some children need this boundary or their body literally can't shut off. The next night was like a miracle! I told McKay 3 times when I put him to bed what the deal was "If you stay in bed I will leave the door open but if you get up, I will have to close the door." He apparently understood because he didn't get out of bed once! Since this time (about 3 weeks ago) he has been going to bed like a champ. Sometimes he comes out and stands in the hallway until I come get him and shut the door. Seems like, some nights he wants the door closed to help him calm down. It's been awesome.


Rosalie said...

WOW! Thank you for the idea! Jackson isn't quite to that stage yet, but I fear it will be soon. I am sure glad you guys got something worked out! Sure love these cuties!

miriam said...

I LOVE this picture. It's amazing.