It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t all that hard either. It was however, Night One of sleep training my 2.5 year old toddler to put herself to sleep in her own bed.
Avery and I arrive home from Tempe around 6pm every night as such, it was agreed that, in order to give our family some much needed freedom and family time, the bedtime routine would begin at 8pm. By most standards this is late for a two year old. My two year old, however, is a night owl and a decent night time sleeper, so the 8pm start is a decision that works best for my family. Last night we ran errands, stopped by Target, ate dinner at Smash Burger and headed home with enough time to settle into our new routine. Bath time started at 8:15 with a standing suddsey wash followed by a tub filled with warm water and lavender oils (essential oils that support relaxation and sleep). The bath got chilly and Avery requested she get out as she was cold. The first change in our night time routine was putting her jammies on in her own bedroom. Success. I dried her and lotioned her and snuggled her into warm jammies. Next change in the routine, no TV, but we did select three books. Good nights were said and then Avery and I got to reading. We enjoyed Curious George, My First Book of Shapes & If I Could Keep You Little. We picked up her room and it was time to tuck in.
The real adventure was just beginning. Avery is currently scared of her own bedroom. At night when the wind blows her windows shake and I can understand why the noise is scarey for a two year old. Additionally, it is freezing in her room. Plus, she’s never been sent there to sleep all on her own. So, you see, when I said lay down… that is when the adventure really began. That is when fear and tears and anger and the “No’s” started. This is when my heart started to break a little and my resolve had to be high. I let her sit in her bed as her refusal to lay was apparent and I was not going to force and fear my Doodle into sleeping in her own bed. I kissed her forehead, walked out the door and shut it behind me. The first cry was sad, the lights were flicked on and she opened her door. This routine occurred 3 times. On my fourth tuck in, my fourth departure terror was in her voice and I headed down the stairs in tears. A moment of rescue occurred and the Doodle was in her own room, in her own bed, still awake, but fading. There was still one more full blown tear fest left in her and my last visit to her room was complete. During this visit I promised her that I would stay just outside her door until she was fully asleep. That and the exhaustion from 40 minutes of tears and fears and she was out. She did wake once in the middle of the night, but easily crawled back into her bed and faded to sleep with a light back rub.
This morning after my shower I heard her bedroom door close and a sniffle in the hallway. I ran out to greet her with joy and excitement in my voice. I told her how proud I was of her and that she was such a magical kid for falling asleep and waking in her own bed. Excitement, joy and love… Before leaving we selected two glittery star stickers and added them to her sleep chart. Night one complete…