How do i get my 3 yr. old to sleep all night?

Debbie - posted on 04/26/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My 3 yr. old daughter wakes up in the middle of the night and decides she doesn't want to sleep anymore. She is wide awake and will stay on the couch for about 4 hrs then go back to sleep for a couple of hours. I have tried everything. I have put her to bed later, took away her nap and nothing. I'm going crazy. What can I do?

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Elfrieda - posted on 04/26/2012

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My 2-year-old has been waking up in the night and thinking it's morning, too! It's really annoying, but lucky for me he's still in a crib so he has to stay put. I have started telling him in the evening that if he wakes up and there's no sunshine, he is not to call for Mama or Daddy, he is to lie back down on his pillow and hold his dog and go back to sleep. If he wakes up and calls for us anyway, we wait for a good while and if he keeps doing it, one of us goes up and pulls back the curtain to show him that it's not daytime yet, then we sing a song or two so he can relax, and then we yawn really big and say, "I'm sooo sleepy. I'm sleepy because it's nighttime. I'm going to go sleep on my pillow, and you will sleep on your pillow. Good night my boy, I love you. I'll see you in the morning." and then walk out. So far he's cried a bit and then gone to sleep.



But since your daughter is 3 she's going to be easier to reason with than my 2-year-old who is barely verbal. Is she interested in numbers? Maybe keeping a clock where she can see it and telling her what time you'll be back would work. (If it's digital, tell her that when the first number is a 7, she's allowed to get up. If it's a regular clock, you could put a glow-in-the dark sticker on the 7 and a sticker on the hour hand and when they are together she can get up.)



You could do rewards for staying in bed all night (like 4 nights in a row gets a trip to the ice cream shop) or have punishments for getting out.



Or maybe she's not running around enough outside. It's something I've considered with my son. With our crappy spring weather he hasn't played outside in days. I'm trying to get him good and tired, and maybe he'll sleep better.



I would give her choices. If she wakes up at night, she's allowed to go to the potty, she's allowed to turn on the bedside lamp and colour quietly for a little bit until she feels sleepy again, she's allowed to play quietly with some of her stuffed toys. She's not allowed to come wake you up unless she's had a bad dream, and she's not allowed to leave her room except to go potty. (or whatever rules you decide on) I don't know if she's old enough for that, but that's all I've got for suggestions. Good luck.

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