Monday, January 5, 2009

Moving to the Big Boy Bed

TJ turned three years old recently and it marked a milestone to transition him to a big boy bed. Most of his friends have already moved out of their crib by now. Having heard our fair share of Jack-in-the-box night wakings that come with the territory, Hubby and I were definitely not in any rush to transition him over.

With the arrival of Baby #2 at our heels, we decided to move him into his big boy bed, to free up the crib for the newborn.

Before I moved TJ over, I wanted to make sure he was sleeping through the night, without any night wakings. You see, TJ had been sleeping through the night since he was 9 months old, without waking up for anything. That is, until he found out that a baby was on the way.

According to the sleep bible we've been successfully using since TJ was 4 months old, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby" written by Dr. Weissbluth, it says that the introduction of major changes like a sibling will often trigger night wakings.

It took about a month to cure him of night wakings. We started our transition by installing a night light with a timer, which turned on the light at 7am. We told him that he needs to sleep until the light turned on. And to not call for us once he gets in bed.

To motivate him to actually follow through, we offered him rewards, like toys and snacks. Although this works for some kids, this did not work for TJ. The sleep doctor said we have to find something he values to motivate him. TJ would "claim" to want a drink of water or go potty. Undeterred, we pressed onward to find the magic reward.

I'm sure some folks would raise an eyebrow or two at us for appearing to disregard TJ's claims. But, we were convinced TJ knew how to sleep through the night because he had done so for the past 2 years. Finally, our faith was rewarded. EUREKA! We hit pay dirt.

We told him that he could have a big boy bed, just like so-and-so, if he would sleep until the light turns on. TJ is super obsessed with Lightning McQueen, so I ordered some Lightning McQueen bedsheets. Then, we ordered the bed. When the bed arrived, along with bedsheets with his favorite car, TJ was literally begging us everyday to let him sleep in his big boy bed.

We knew we got him right where we wanted. And guess what? He slept through the night everyday for a week after that! No problem at all!

Now, what do you think happened the first night after he slept in his big boy bed? ... Talk about a cliff hanger... Another post for another day...

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