Moving Rooms and Sleep Habits

Last year when we moved into this house, our kids finally had their own room. From the beginning I had them sleep there to get them used to it, and even though it was rough at first, they got to where they were staying in their beds all night.
Then the summer came. Here in Chennai it is impossible to be comfortable in summer without air conditioning. We can’t afford to air condition the entire house, only the bedrooms, and with only one air conditioner, we put it in our room, since the ceiling fan has problems with the speed (I know, gotta get it fixed). The kids’ fan works great so they stayed there until it just got too hot, and then at night we put a mattress in our room for them.
Now, fast forward 4 months. Even though nights have gotten cooler with the arrival of monsoon, the kids were still in our room, and our bed. Both Logan and Lila were waking up way more often than is normal for a kid. Since our fan isn’t so good, it doesn’t circulate the air so well and they weren’t cool enough on the floor, so would move into our bed to feel the air conditioner. At times I found myself with only a sliver of space to sleep on. It was getting to be too much.
So this week I decided it was high time they got back into their own room and beds. I wanted a smooth transition, so the previous night I told them it was their last night in our room and then they would be back to sleeping in their room. They were less than happy about the idea, especially Logan. He slept with us from birth until his first birthday, then as often as he could in between. He only stayed in his bed when he couldn’t get out on his own. And Glad doesn’t care if he is there, so getting Logan out was not going to be easy.
I decided we would use a chart to help with the change. They would get a sticker for every morning when they woke up in their own bed and after 5 stickers they could get a small treat, then after 30 something bigger, like a new storybook. I decided they just had to wake up in their own bed instead of sleep there all night in order to get a sticker to make the possibility of gaining stickers easier for them, since they were both so accustomed to coming into our bed, sometimes numerous times in the night. Lila was so excited about the chart and watched eagerly as I put it on the fridge ready to use the next morning.
That evening all was ok until Lila realised I was serious. She fussed some, but then settled to sleep when I assured her the door would be open and the bathroom light left on.
It has been 4 days now and the results are different than what I had expected. From the first night, Logan came into our bed every night at least twice. Each time I moved him once he was asleep, and the first two nights he managed to wake up in his bed, thereby earning a sticker. But the past two night he has stayed in our bed dispite my best efforts to keep him out. So he has only gotten 2 stickers.
Lila surprised me by not only staying in her bed all night, but also by sleeping through the night, something she has not done in months. Out of 4 nights, she has only woken twice when Logan was fussing about having to go to his bed, but she never tried to get up. She just has some water and goes right back to sleep. I didn’t think it would be so easy for her. So she has 4 stickers and is eagerly waiting for her promised treat tomorrow.
One thing I have been careful to not do is compare one with the other. It would be easy to say to Logan: “Look at your sister and how well she is doing.” Or, “Lila will get a treat and you won’t.” This kind of talk would only serve to make Logan feel bad and possibly fight with Lila more than he already does. All I do in the morning is, if they woke up in their bed, I make a fuss over it and have them pick a sticker to put on the chart (and I date it for my reference). I haven’t mentioned to Logan that he has fewer stickers and that he needs to improve. I think he will make that decision when he sees Lila get a treat.
Or maybe he won’t. I feel this change will take longer for him. He likes to feel someone there when he wakes up, and he tends to wake up a lot. I can’t remember the last time he slept through the night, and that is what needs to happen. Sometimes when I move him back he wakes up and I have to reassure him that he will be ok in his bed. He usually goes back to sleep, but sometimes waits for me to go and then creeps back into our room. He is so in the habit of waking up in the night that I don’t know what to do to break it.
If anyone has any tips on getting children to change this type of habit, waking in the night instead of sleeping through, I’d be so happy to have them.

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3 Comments

  1. Does he have a lovey or a "protector?" That's what I gave my 3 yo when she was coming into our room too much. I told her she was supposed to cuddle with THAT instead of me. Plus I had to be hard core about taking her back to her room the moment she arrived. It's hard, and took awhile. How hot is it in the summer, typically?

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  2. He had one, but lost it by throwing it over the balcony and I only found out 2 days later, and by then it was gone. Maybe I need to find him a new one.I think the hardest part is that he wants to snuggle with daddy and Glad is ok with that. He won't send Logan back and that makes it harder.Summer in Chennai? Typically upward of 40 deg.C. Temperatures also fluctuate by as much as 10 deg. daily. Right now the high will be in the 30's and the low in the 20's. Just today the high was 33 deg. and the low now at night is 26.

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  3. They have those turtle constellation night lights or we got my kids "moon in my room." That helped us…a little. Good luck! My girls still both like to randomly sneak into our bed. I just hope they grow out of it by adulthood. 🙂

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