Product Review: The Privacy Pop Bed Tent
Let me start off by saying that no one cares who I am, so I'm only reviewing this product because it might help solve your toddler sleep problems, not for mad dollars in clickable links or whatever blogs do (and respect for the folks who make a living off this, that's just not me!) If you are suffering from Deployment Related Sleep Regression (DRSR, I made that up), read on.
Son is two, and the deployment hit him hard. The hardest was at night. It's one thing to read that sleep regression is common with little kids when a family member deploys, it's another to go through five weeks of an inability to fall asleep and frequent nightmares involving screaming throughout the night. While you also have a baby. Who does not easily fall back to sleep when woken up by a screaming banshee.
I was absolutely desperate. If he was willing to sleep in my bed I would have done it, 2+ years of carefully preventing that habit be damned. When you're running on a fractured 3-5 hours a night, keeping two kiddos alive and hanging on to your job, you'll spent 45 minutes rubbing a toddler's back (and almost cry when you hear him yelling for you, yet again, because he STILL can't fall asleep). You wonder, can I give melatonin to a two year old? What options are there?
I thought that given his age, perhaps I could create a stronger sense of safety and security at night. He sleeps in his crib converted to a toddler bed, and is mighty proud of his big boy bed, so adding the crib rail back was out. We had already put a nightlight in. He has a legion of stuffed friends looking over him. He has a soft fleecy blanket to snuggle in. We've been following the same bedtime routine for ages. I validated his feelings of sadness. I rocked him. I hugged him. I rubbed his back. I reassured. I lost my damn mind.
Enter the Bed Tent. I'll be honest, I hesitated to spend $100 on a pop up tent for a toddler bed. Desperation made me reach for my wallet. WORTH EVERY PENNY.
It comes folded in a circle in a carrying bag. It's quite light (duh), and pops open easily. You just need to snap four support sticks together, then slide them in, two on top, two on bottom, to keep the structure open. There's a nice little zipper on each stick compartment, so you don't have to worry that it will shift and one will pop out. You stick it on your bed, stuff the mattress in, and voila. You can roll up each long side, and there's little windows on the front and back that open as well.
Son was THRILLED. He thought the tent was so exciting. I leave the front fully open at night, but something about making his bed a cosy little cave has really helped with his sleep problems (and his sleep problems become MY sleep problems). I'm back to being able to follow the bedtime routine, rub his back for a few minutes, and walk out the door, without having to go back in five times when he starts calling my name. Something about feeling more enclosed is helping him release into sleep.
The midnight wakeups have also gone way down. I got three nights in a row where no one woke up until 4am! Miracles! I don't know if he wakes up and feels safer and goes back to sleep, or what, but I am not messing with a good thing.
If you have a deployed partner, or your toddler is suddenly freaking out when he was normally a good sleeper, I highly recommend this investment. I've had it for a week, and while I don't let Son dangle off it like a monkey, he's two and likes jumping in and out, lowering the side panel so he can play inside it during the day, and general toddler play, and it holds up well. Since it fully encloses the space, your mattress sits on the bottom and holds it securely in place, so no trouble with it sliding around.
Bed tents. Who knew these were a thing?