how do I get my 3yr old to stop getting out of bed at night?

Sue - posted on 09/08/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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My 3yr old keeps getting out of bed every night 4 times a night. I have to keep putting her back to bed and give her a kiss

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Tamara - posted on 09/09/2009

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My 3 year old gets out of bed, but I sometimes let him as we have gone through a divorce and I feel that he might need the comfort. I think it is something he will outgrow? It stinks though cos I only have a king single and don't always get the best night sleep with him in there. Last night he stayed in his bed, I think knowing that he can come see me when he wants might have helped him stay settled? For the time being it's not an issue as I don't have a man in my life.

Jessie - posted on 09/18/2012

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This was such a great answer. Thank you for your input. I was wondering what your opinion was. My daughter just turned 4 a couple weeks ago and for the last 3 nights has started getting out of bed and playing in her room and staying up super late. I just caught her last night at midnight still awake in her room! I thought she had already gone to bed. At night we always read a book while we cuddle in a nursery chair, sing a couple songs, then kiss, hug and say goodnight. we've been doing this routine for about her whole life. Why is she suddenly thinking she can just get up and do whatever she wants? I don't know if I should punish and I just feel like threatening to take away toys. I don't know what to do. She refuses to tuck herself in, always insisting that I do it. We had a 2 year old in the next room who is amazing and I don't want my 4 year old waking her up because she's screaming! She'll start crying super loud and yelling "mommy!" all night unless I go in there and tuck her in for the millionth time... and then after i tuck her in a 2nd time, she'll get up again within an hour! I don't know what to do. What do you think?

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Judy - posted on 09/13/2009

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What is she eating? A food diary? too much sugar? Gluten? I know this sounds silly but things are changing with our children. Look at everyone else in the family are you all getting up at all times of the night. Sometimes they just copy you.

[deleted account]

When I got divorced in 1995 my youngest son decided to crawl into my bed to sleep every night. I tried putting him back in his bed every time he came into mine and ended up getting no sleep. When I talked to my colleagues at work (school psychologist and counselor), they both told me that this was my son's reaction to the divorce and he needed to know that I wasn't going anywhere since his father had left the house. Since there was no man in my life, I let him stay until he was OK to go back to his bed, which, unfortunately, last a little over a year. Once your child knows you are the parent that's staying put, you should be OK and since it's a 3 year old it shouldn't take all that long. Good luck :)

Jodee - posted on 09/11/2009

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I agree fully with Samantha Kerry. The main thing is to not talk or engage them in conversation at all. Simply guide them back to there room and leave. All she wants is your attention. My now 8 year old had this problem and it went on for almost a year. I was practically sleeping in her room. Great advice!!!

Betsy - posted on 09/11/2009

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Consitance is the key!! It seems like ot will never get better, trust my it vwill. Its really nervveracking--the best of luck

Betsy

Kimberly - posted on 09/11/2009

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If you REALLY want her to stay put and can stand the crying and protesting then you just have to be consistant in putting her back each time she gets up. I had to do this with my daughter when she was almost 2 yrs old because I was about to deliver my 4th child and needed her to stay put.

The techniques in "Samantha Terry's" post are the ones I used and they worked GREAT! Consistancy and no communicating once you've said goodnight is the key. Make sure you get all the loves n kisses and stories in. Drinks of water and using the bathroom before being tucked in for the final time is important so you KNOW she's ok and has had all she needs BEFORE you start your efforts in getting her to stay. It's REALLY hard when they are crying and pleading with you but stick to your guns and you do get the result you want. It really depends on the will of your child tho on just how long it will take. We had a couple REALLY long nights but it was worth it in the end. They are simply learning that you MEAN what you say when you tell them it's "bed time".

I really beleive that the parents should rule the house NOT the child. Once they hit the teen years you've lost them if you don't put this in place at a young age.

Good luck, I Hope you and she can get a good nights rest soon. :-)

[deleted account]

Maybe you all should consider reading about attachment parenting. I did all of these things suggested with my son (who is now 23) and I feel very strongly that they contributed to his sleep issues, insecurity, and separation anxiety. My daughter uses the attachment parenting method and her daughter is so incredibly secure and self confident and I've seen the same result with many other AP children. Children need security and self confidence and we are the ones that give that to them. Personally I think the time to make these discipline points are during the day when children are rested not at night when they are already tired and beyond their reasoning ability. I know that there may be a lot of influence from others that children sleeping with their parents is bad, but I think if you do the research on attachment parenting and on other cultures that have done this for hundreds of years you will find that this is a very successful approach to the "sleeping in their own bed" issue. When the time is right the child will begin to sleep in his/her own bed on their own.

Nathalie - posted on 09/10/2009

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Not saying I know every trick...But my sister-in-law (they got divorced for 5 years and now they are back together) did the same thing when they got divorced....being letting my niece sleep with her...WELL she finally stopped last year...She is 8 now. you need to keep putting the child back in their bed...maybe get them a large stuffed toy that they can cuddle...The longer you let it go the harder it will be for you and the child...Hope this helps...

Patricia - posted on 09/10/2009

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My daughter did the same thing when she first went into a toddler bed. I just kept walking her back and simply said its bedtime. She eventually stopped. Three is a tough age. You have to be consistant you are being tested!

Jennifer - posted on 09/09/2009

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My 3 yr. old we had the same problem. Do you still give her a nap in the day time? If so stop and give her a quit time instead and at bed time state doing the same thing every night with her and she will be tiered enough to stay in bed. A lot of it is just being consistent and not letting her choose when she goes to bed.

Mandy - posted on 09/09/2009

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Hi I found when mine did this that if I didn't speak to them or make a fuss and just steered them back to bed no hugs or kisses or attention then in the morning I would reward them or praise them for going bak to sleep or not getting up as much they soon learnt they got more attention sleeping han keeping me up!

Melissa- - posted on 09/09/2009

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I didn't read many responses so I hope this isn't a repeat :) One thing you could try is explaining that nighttime is for sleeping and that she needs to stay in her room while it's dark. Let her know that once the sun comes up, she is welcome to come out and wake/find you. You can explain that this is for safety reasons and that it is the time that everyone needs to sleep, so she cannot be up disturbing everyone.

It also helps if you have a really good bedtime routine-snack,bath,teeth,book and bed- this is also easier if she is active during the day! Hope something in this message helps

Alisha - posted on 09/09/2009

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I would have to agree with Samantha Kerry. I've heard many parents having problems with their children getting out of bed. keep a routine. The bed room isn't a place to be punished and be firm when putting them back to to bed. NO contact other then putting the child back in bed. NO talking, NO smiling ( but I'm sure you're too tired to smile anyway...lol) If they try to get out as soon as you're about to walk away, put her back and walk away. Again no contact. You should have it down in a week or so.

[deleted account]

Quoting Samantha:

I had the same problem wth my 1yr old, and i read a book called the baby whisperer, best book in the world for parents! i def recommend it! i tryed the technique advised there and it solved my problem!:

1. Let your child choose a "special duvet cover" from shops of a beloved character.
2.Always stick to routine so your childs body clock knows when its bedtime, mine goes - play, dinner, bath, bed.
3.NEVER use their bed or bedroom as punishment, as your child will associate bedtime as punishment and will be hard to settle.
4.When your child gets out of bed, guide them back to bed, DO NOT talk to them, DO NOT make eye contact of any kind. Tuck them back in, kiss them and leave room straight away. This will re-enforce the message to them that mommy/daddy are here to comfort them when needed, but now is sleep time. You may have to repete step 4 twenty times or more in first 3 nghts, but by end of the week your child will stay in own bed no trouble! i can vouch for that :)


Excellent post! We follow this routine and I agree especially with step 4. (see my post which I wrote before reading your post). I have never read the Baby Whisperer, just learned over many years of being a nanny, mother, and foster parent.

[deleted account]

We been foster parents for over 40 children and have parented 4 of our own children.

Once you establish that this is not a 'fear' issue, simply return the child without using words, no kiss, no drama. Once they realize that they will not get extra attention for coming out of bed, they will stop. It may sound difficult, but explain that there is ONE tuck in time, ONE good night kiss/hug/prayer... and then stick to it.

Eventually, all it will take is a simple gesture toward the child's room. They will return promptly. You have to be consistent. New routines will be challenged at first. Be a team with any other adults in the home and stay strong. She may react with tears or whining, but in time she will learn that bedtime is not an invitation to challenge the limits.

Of course, if there is illness or night terrors involved... comfort and reassure, hold and cuddle.

Eileen - posted on 09/09/2009

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My 2 yr old does the same thing! constantly crawling in with us int he middle of the night.. I love that he's cuddly but I don't get enough sleep when he's in there, and then i'm tired and short tempered with all four kids the next day..

We seem to get him going in a routine, then something happens a(for example we went out of town to a friends for a night last week, and ever since hes back in my bed..) and bang.. back to the old habits and no one's sleepin...

Any ideas? Other than filling myself to capacity with coffee for three days and fighting with him? we have a good routine, and he naps in the mornings (over the lunch hour really ) but he's up in the middle of the night anyway...i am sooo tired!

Samantha - posted on 09/08/2009

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I had the same problem wth my 1yr old, and i read a book called the baby whisperer, best book in the world for parents! i def recommend it! i tryed the technique advised there and it solved my problem!:

1. Let your child choose a "special duvet cover" from shops of a beloved character.
2.Always stick to routine so your childs body clock knows when its bedtime, mine goes - play, dinner, bath, bed.
3.NEVER use their bed or bedroom as punishment, as your child will associate bedtime as punishment and will be hard to settle.
4.When your child gets out of bed, guide them back to bed, DO NOT talk to them, DO NOT make eye contact of any kind. Tuck them back in, kiss them and leave room straight away. This will re-enforce the message to them that mommy/daddy are here to comfort them when needed, but now is sleep time. You may have to repete step 4 twenty times or more in first 3 nghts, but by end of the week your child will stay in own bed no trouble! i can vouch for that :)

[deleted account]

We used a baby gate in the doorway to keep our son in his room. If he slept on the floor, that was up to him. Tell your daughter that she must stay in her bed and that you are not going to keep coming back. If she does it once, give her a last and final kiss and tuck for the night. DO NOT just because she's screaming - but make sure she's safe.

Sharon - posted on 09/08/2009

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thats about all you can do.



I have a son who is a night owl. He was a night owl as a baby and still is. The only times he stays in bed is if he had a really busy day & was utterly exhausted when he went to sleep.

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