How to get a Toddler to Sleep – Thomas the Tank Engine Bed

We’ve all been there. Sleep deprivation; crying in the night, wanting to ‘sleep in Mummy and Daddy’s bed’, throwing things, climbing out of the cot or worse, throwing themselves out. Here I am at last, typing away on my new and amazingly snazzy HP Envy laptop (it’s a touch screen too) and is my new-found best tech friend. Thankfully my head is clear enough to actually get the words out but rewind a few weeks and it was a disaster…

Most parents have experienced it. Sleep deprivation doesn’t stop after the first few weeks, if you are lucky, it does get better or if you are me, it starts with an illness that breaks the sleep pattern through the night and continues month after month, through three holidays and runs into a sixth month of waking two or three times a night. This ended in throwing himself out of said cot followed by a stint in our bed to avoid future mishaps.

Very, very bad habits. Don’t copy me. Be strong. Let then cry, comfort but don’t move them until it’s time for their own bed, then stand your ground firmly but lovingly! I, on the other hand went for the settling in my bed until he fell asleep, moving into cot, then in the middle of the night upon his crying, bringing him back into our bed to toss and turn all night keeping us all awake. It’s weak and the easy option to get back into bed as soon as possible, but it drags out the agony. So, I repeat, DO NOT DO IT!

In my defence, I do want to mention that we have neighbours and the thought of letting him cry it out in the middle of the night also didn’t sit well because of them. Next time around though, to hell with them. It’s my life over a few noisy nights for them. It’s also a false economy for the parents. Moreover, I think that I made it a lot more difficult for him to sleep through on his own. So, reassure but don’t let them out of their cots whilst you still can and life should be much easier.

I’ve had to wait until the major milestone; a bed. The bed is needed when the cot no longer fits the bill. Jumping out of it being our cue. I see the bed as our saviour. Our cure to this madness; my life back. An end to my fuzzy-headedness, my lack of enthusiasm for anything, to bedtime at 8.30pm only to fall asleep at 11 and be woken at midnight.

Children become bribeable now, thank god. So, when we saw the most amazing looking Thomas the Tank Engine bed, I knew that it was my dash for freedom. There are a couple of models out there, one a lot simpler than the other. The one I wanted, however, had a cosy canopy and a real engine shape to it rather than just a bed with a picture of Thomas on. The design providing cocooning for extra cosiness and also means no falling out of bed. Also with two handy drawers in the front for extra storage. My problem was finding a stockist. Luckily, I found one in the guise of a shop that I would never have thought of – Littlewoods. Ordering was painless and delivery quick and easy.  So we ordered the bed and waited for sleep to come!

A good mattress is a must. For this I went to Mothercare. They have a fantastic selection. Once you have got your little one into bed he had to want to stay and a comfortable, breathable mattress and soft cotton bedlinen is key.

It isn’t a miraculous process. We did start a star chart and rewarded with a special toy at the end of each week. Here, I have to recommend two of my favourite brands for this age group. Both offering numerous advantages from a developmental point of view. Firstly, take a look at Orchard Toys-their board games teach all the skills that they are starting to learn in school but in a fun way at home, from how to count (Ladybirds) and recognise letters (Alphabet Lotto) to matching and memory games.

2-318-the-game-of-ladybirds-917-standardFor imagination, I love Hexbug – I can watch them for hours! They offer a huge selection of micro robotic creatures and a first introduction to robotics for kids. Each one fascinating in itself but them even more so when put in its maze or on a track. The Infinity Loop is very cool.

477-2908_infinityloopBack to bed- it has become his favourite place to play and touch wood, if he does wake up, he doesn’t get out! One month down the line my sanity has returned and we have our 7 til 7 boy back. Trauma over. (for now!)