My two year old has recently transitioned from cot to toddler bed. This transition has not gone smoothly at all. My once great sleeper now doesn’t stay in bed and walks into our room in the middle of the night. She mentions `monsters’’ and says she scared. How can I help my daughter find comfort and security in her big bed.
Transitioning from a cot to a toddler bed doesn’t always go smoothly. Usually a toddler soon figures out their ‘freedom’ to come out of their bed whether it is at the beginning of the night or during the night.
The first step to help your toddler is to work out if you think the ‘monster and being scared’ is real anxiety or an excuse to come out during the night as she knows that it makes you worry. If she is genuinely scared then look at her bed, if its a toddler bed then that is less intimidating than a single bed. There are options to help her – consider putting her mattress on the floor if she is worried about monster under her bed, make up a special ‘monster spray’ of water and scent and spray around her room at the same time talking to her about maybe she had a bad dream one night, got a fright then became scared and now her head can’t let it go. (this helps with anxiety) Put some lovely little fairy lights in her room turn them on at bedtime for her to go to sleep. I would also try some relaxation stories my favourite is ‘dinosnores’ they have a selection for different ages and different stories.
For the middle of the night wake up, take her back to her bed, because if she sleeps with you then this reinforces the anxiety in her mind with her bed/room. Put on her relaxing story and turn on a little night light for her. Just be careful with the night light as you do not want one that is plugged into the wall all night as then she will never want to turn it off, have one that is on a timer and turns off after a set time ie. 15 mins. My favourite night light is the BabyZoo night light which is battery operated instead of in the wall and can be put in bed or beside their bed and all your toddler needs to do is to tap on its shell (its a turtle) and it will turn on and then off for the time you have set. She can turn on the night light when she wakes scared, cuddle her comforter and go back to sleep. (Both the Dinosnores and the BabyZoo night light are available from my online shop on the babysmiles website).
Another quick check would be where the idea of ‘monsters’ came from – in my experience with toddlers and children it is usually seen on a tv show, DVD or read in a book either at home or daycare that has given them a fright and may have co-incided with her move to a bed. Find out the cause and get rid of that book, show or DVD. Children do not need to watch such content as it might be fine by day but very scary by night. Ask for some help from a professional if this continues as it can certainly be solved for your daughter.