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two cribs, one family bed, two biting brothers, and one big headache

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

oh, wise twin parents.... i need your compassionate ears and brilliant ideas. 


my boys are 2y 4mo, and yesterday they both learned (with glee) how to climb out of their cribs. i am in desperate need of help in the form of ideas, good thoughts, prayers, miracles, etc... lol


first, our setup: one bedroom with a king bed on floor plus two cribs. the boys nap and go to sleep in their cribs, and then i move them to my bed when i go to sleep. there is not another bedroom i could use to separate them for sleep. 


second, the temperaments: we've been dealing with biting from both of them since about 10 months of age. just yesterday, there were 2 incidents involving breaking the skin. yes, we're already working on getting help for this, but it's a reality that prohibits me from leaving them alone together when they are awake.


third, the problems: 1) they don't want to go to sleep in their cribs, 2) i am a single mom, so there is not a second parent to watch one while i put the other to bed, 3) naptime is not optional - they both still require a nap, and frankly, i require a break that involves both of them sleeping at the same time. 


so, how did you transition to toddler beds (etc)?? i was not prepared, and i don't even know what to do! did you have problems? is sleep as sacred as it is in our house? help!!!

post #2 of 7

Oy, sistah.  Ok - given the limitations, you need to be able to put them DOWN at the same time.  My first inclination is to put their little crib mattresses down on the floor on either side of the king bed.  Make them match up at the head, and just put some blankets on the floor at the foot of their shorter mattresses.  THEN, I would use the new mattresses on the floor to put them each into their own beds, for both bed and nap, and make it VERY clear that they need to stay in their beds.  They can talk to each other if they must, or to their stuffed animals, or to the walls.  But they have to stay in their beds.  YOU, mamacita, stay in the king bed.  You keep them roped in, and try to rest if they will allow.  I'm guessing, given how smarty they both are, that it will take a few days for the new system to work itself out, but hopefully after a break in period they GET that they have their own space, and it is for sleeping.  If it works, YAY!  If it doesn't, my imagination has sheets (tapestries?) hanging from the ceiling separating the little mattresses from the king, which you will still use as the family bed at night.  They will eventually get that they can't pop out of bed, and they will eventually sleep, but it might be a rough transition.  I hope other people have more ideas!

post #3 of 7


This might not be popular, but....crib tents? If they sleep happily in their cribs and can't safely be together alone, they might give you a bit of peace of mind to let them nap in crib tents. It might buy you enough time to help them through the worst of the biting stage before you change them to toddler beds.
post #4 of 7

One of my mother's friends said that she used to put the mattress on the floor and then turn the crib upside down over the child to keep him contained. Apparently he was quite a handful and it was the only way to get him to stay put.


Having said that, we did the rapid return method, in that every time they got out, we put them back. It took a while (can't remember how long) but eventually they just stayed. DH has more patience/won't engage with them so he stayed with them when they were playing up and kept them in check. It worked eventually and now we just tuck them in, sing and leave the room and they fall asleep on their own.

post #5 of 7

Haven't read the other replies, a bit short on time.


I'm a single mom too. When I was married, they each had their own room and slept in their own cribs without much struggle. We moved to my parent's basement which is like a studio apt. I tried them sleeping in cribs - they climbed out, tried toddleer beds - they rolled out. Finally, I got a queen size bed and we all sleep together. I miss my personal time. I've learned that a family bed = family bedtime.

post #6 of 7

Given that your boys bite, I don't think I would leave them by themselves.  My 2 year old 4 month girls I have to lay down with.  One on either side of me in the bed they sleep at night, a double turned on it's side.  You could lay with one on either side of you in your king.  When they finally sleep, I get up and they sleep the rest of their nap.  It takes a while to make them lay down, it's annoying, but doable.  If they get up/try to go get something, I hold them by my side until they stop getting up.  I have a small pre-nap routine (nurse, brush teeth, read books, lay down).  I know, it's hard!  Let us know what works.     

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the suggestions! I decided to forego the tents (tho it was under serious consideration) and we went straight to toddler beds. Same rules apply: naps and "first sleepytime" at night are to be in their beds. My sister has been here for every nap and bedtime since starting this on Tuesday, and I can't imagine how I'm going to do it without her. I went out and bought these really cool leaf shades at IKEA and attached them to their converted cribs - I also got the recommended rail (also from IKEA). I kept their bedding the same so they would have that familiarity. I also made them a book that morning - showing how they slept as babies, how they were growing and getting bigger, and in the end talked about it being time for them to learn how to sleep in a "big boy bed".


All-in-all, it's better than I expected, but they are both down on their total sleep per day. Hopefully it'll get better, especially at naptime!


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