The Wanderer: How to get your toddler to sleep in her own bed

Do you wake up to a buzzsaw next to your ear?  How about a loud crash from down the hall jarring you from a deep sleep?  Or maybe you can't even get into your REM cycle because of the constant pitter-patter of a little someone walking to your room? Enter little someone.

Since January, our lives have been turned upside down.  That's when we went to Disney for the new year, and now bed time has been STRESS time for mom and dad.  The problem is Lil Tank.  You see, even though we brought her pack 'n' play with us to Orlando, she slept in a big hotel bed… with her sister and also by herself... and LOVED it.

But when we got back home, she no longer wanted to sleep in her crib.  This became very evident, when one night after she was placed in her crib, she came toddling out to the living room.  She climbed out... on her own.  The next day, the crib magically turned into a toddler bed. She seemed very excited about it… and we thought that meant she would sleep soundly in it just like her crib.

Boy, were we wrong! That evening Lil Tank again made an appearance in the living room and has done so ever since. 

We tried putting up a baby gate to keep her from getting out, but after scaling the wall of her crib and free-falling to the floor, the gate must have seemed easy. So she wanders every night into the living room… leading us to temporarily change her nickname from Lil Tank to The Wanderer. The routine goes: play quietly. Get tired. Climb onto the couch. Grab a pillow, sometimes a blanket. Fall asleep.

On other nights when we're already asleep in our room, Lil Tank goes on a reconnaissance mission and finds her way into our bed. But one night, she didn't even make it to our room. 

Most of the time she wiggles her way in between us and occasionally winds up on Aileen's side of the bed.  Some nights we have no idea she is there until she wakes us up early in the morning to go to the bathroom.  On those rare instances when she sleeps on the edge, we awake to the thud of her little body hitting the floor after she rolls over just a wee bit too far.

A special treat when the girls don't have school - a sleepover! It's fun to watch them snoozing side-by-side.

But some nights… some RARE nights... she will actually fall asleep in her own bed… and stay there ALL NIGHT!  Miracle. This has been happening more frequently thanks to the bribe of Easter candy.  But we tried just about everything - new pillow, new sheets, butterfly garland to hang around her window, mommy & daddy sleeping on the floor next to her.  Nothing else has worked.  So if candy works for potty training as you read here, hopefully it'll work for night training.  Wish us luck.

What about you?  Do you have a wanderer?  What recommendations do you have to keep your toddlers sleeping in their own bed? We would love to hear them and try them with our little one.

Remember at the top of the post when we mentioned buzzsaw? Take a listen. It's too cute!


Newsy Parents

Passionate parents (mom & dad bloggers) with a nose for fashion (women's petite, children), food & fun (travel). We are former & current television journalists who met in the business, got married and now have two multi-cultural children.