Monday, February 10, 2014

Life with a Toddler: Bedtime Shennanigans

The saying that "Rome wasn't built in a day" can easily apply to raising toddlers. There are days I wish Jack would master something quickly (like not climbing out of his bed at bedtime) but then I remind myself that parenting is a process that takes time.

I'm sure it doesn't help that in the last 8 months (thanks to Daniel's job change) Jack has slept in a pack 'n play 90% of the time. Not to mention that those first 6 months were in a different room/house each week.

Around Christmas Jack discovered that he could climb out of his pack 'n play. I spent several nights sitting outside the door to his room returning him to bed until he fell asleep. He finally figured out he was going to have to stay in bed, but after a few weeks, he decided to push his luck again.

I recently attempted to take his paci away. I know parents that never started the paci, parents that took it away before age 1, those who took it at 18 months, at 2 years, at 3 years... everyone parents differently. Well, after a day and a half (for several reasons) we caved and decided to wait until we live in a permanent house again and he has transitioned to his big boy bed.

The point of this tangent about the paci is that it has now become somewhat of a bargaining chip. When Jack insists on hopping out of his bed, I threaten to take away the paci. I have taken it away on two separate occasions and it was enough to keep him in bed for at least a few nights. It's not a perfect system but we are figuring it out. As long as he has free will and the ability to climb out of bed, I think I will just have to continue to patiently work with him.

We are getting to the point where Jack is negotiating the bedtime routine more often. There are nights that our bedtime routine calls for "one more book" and "I need water" and request for a "new bi-per" or extra blankets.

For now, on the nights when he insists on climbing out of his pack 'n play, we will continue our little dance of me returning him to bed. I'm counting down the days until we are in our own house again and we can toddler proof his room, stick him in a big boy bed and, if necessary, put a baby gate up or lock his door...

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