I am a sleep consultant that is pro dummy. Very. Pro. Dummy. I truely believe that when it works for you and your child can “replug” as I like to call it – then it can be the best invention since sliced bread, possibly even better because lets face it sliced bread doesn’t help you sleep at night and the dummy does. BUT if you decide not to wean them off it as a baby then you need to wait until they understand they are getting rid of it. When you can negotiate it and do it on their terms.
So let me tell you Mikah’s Terms and Conditions.. She asked me for a Big Girl Bed and I told her that she could have a bed when she was ready to stop the dummy (which she called her Diddi and so thats how we are going to refer to it from now). I told her that blankies can go to the big girl bed but a diddi definately could not. So she thought about this for a few days and then woke up one day and told me she wanted her big girl bed and no more diddis. PANDAEMONIUM! So much to do…
But just before I got people into build the bed I just wanted to make sure she understood me and knew that also meant throwing away all her diddis. I asked her “If you want a big girl bed you then there’s no more diddis, ok?”. She nodded. I said “Mikah, we are going to throw them in the bin after your next nap time then?”I looked at her little face and it was hurt. She was offended and I realised very quickly why.. these dummys were her comfort for as long as she could remember, she had them in bed with her for every sleep and really loved them…who was I to throw them in the bin?!?!?
So then I gave her some options: (Feel free to steal any of these ideas for your own toddler) “Mikah would you like to take them to the little room at Kindy and give them to all the babies that might need them?’ “Nooooooo” was her answer. “Mikah would you like to put them in an envelope and post them to other children that don’t have such beautiful diddis”. “NO!” she said very quickly. “Mikah would you like to throw them in the ocean so the fishies can have diddis to help them sleep?” “Nooooo mummy thats silly, fishies don’t need diddis”. She laughed at me. I knew I had to get it now. I started worrying she was going to call the whole thing quits.
So I said “Mikah would you like to bury them in a hole in our garden so that we can grow a diddi tree?” “YESSSS mummy”she shouted so excitedly. “And Mikah would you like to have a party so that everyone can come and see what a big girl you are?” “YESSSSSSSSSS”.
So Mikah and I got to making invitations for the family to come over and see our Diddy Burial Ceremony. I felt that she needed to be a part of all of this. So we spent the morning talking about it (and me quickly trying to organise people to come and build the bed that had been in the box in my garage for weeks and then going and buying sheets and all bed paraphernalia). I knew that it all had to happen TODAY. She had decided that it was time and I had to respect that and support her on her first big life decision she had ever made.
In all the madness of getting everything organised I hadn’t stopped to realise what a big deal this was. Thank g-d my family is so supportive and came straight after work. It was time. Mikah came to me and said “Mummy I don’t want to be a big girl anymore. I want to be a baby”. I almost broke down in tears at this stage but kept it together for her. “Mikah mummy is so proud of you. Just so proud”. We then had the ceremony and let me warn you before you see these photos, they are graphic.
She stayed asleep all night and was so proud of herself the next morning. “I slept with no diddis mummy, I’m such a big girl”. So proud of my daughter that kicked the habit…
So I know you don’t read this just because you like to know about my kids, (except for you mum and dad…hiii!) you read this because you want to have learnt something. So what can I offer..? Well I’m going to share my answers to questions I’ve been asked about transitioning to a bed.
Q: My child loves the new freedom and keeps getting out of bed. What do I do?
A: From the get-go don’t stand for this. Give them a quick hug and return the child to bed. It may keep happening but persevere. Don’t talk to them, don’t reason, don’t explain, don’t get angry but make sure they know its not cute either. Do not make a game out of it. Keep it predictable and boring and they will tire of it pretty quickly.
Q: How do I know when my child is ready to transition from the cot to a bed?
A: Your child should be approximately 2.5 give or take a few months as this is the average age a child has the cognitive ability to understand the rule of staying in bed all night. Much earlier than this and you can’t expect them to stay in and not get out. They should be good sleepers and are sleeping through preferably. If they climb out of the cot you have to make the transition for their safety and lastly the best sign about being ready is that they want to do it.
Q: What kind of sheets are best?
A: I am actually asked this question and let me tell you, it doesn’t matter. Just let them be involved in choosing them. (and then be prepared for Dora or Ben Ten sheets).
Q: Ok I’m going to do it tonight…anything else I need to know?
A: Just make sure the room is safety proof now that they can get out. Make sure there is nothing that they can climb up or that can fall on them.
That’s it from me!
Good Luck and Sweet Dreams, Bec x