I'm at my wit's end. DD2 is now 3 years old and has had "access" to her big girl bed (a regular twin size bed alongside her sister's) since shortly after she turned 2. The reason I say she has "access" is because she simply will not stay in the bed unless she is already asleep. At first, we let her fall asleep in the crib and then moved her to the bed so that she could experience waking up in the bed. After months of doing this, I decided to bite the bullet and put her to bed in the bed and just continue to return her to bed every time she got up (I figured this would last a few days). Each night I spent 2 hours chasing her back to bed. It all became a game to her. I even tried going to bed myself and turning off all the house lights so she would stay in the room. She took herself downstairs, turned on a light, and started looking at books. The more I told her to go back to bed, the more entertaining she found it. I did this for 2 weeks. On the night that I found myself playing the game for 3 hours straight at 11:00PM, I gave up.
The next night I told her if she got out of the bed she would go in the crib, and this became the new routine - bed, crib,bed. Then she got really good at getting out of the crib safely and quickly. So we stopped using it. My sister suggested I let her fall asleep in a carseat if she doesn't stay in bed, so that was the next step (I had an extra one from DD1). Every night, when I put her to bed, I explain that if she gets out of bed she'll have to go in the car seat. Every night she promises to stay in bed, and every night she ends up in the car seat. At first, she used to like falling asleep in the car seat, but now she cries and says it's for babies. I hate putting her in it, but I can't keep chasing her back to bed unitl the wee hours. We both need to sleep. I feel like the car seat is just replacing the crib. It helps her fall asleep, but she's not actually learning to stay in bed.
Anybody else going or have gone through this? Any advise? Please help...she got out of the car seat also tonight.