My almost 3 year old still sleeps with us...how do I break this habit??

Kelly - posted on 02/24/2010 ( 26 moms have responded )

3

3

0

I try to put her in her "big girl bed" but she said she wants to sleep with us. Trying to break this before she gets any older!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Chelsea - posted on 02/24/2010

31

3

3

I can't recommend highly enoug that you read "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" There's one for babies and one for toddlers. At age three there are some helpful tips in the book for younger ones that might help. I haven't read the toddler one as my little one is 22 months.

You didn't do anything wrong letting him sleep with you. Most cultures in the world co-sleep and SIDS isn't a big issue with them, so maybe they're onto something?

The way I see it is this: You would feel lonely if your husband wasn't in the bed with you to snuggle and it's reassuring that he's nearby. Right?

Why our society thinks that a baby or child shouldn't feel the same way is beyond me.


My daughter sleeps in her own bed in our room and we're slowly moving it further away until she's in her own room. (The "No-Cry" book calls this the Traveling Crib technique)
At first she needed lots of lovies and reassurance but within about a week she started to be willing to climb in bed by herself with a sippy cup. Now if she wakes in the night, she just finds her sippy and goes back to sleep.

Another method for older children was to put a mat on the floor in your room and put your child to bed in their own room telling them that if they needed to they could tiptoe quite as a mouse (or Batman or whatever works) into your room and sleep on their special spot on the floor. And reward them when they stay in their bed all night (and if by chance he comes into your room and sleeps for a little bit, but returns to his own bed by himself, reward for that too). Also set a goal for if he stays in his bed for several nights in a row, he gets a big reward (a new toy, a special outing, ect)

Terri - posted on 02/24/2010

3

16

0

We already had my daughters babybed in our room but she slept with us. I took the side off of her bed and put it up against ours and she held her dads hand til she went to sleep. I kept working the bed over until she couldn't reach his hand and it went slowly and was ok. Then we finally had it against the wall. My baby girl was adopted and from 18 months old til about 3 she had night terrors. And unless you have lived thru those you cannot even imagine what they are like.

Then came moving day! She was about 5. We made a big deal out of her getting her own newly decorated bedroom and she began sleeping in there often. She is nine now and there are still times she "needs" to sleep with me. She is the only child at home and absolutely does not like sleeping alone. We recently got a mini longhaired dashaund for her and she now has a sleeping buddy. Still occasionally she comes back to our bed. (wanting to sleep with us so badly that she will kennel her puppy to do so) I know that there will come a day she will no longer want to sleep with me and I will probably miss it then lol...

26 Comments

View replies by

Amber - posted on 03/27/2011

8

11

0

My 4 yr old boy has co slept off and on since he was a baby. He has his own bed and is happy to go to bed in it every night, but I quite often find him hopping in with me anytime from 2am on. I have been wondering how to get him out of this habit (I just feel he is getting too old for it, both his brothers had stopped by the time they were 4). I think that I will try putting a night light in his room and doing a sticker chart for every night he stays in his bed, with a reward after 5 stickers.

[deleted account]

Many doctors recommend co sleeping, so anyone who is telling you it was a big mistake, are themselves mistaken.
Now, I agree with everyone who says to try lying down with her for a bit, after awhile she will naturally stay there on her own, ALL my friends co slept and this is what they all did, seemed to work!

Sarah - posted on 04/14/2010

136

40

2

From what I have heard this is a VERY common issue among very young kids, whether they were co-slept or not. She just misses you and feels more comfortable sleeping with you, plenty of kids her age sneak into their parents room at night and ignore all the people that say you did something 'wrong.'

Give her time and just keep putting her in her big bed every night with something soothing like her favorite stuffed animal or lovie and eventually she will migrate there full time.

Kim - posted on 04/14/2010

4

21

1

This is one of the worst mistakes I could have made with my daughter. I was a single mom and I actually liked her being in my bed with me. But then it became an issue because she was staying up late with me instead of going to bed at a decent hour. I finally decided to try and put a stop to this when she was 2. What I would do is give her a bath, brush teeth, play for a few minutes then take her to her bed and read to her. I would then tell her that I had to go do some laundry (I actually did most of the time...Lol) and I would be back. It was in the hallway so I would leave the light on and her door cracked a little. Sometimes she would come out and ask if I was done and I would tell her that I will be done in a little while and take her back to bed and tell her to stay in bed and I will come check on her in a bit. This worked like a charm! Laying in her bed with only a little light coming in from the hallway and she was asleep before I knew it. It only took about a week or two until she was fine with being in her own bed with no questions asked. I guess she got tired and fell asleep waiting. And, if you don't have a washer and dryer in the house use another excuse like, I need to dust, do dishes, mop the floors.....
I hope this helps and works for you as well as it did for me! Good luck!!

User - posted on 04/10/2010

1

0

0

My 3 yr old has slpet with my husband and I since she was born, I know it's my fault but I need help gettin her into her room now. we have her room in dora which she LOVES, and her toys are in there she plays in her room during the day but just cant get her in there at nite can someone please HELP me your tips would help greatly!!!

Megan - posted on 03/02/2010

6

14

0

My 4 & 7 year old often climb into bed with me, although I would really prefer my bed to myself - especially in summer. it was a problem before my divorce, & has only intensified, but they are going through some issues, so I don't stress too much, although I insist on them going to sleep in their own beds, & each night is a prayer that they will actually stay there. My problem isn't having them in the bed, it's the middle-of-the-night fights over who gets to sleep in the middle, & therefore, next to mom! I believe that this will all sort itself out eventually, & can only hope that they are not still climbing in with me 10 years from now! But then, I am divorced, so there's only one of me in the bed...

Blackwood - posted on 02/24/2010

0

0

36

Have you tried picking out a new blanket or maybe stickers too put on her wall for her "big girl" room. You could have her pick out some stickers and everything she sleeps in her bed, she gets too put a new sticker up. If you don't want too put them on her wall, do a chart and she can put them in her chart.

Amy - posted on 02/24/2010

1

16

0

my oldest sleeped with until she was 4. i let her fall asleep in my bed and then put her in her bed. after about a month our so i would just put her in her bed and then read to her. but all my children would still sleep with me if i let them.

Olga - posted on 02/24/2010

2

7

0

You already know what you have to do. Your daughter needs you to be a strong mom with consistent discipline, and lots of love, as she grows. Be firm and she will do what she is told. Also, pray and God will guide you! Remember, God is our Father and He has rules for how we should behave (Ten Commandments).

Racheal - posted on 02/24/2010

2

23

0

My daughter slept in our bed until she was 3. She got her own big girl bed with the princess comforter. We started and still do the brushing our teeth, reading a book (although now she likes to be the one who reads) give kisses and hugs and then I leave the room, the only new addition is we take her dog out before they lay down. It took awhile for her to get used to it even now at 5 there are times she wants to crawl in bed with us but I take her back to her room and reassure her everything is ok and stay with her a few minutes, I stand beside her bed and smooth back her hair or rub her back a bit, most times that is enough for her to fall back asleep. As a mom I find it hard to not want to have her cuddled next to me so on Saturday mornings she's been able to come into our room and crawl in bed with us for an hour or so when it's time to get up and make breakfast.
On a side note, I think having her in your bed as long as you (and I have) it can actually help the bond between you.
I've also read that doing the routine, tucking them in, turning off the light and then slowly leaving the room helps, although it can be trying because you aren't suppose to look directly at your child, you don't talk you return them to bed every time they get out the first time saying it's bedtime then saying nothing at all. All while taking a couple steps out at a time.
I took a few ideas of different things I read and got as advice and mixed and matched one that would fit my parenting style, our schedule and most of all my daughter's needs. Hope I've given you something you could use =] good luck

Latishea - posted on 02/24/2010

2

1

0

My 4 year old still sleeps with us and when she does sleep in her bed it's not all night she ends up running back in the middle of the night. It just takes time and persistence

Chloe - posted on 02/24/2010

5

14

0

Well said, Julianne! Every family is different; but, every child-related issue seems to be textbook! When my 3-year-old son refuses to perform a task he's taken on as a milestone of growing up, I simply explain to him all the things he couldn't do if he can't do this. For example, if he can't sleep in his big boy bed in his room every night, then he certainly couldn't play on the playground at the park, or have cookies, or help in the garden(which he loves). It's all bundled together, he can't chose which big boy things he wants to do.
Also, I agree that a little reward for being successful at a full night in his own room was effective. He definately remembered how proud we were and it made him feel good, too! You should grab a book about positive discipline-it works wonders!
Good luck!

Michelle - posted on 02/24/2010

4

65

0

I have dealt with similar issues with my son who is now 8. I find that if you stick to a routine that it is much easier for them to sleep in their own beds. We get a snack, brush teeth, he sits on my lap for a few minutes we read a book, then if you need to lay down with her for a few minutes until she gets used to sleeping alone that helps as well. This has to be a consistent routine I hope this helps.

Julianne - posted on 02/24/2010

6

7

0

I had the same problem with both my girls. My son actually wanted his own bed and has always been more independent.

You just have to be firm and be prepared to hear some crying for a while. Don't forget to reward when successful. Tiny morning treats help too.

Don't let anyone tell you it was wrong to allow her to sleep with you during the early years. Each family is different. It worked fine for us until it was time to grow up. Unfortunately, throughout life we will be faced with changes and challenges. We must teach our children to overcome challenges and face changes with courage and determination. This is just one of the first obstacles she will face.

Make sure she understands that there are good things about growing up. Maybe introduce a "good" thing that "big girls" can do. This will make her feel better about being required to give up something special as she gets older.

I have a 13 year old. He complains about taking the trash out, but I pointed out the advantages of being older and some of the things he's allowed to do now. Puts things into perspective.

Lauren - posted on 02/24/2010

35

8

4

I'm with Patricia on this. I have two kids that sleep with me. My son starts out in the extra bed in my room, but will wake up in the middle of the night and crawl in with me and my daughter. I actually bought a kingsize bed to accomodate them.

I have accepted the fact that my son is the type of person (like is dad) he will always wake up several times in the night and if it helps him to go back to sleep by snuggling, then so be it. Don't get me worng though, I do wish I could get a good night sleep and eventually he will be in is own room (he does have one).

I had my daughter in my bed since day one...I was breast feeding. The way I look at it they're only young for so long. Eventually they'll want nothing to do with us, so relish the moments and enjoy the time you have with them now.

I'll have plenty of time to sleep when i'm dead!

Beau - posted on 02/24/2010

1

12

0

My son did the same thing. If he doesn't already have a big boy bed, get one. Excite him with the idea that he gets his own bed. Maybe go out and buy something new to go with the bed. It will take a while to get him to stay in his own bed, but don't get discouraged. Keep him in his bed and don't confuse him by sometimes letting him back in your bed because you are tired, the more consistant you are the quicker he will learn. Good Luck.

Maurissa - posted on 02/24/2010

15

19

1

I have no personal experience with this matter yet, however I can say that an Aunt of mine allowed her son to sleep in her bed too... UNTIL HE WAS NINE! Obviously, she and her husband have divorced and as a now 19 y/o guy, he is having a lot of maturity and independence issues. So, I'd say that as heart breaking as it is to disappoint her during that detachment phase, in the long run it will be so much better for not only her, but her mom and dad too. You obliviously love her so so much and just want her to be happy, I am the same way and I often forget to look at the big picture and lose sight of the long term consequences. It is so easy to do when such a pretty and sweet little baby is looking up at you with sad water filled eyes. Ugh, it breaks my heart! Good luck and hang in there!

Crystal - posted on 02/24/2010

17

35

2

My son did the same thing. I would lay in his bed until he feel asleep, and once he got use to it he wanted me out. lol. It only took a couple of weeks.

Patricia - posted on 02/24/2010

10

13

1

I dont agree you know that song "Let Them Be Little", who cares i have 3 girls and my 2 youngest still sleep with me and they are 2 and 3, my oldest did this till she was old enough to understand and i could explain that to her. who cares as long as everyone is getting sleep, i love the fact that they are right there i would hate for something awful to happen and me not know.

Melissa - posted on 02/24/2010

261

15

7

i agree 100% with Michelle. Your gonna have to use tough love on this one. I dont agree with sleeping in the same bed, but since you did, you really should have started this a lot sooner. the older they are the harder it will be. sorry

Michelle - posted on 02/24/2010

226

9

36

Your first mistake was allowing her to sleep with you in the first place. Which means that its going to be a struggle for you and for your daughter to get her to sleep in her own bed. So this is how you do it. Come up with a bedtime routine. Bath, books, kiss goodnight then lights out. Stay firm with her. She is going to cry....but dont give in...no matter what. Let her cry herself to sleep. I assure you that it will hurt you more than it will hurt her. Be consistent all the time!!! If she comes to sleep with you....take her back to her room. I wouldnt lay down with her because that will become an issue as well and she will start becoming dependent on that too. She needs to learn independence. Sorry honey....but you made a really bad choice allowing this to happen. You really have to ask yourself...."Who is the parent?" It seems to me that you have allowed her to get away with sleeping with you because that is what she WANTS. Your daughter (and you for that matter) need to understand that YOU are the parent...not her. What YOU say goes. I am sorry if I sound so heartless but I honestly dont have any sympathy for situations like this.

Erica - posted on 02/24/2010

7

0

0

My daughter slept with me unil she was about 4. Finally I just started laying with her in her bed until she'd fall asleep, then eventually she would do it on her own. Try putting a night light in her room or leaving the door crack with the hall light on, or a doll or stuffed animal that she really loves. You could even go as far as putting her bed in your room until she gets the habit of sleeping in her own bed, then move her to her own big girl room.

Christy - posted on 02/24/2010

3

7

0

I am trieng to figure that out myself. My little girl will go to sleep and I out her in her big girtl and bed and in a couple of ours shes awake and in my bed. I wish I knew the answer. if you find out tell me how. It gets hard to sleep with someone under you all night.

Lisa - posted on 02/24/2010

2

13

1

Reading to her and letting her know that her bed is for big girls, Always let her know that you are right in the next room. Maybe even trying to lay down with her in her bed until she falls alseep.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms