How do you get your preschooler to stop coming in your bed in the middle of the night?

Waking in the middle of the night is completely normal for toddlers and preschoolers. But how can you encourage them to fall back asleep on their own instead of crawling into mommy and daddy's bed?

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34  Answers

1 16

Why stop them? My 4 year old sleeps with us almost every night. If he is not with us then he is with his big brother. He does not want to be alone so why make him. We love having him there. He is our third child and our last. All 3 of them slept with us at some point in time and when they were ready, they started sleeping by themselves. It did not hurt the other two and it wont hurt him. They grow up so very fast that we want to suck up every minute of it. Even if it means we are a little crowded at night. We will have many many years with no kids in our bed all too soon.

43
14 0

Same here. That how you raise secure loving children.

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14 40

I have NEVER let me kids sleep in my bed. If they get scared I will go in and comfort them and lay with them but they are not allowed in my bed. They know mommy and daddy are just across the hall and they know that if they are scared all they have to do is holler for one of us. They are secure and happy kids and sleep through the night with very little incident! It very rare for one of my girls to wake up now and they are 3 and almost 5

21
2 31

I am just grateful that my 4 year old son is alive and that he can sleep in my bed. I enjoy having him close, love being able to place my hand on his back to check his breathing, and being nose to nose with him when he wakes up. I don't see why I would want him out of my bed. When he is ready for his own bed, he will go. His 3 older siblings all slept with me until they were 4-5 and had no problems transitioning to their own beds/rooms. I sleep with my 4 yo and 1 yo right now and am grateful every day that they are living and breathing and can be in bed with me.

16
5 8

When my son started to come into our room in the middle of the night, I gave it about a week to see if it would stop... after a week I then got out of bed walked him back to his room, turned on the light had a talk with him to let him know that the only people that were in the house was mommy, daddy, and Liam... I let him know that a dream was only your brain talking in your sleep! That made my son feel so much better, just to know that everything was alright... My son started to wake up in the middle of the night when he was 2, he is now 3 and half and every so often he will wake up from a dream and come into the room but all I have to say is everything is ok and to go back to bed... He goes back to bed on his own without us, tucks himself in and goes back to sleep! All I did with my son is talk to him like he was an adult and he was fine after that.

12
6 9

I feel like we are at the point of no return. My son ( 4yrs old) sleeps in our bed and right under me with his arm around my neck. He won't even go into his bed at night. He goes right to our bed. He had a car bed, grew out of it. Then we got him bunk beds and he said "the bed is scary". I know this is MY FAULT!!! But what can I do now?

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6 1

You let them start there! If it is ok for the parents to sleep together, why isn't is ok for little children, who don't have the emotional security adults do, to sleep with them??

7
20 60

I believe that if the worse thing my child does is want to sleep in my bed; no big deal. I think in time he will grow out of it. My 5 year old son is on the go, and the only time he is malleable enough for a kiss, a hug, or to snuggle is bed time (smile). He will sleep in my bed or his bed, it just depends on the night. Last night he slept in his. For me, the test is if he is away from me, can he sleep without me. The very few times my child has slept away from me, he does fine. If cousins or other kids have spent the night; he does not think about my bed. So he can adapt, if need. I agree with the previous post; it may be a little crowded, or you find yourself on the edge of the bed, or you get kicked, but one day the child will be grown and this will all be a cherished memory.

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56 25

I transitioned my daughter to a twin bed and told her if she wanted to keep her twin bed she need to sleep in it and not in mommy and daddys bed or she would be back in her litle toddler bed. Turns out all she wanted was a bed to sprawl out on bigger bed = her not coming into our big bed

6
56 25

also my daughter is only 3 but she loves her bigger big girl bed

9 103

My husband and I went away for a weekend and since then our 4yo has been coming in around 2-3:30am and crawling in. He doesn't even say anything, just climbs in, wiggles right into me, sighs a sweet sigh and sleeps. I let him stay a little while, but due to his flipping/flopping I can't let him stay too long. After a bit I just carry him back to his bed and tell him I love him and his lovies missed him in his own bed. He's not protested once, so I don't see the harm. I attribute it to his needing to know we are home in our beds. I think after Mommy and Daddy went away together for the 1st time (for more than one night), he just feels better once he "checks in" and gets a mama snuggle.

5
9 103

He hasn't come it in over a week now AND is sleeping in a little later each day. I think it was just a phase. We do all cuddle and do 2 books in Mommy/Daddy's bed together, then all move to the 2-yr old's room for a book and kisses, then "final stop on the bedtime express" land our (almost) 4-yr old's room for a final quick book and kiss. Done. Goodnight. I always jokingly tell Liam "No sun, no service, buddy. Stay in your bed if you wake before the sun unless you are going potty..." :)

21 0

We let our kids sleep on the floor next to the bed if they need the security of mom and dad in the night. We don't make it attractive- no mattress there- just the hard floor- bring your own blanket and pillow. And no night light in our room. If they really need to be there, they can be. But all the comforts except for me are in their room. By letting them next to the bed, not in it, they don't keep me up thrashing and taking over my bed!

4
5 15

with all of my kids all i did was explain to them that they had their own bed and that momies bed is her bed and when they did get up and transfer beds, i got up and transferd them back to their beds it takes a bit of time but eventually they learn to sleep inb their own bed, also my kids know that there are exceptions to this rule like when they are sick, unfortuanatly sometimes a retraining is in order if they get to confortable in mommies bed. i hope this helps

3
0 20

Every family's solution will be as unique as they are. We have three children and I often shared my bed with them when they were little. Eventually they all grow out of it. Our oldest is now 16 and still likes to crawl in our big bed on the weekends to nap. Our middle man sneaks in when his Dad is away on business. Our bonus baby at 4 is a fixture in our bed. We've tried everything even bribery! Every night I lay with him until he falls asleep. It makes my back ache and prevents me from sleeping through the night but as many others have said, this too shall pass and we will miss it. Enjoy cuddling!

2
0 9

My son is 3 and he comes into our bed every night between 3am and 5am and I don't mind at all. They are going to grow up so fast and not want to cuddle any more one day. So, I enjoy it while I can.

2
0 3

I couldn't agree more. Our daughter is 3 and comes into our bed every night . Not sure what time because we don't even wake up anymore. She comes with her blankie, pillow pet and her pacifier. My feeling is that she will eventually stay in her bed so while she is sneaking into mine, I will enjoy it.

1 5

My 5 yr old has a hard time sleeping by himself. When he was a baby he had a crib in my husband and I's room, once he got bigger it was a toddler bed, then when we remodeled our home and added another bedroom he now has his own bed but sleeps in the same room as his brother who is 16. He always sleeps in his room, but often either sleeps in his brother's bed or occasionally sleeps in bed w/mommy and daddy. We let him stay in our bed if it's the middle of the night, but if he flip flops around too much then I move him to the couch which is right around the corner from our bedroom. For Christmas this year we got him his own Transformer bedspread to encourage him to sleep in his own "Big Boy" bed, but he continues to sleep with his brother. I feel like it's ok. He just feels comfort from sleeping beside someone. I feel that some kids just need more snuggling than others. Even though my 3 other children never had a problem with sleeping.

2
36 13

My 5 year old also has a habit of coming into our room in the middle of the night and we have a small sponge mattress under our bed that when he comes over we pull it out and he sleeps there. We need our space and our rest too...

0 20

My 5 going on 6 year old still comes in every night, usually around 4. It's almost routine for her. I barely wake up anymore. She just shoves me in the middle and falls back to sleep. Our bed is quickly losing room, luckily she's not a roller! I wish I could get her out of this routine. I keep saying, oh the next time, or change of schedule next week... but it never happens. I suppose if I got more than 6 hours sleep I could get up 3 times and take her back to her room, lay there and then go back to bed... but I end up falling asleep in her bed almost every time, defeating the purpose! I guess I'm stuck waiting it out until she grows out of it, but reasoning with her is futile. She has an excuse for everything! lol

1
0 5

My 5 year old does the same thing. 3-4 nights a week she ends up with us, most times not until 3 or 4am, but sometimes if she has a bad dream, it;s around midnight. On one hand I want her to grow out of it, but on the other, she is growing up too fast for me as it is, so I am just going to enjoy it while she still thinks I am cool enough to snuggle with. =)

0 5

Being a mother of three my youngest being 4, my husband and I totally want our bed back. While we dont encourage them sleeping with us our youngest wakes up 4 times a night. I try to take her back to her bed and encourage her to sleep there. For us I find that the nights she sleeps in her own bed we all have a happy day the next day, but the nights she doesn't it leads to a crabby day for all of us.

1
0 0

Our daughter is 4 and we have never allowed her to sleep in our bed. Once or twice when she was sick I slept in her bed with her, but she is well aware that those were exceptions. She has been a good sleeper, sleeping through the night since she was 8 weeks old. She rarely wakes during the night, but knows that if she needs us we are right across the hall. We put a baby gate in her doorway to keep her from wandering the house, should she wake up during the night. We always leave the room before she goes to sleep, so because she is comfortable falling asleep on her own, she is less likely to call upon us if she does wake during the night.
My daughter is happy, healthy, & confident and enjoys having her own space. I know several families who have struggled with transitioning a child to his/her own room after years of sharing mommy & daddy's bed. While it may be comforting at the time, i believe it inhibits the child's ability to develop the skills and confidence necessary to feel safe on their own.

1
5 15

My son is five...I gave him a flashlight to shine so that if he thinks he sees something the light would scare it away....we also pray together as a family every night at his bedtime...it has helped him tremendously...he no longer feels scared at night because we pray that angels watch over him....I don't know if those are viable solutions for you but it is worth a try....

1
4 3

my daughter is 4, we used to have the same problem until i changed the room to characters she likes she has a dora the explorer bed set now she loves sleeping in her bed, so maybe decorate the room basing on yo child's tv heroes it might help

1
19 0

I slept in my Mum's bed now and then, all my life, until I moved out age 19. I would now. It's not a problem in my family. We talked about anything and everything; we snuggled during storms and laughed about the loud weather; we watched movies and ate breakfast in bed on the weekends. It was only me and her growing up and we were always close. My babies are too little (3 all under 3, the oldest was 2 this March, and the youngest 5mo) but they will always be welcome in our bed.

0
0 8

I love when my four year old crawls in bed and cuddles up to me in the middle of the night. He doesn't always do it so when he does I know he needs to feel safe and secure and not alone. There are times when I would like to have a good nights sleep without being kicked in my back and neck throughout the night, but he's my baby and he comes first. Besides you never know when they may be having a nightmare, or scared or just don't want to be alone. Why not give them that security. They grow up so fast, pretty soon a hug is all you get. before they say their too old for that too.

0
0 16

I think if they do this once a while its ok but you have to reassure them that you are there for them and not to be afraid. Let them know Mom and Dad are just a call away and they can come when they need to. Take them back to their rooms and comfort them rather than keeping them in yr bed which will lead to a habit. Always pray over your kids before they sleep, let them know God is with them and they should have nothing to fear.Remind them to say their prayers before going to bed. Love on them and you may sleep by them until they go back to sleep and you can return to yr bedroom. Hope this helps!!!!!

0
0 0

It depends on your current circumstances and situation as to why they would be waking up and coming into mommy and daddy's bed to begin with. For my son, he is going to be a big brother soon and wants to be able to cuddle and snuggle with me and my husband as much as possible before his little brother gets here. My husband and I don't always like it, but we have learned to love him, cuddle him, snuggle him, and to let him know that we always love him as much as his little brother; no more, no less; all our love is equally shared. He's getting closer to being potty trained, but still has a few accidents every now and then; which is normal when another baby is on the way. I don't get angry like I used to when he has an accident; it only makes it harder for him and more frustrating for me. Hope this helps ladies! Sadie K.

0
0 18

I used to tell my son to go back to his bed, but he would wait until I went to sleep, and Coe and get in my bed anyway. I'm deployed now, and wish he could get in my bed. Children will grow out of that phase eventually. In fact when I was home on leave, he didn't want to sleep in my bed, he stayed in his own bed.

0
0 12

Agreed! My little boy still comes in to our bed and we just move over and accomodate!! They do grow way too fast and we want to cherish every last minute of him wanting to come in with us!

0
0 2

My 3 year old son comes into our bed every night11 onwards. I take him back he goes off for a while then he is up again within the hour or so. I try take him back and he starts crying and he gets violent. He just won't go into his bed. So he ends up in with us. I keep trying but I could be in there all night,because when I move and Try to go he gets straight up again. Wouldn't mind him ocasionally in with us but we get kicked and my hubby even fell outta bed! It's driving us crazy

0
0 16

My husband and I both don't mind our 3 yo son to comes to our bed in the middle of the night, but his thrashing and kicking were depriving us both of sleep. Incentive has worked best for us. Since our son understands what a quarter is and that he can put it in his penny bank, we tell him every night before bed that if he stays in his bed all night we will give him a quarter when the sun comes up. We also tell him that if he wakes up and needs us that he can call us or come get us and that it is ok to come to our bed but he won't be getting his quarter if he does.. This has worked for the most part. He was come to our bed a couple times when he wasn't feeling good or had a bad dream. Otherwise he has just called for us for a cuddle or to go to the bathroom(just got fully potty trained!!!yeah!) and then tells us he wants to go back to his bed so he can get his quarter.
My cousin has done the same thing with her daughter, except hers was with the sticker system and a doll after a month of sleeping in her own bed. That seemed to work as well. Maybe find something as incentive for your child and do it based on works for them. My son is more short term so the sticker system never worked, but quarters and bouncy balls do!

0
6 8

If they are going to sleep in your bed what was the point in you spending money for them to have a bed and bedroom of their own?

0
17 0

I guess so everyone has their OWN space when needed???

2 9

My little man - just turned 3 comes in climbs into bed for a quick cuddle then is happy to be walked back to bed and tucked in - he does this sometimes twice a night, very rarely not at all. My daughter who is nearly 6 never done this, but we have just started having problems with her she will wake up before we have gone to bed screaming wanting to be with us and not wanting her bed - very strange as she has always slept in her bed even when she has been ill, we just give her a cuddle and tell her everything is ok and she goes back to sleep

0
1 20

With your daughter I would ask her about bad dreams... My 9 year old son has them where he wakes up just bawling. We just give him a couple stuffed animals give those a hug and tell him that we put love in them to keep the bad dreams away and it works wonders. He has very few bad dreams now. It is something so simple yet it works so amazingly.

4 8

My 3 and a half yo has been sleeping with us on and off since we put him in his toddler bed at 2 and a half. We don't mind it so much especially since we moved across the country just a few months ago. It's too hard to put him back in bed when he comes in because half the time it's just me in bed and he's quiet when he comes in. Sometimes it's just really early in the am, before we want to get up. He is an early riser. I feel as though he will get old enough to not want to sleep with us. If he sleeps in his bed all night he is proud and says it the next day. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with it. I'm ok with it, for now.

0
2 17

My daughter will sleep with us some nights and other nights she crawls into her own bed and goes to sleep. So we have nights that my husband and I share alone and enjoy; then we have our nights that we cherish our youngest sleeping smack dead in between us. Either way, we don't care if she ends up in our bed in the early morning hours because we have only a couple of hours before having to wake up. She will twist, turn, kick and lie between us making that 'H' shape in the bed; all I need to do is turn her around and back to sleep we go. I don't see it as any kind of inconvenience being that this phase is just as brief as that helpless infant crying in the night stage.

When we go out (rarely), she goes to sleep with ease without us and she will put herself to sleep. With that in mind coupled with the fact that she does want to sleep alone some nights, we see no harm in her sharing our bed some nights. As well, she politely asks us if she can snuggle with us on those nights she wants in our bed. These are moments we can never get back and as she gets older she will lean towards more independence and not want to cuddle. My oldest is 16 and although she wants a mom's tight hug and reassurance, she. does not want to sit on my lap or sleep in our bed. She is confident in herself and secure in the refuge home brings her. Our children are well rounded and maturing appropriately. I believe we did well and letting our 3 year old share our bed some nights is by no means wrong. She does ask us if she can with please being the magic word when she is in the mood for "snuggles."

0
0 10

I'm curious about what we fear about our children seeking our comfort and closeness!!! It is the most natural thing in the world for children to experience close contact and comfort!!we have co slept with all four of our children... Squishy yes!!!! But hey, this time goes so fast...... We have become a society that prides itself of creating independence at a riiculous age... Unrealistic when we consider the huge importance of attachment!!!! I say , if we wanted cure adults we have love, nurture and be responsive when they are little

39 18

What I did was to tell him I'd sit by his bed until he went to sleep. I did that for a long time, even in the middle of the night. If he had a fit, I'd tell him I'm going to either sit by his bed or I'd go back to my bed, but crying and having a fit wasn't going to get him anywhere. I tell him that if he's going to have a fit while I'm in there, I might as well go to bed, but if he wanted me, he'd have to lay down on his bed. I eventually moved myself out of his room and sat outside of his baby gate. He's 3 and I still sit outside of his gate for about 10 minutes while he gets settled down.

0
1 20

My daughter (4 years old) thinks she needs to sleep in my room every night She is no longer allowed in my bed but she can take her pillow and blankie and sleep on my floor. I would love to get her to sleep in her own bed. Her grandma and aunt bought her a new dora the explorer bed and she refuses to sleep in it. I can't let her cry herself to sleep since she shares a room with her 2 older sisters and they have to be up early in the morning for school. Any suggestions on how to get her in her own bed. I am giving her chamomile tea at night to help her settle down and relax which helps her fall asleep faster but it is usually still on my floor...

0
27 4

The no cry sleep solution says to put the infant/schild immediately back to bed. This work when my son was younger. When he started back up at 4 we did the samething, this time it was different. I would put him back immediately then 1 hour later he was back. He came in again and hour later did this again. You get the idea, I did this for a few days I was losing sleep and I just gave in. He is now sleeping more and more in his room and I am not so grouchy any more.

0
2 33

My son (4YO) has always been prone to nightmares/night terrors, we even reported it to the doctors at his 2-year appointment. He goes through cycles where things are overly frightening and traumatic, and then times when everything is fine. He is an only child and often feels "lonely" and is afraid of being alone.

We recently re-transitioned him to the bed in his room following a 3-month cycle where he was terrified to be in his room. Fighting it was just making things worse. It was so bad he would begin crying at dinnertime so terrified about bedtime and closing his eyes because of the "scary dreams". Even sleeping with us wasn't helping - he was just afraid to close his eyes.

I was about to contact his doctor, when suddenly he turned a corner on his own. Part of it was we stopped getting angry/frustrated with him in the middle of the night when he wouldn't go to sleep and we stopped fighting with putting him in his own bed or the bed we set-up alongside our own bed. (DS is not a peaceful sleeper - so we were tired of getting kicked, punched, slapped etc throughout the night and set-up a different bed in our room).

So this most recent cycle - spanning from around Halloween time to 2-weeks ago has ended. He is now sleeping in his bed at night, falling asleep in his room, and for the most part doesn't come in our room in the middle of the night. We tell him over and over how proud of him we are, and are offering "rewards" for doing this on his own - to show him we are proud of him. He has built up his self-confidence in the meantime too.

We have our bedtime routine and he has a very bright nightlight and asks us to keep the door open and check on him frequently in the evening, plus we have a radio in his room playing songs of his choosing and volume level. All of this has helped calm him down and relax more at bedtime and throughout the night.

0
23 27

In the begining i let him sleep with me as his dad was away with work. When i brought him a car bed he loved it soooooo much he didn't want to sleep in mums boring bed anymore. He occasionally comes into my bed but i don't mind at all. He feels secure with mum, and i love having him close by. I think aswell if they have had a bad experience, in my sons case he was attacked by a dog and he didn't come into my bed but 1 week after the dog attack i found him coming into my bed more and more. Well see how he goes.

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