My son is 4 years old and he still sleeps with me. Every time I try putting him in his own bed he throws a huge tantrum. Any suggestions?

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Dawn - posted on 01/16/2009

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All these ideas are great! With my oldest son, we told him that when he started K, he had to sleep in his own bed. With the idea of school starting and being a "big boy," this worked for him. Now with our other son that we are transitioning, he starts off in his own bed, but ends up in ours around 2 am. The time is getting later and later, so we are just letting nature take its course. Now our 8 1/2 month old girls will stay in their cribs. I can't wait to sleep in MY BED with just my husband.

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Rachel - posted on 01/17/2009

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my son was just the same!!! it is hard but you have to remember you RE  the boss, out him in his own bed, when he starts just leave him, after 2 mins or so go and check, he will prob still crying but just make sure he knows you are there and put him back down to sleep and leave the room. dont shout at him just talk gently,it will take a few times but he will get the message

Rachel - posted on 01/17/2009

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my son was just the same!!! it is hard but you have to remember you RE  the boss, out him in his own bed, when he starts just leave him, after 2 mins or so go and check, he will prob still crying but just make sure he knows you are there and put him back down to sleep and leave the room. dont shout at him just talk gently,it will take a few times but he will get the message

Heather - posted on 01/16/2009

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When my 6 year old was 4 we had that problem.  We put a baby gate in his doorway unill he fell asleep.  I would sit out side and as long as he stayed in bed and was quiet I would read him his favorite book or books over and over for up to an hour.  Then if he was still awake I would tell him it was quiet time and if he stayed quiet for x amount of time that I would come back and read some more.  He was usually asleep long before I came back.  Then I would take the gate down so he could get to the bathroom if needed.

Lorene - posted on 01/16/2009

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Well it is going to be tough however this is what i started to do. I took my daughter's crib mattress and put it next to my bed. When it was time to go to sleep both of us I was a single mom at that time I gave her her teddy and held her hand while she fell asleep. Then when I was staying over my boyfriends house I would lie while her until she fell asleep it was rough because she was use to me and the tv being on. Then I told her she could watch tv for 1 hour then when it was off it was time for night night then I got rid of the tv all together and put a radio on and she finally learned to fall asleep on her own. Trust me at least once a month we have a rough patch but you have to stick with your guns. Good Luck

Stephanie - posted on 01/16/2009

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Use the nanny technique it worked for me. Put them in their bed and let them throw a fit. Put them back in every time they get out without saying anything. It may take a week or so but it works my little one is out within 10 minutes :)

Jennifer - posted on 01/16/2009

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What I did with both of my boys as I had this problem was to stay with them but did not talk or make any eye contact as this is vital, until they fell asleep and each night would move further away from them until I was eventually downstairs, they knew I was there  and were then able to fall asleep by themselves. I took  a good few days to be honest but the results were well worth it. Hope this helps!!!

Regina - posted on 01/16/2009

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I'm with you!!! My 4 and 6 year olds are the same way more the 6 year old. My 4 year old just wants me there when he falls asleep. Then will most of the time sleeps through the night. My 6 year old panics at bed time lately. He will start wispering in my ear, "are you coming to bed right now" etc. If I have to finish something he gets up every 30 seconds to use the bathroom and look for me. I get up after they are asleep and go to my room my oldest always wakes him self up a few minutes later and follows me.I am so tired. I havent slept all night in so many years. I have tried everything! It got worse after we moved. But it has been a few months and it is still bad. I know he has to be tired to. He cant sleep soundly because he is always making sure I am still there. So hope we can both get some help!

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What we did with my oldest was to set up her toddler bed next to our bed and then gradually we moved it closer to the door. And finally after about a month, it was by the door we put it in her room (right next to my room) she was fine.

Kristen - posted on 01/16/2009

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Make it fun!  Put glow in the dark stars on the ceiling.  Take him to the store and let him choose a night light and a special pillow or toy.  Let him call Grandma and tell her that he stayed in bed all night!  Make it a BIG DEAL!!!  Have a celebration dinner if he stays in bed.  Have a picture of Mom and Dad that he can hug.  These are just some ideas that you could try.  Good luck.

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I found with my own kids that the only way to get through the tantrums and establish "rules" about bed times is to go through the storms and tears, and keep putting them back in their beds. Again, and again, and again, and again. Frustrating as it is, the repetition works. This is also in conjunction with a set bed time and routine -- bath at 8:00, brush teeth, jammies, read books, in bed by 8:30. With no set routine, and no persistence about where she sleeps, my daughter stays up, or stays in our bed. Yikes.



The first night we laid down the law with my (then three-year-old) daughter, we had little sleep all around. It was grueling, and very hard not to get angry with her, but my husband and I kept it as positive as we could, even at 2:00 a.m. The next night, she started to get the picture, but also came up with more creative ways to stay up / out of her bed. We persisted. Back to your bed, time for sleep, back to your bed... again, again, again. By the third or fourth night, she was fine. 



My 19-month-old son is transitioning from his crib to a toddler bed now. The first night, it took him 90 minutes to go to sleep -- this is a child who you could put into his crib, turn off the lights and leave, and he'd go right to sleep! He was so excited about his new sleeping situation -- couldn't believe he could just stand up and get out of bed! But we gently kept returning him to his bed. I think I did this about 23 times that first night. It was a little easier the next night, and now he gets it.



I should also mention that both of my kids like their rooms, and thankfully, I haven't had to chase any "monsters" out of the closet. Also, they don't get sent to their rooms when they misbehave --we've kept their bedrooms as "positive places" where they like to be. 



Don't lose heart. Sleep is as important as wearing a seat belt -- for us and our kids. You're right to set some boundaries. 

Christine - posted on 01/16/2009

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let him have a tantrum, persevere and keep putting him back in his bed, the tantrum will eventually tire him to the point where he will fall asleep. put a reward chart next to his bed (try making 1 yourself in a theme that he enjoys) and everytime he falls asleep in his own bed fill the chart, every so many sleeps reward him with something, try making the rewards something he likes doing like going swimming rather than buying things like toys he will enjoy spending the extra bonding time with you as he is missing out on sleeping with you

Susan - posted on 01/16/2009

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I've been where you are and it is a pain in the begining to get them to adjust to sleeping in their own space but you guys will benefit all around when it's all said and done. What I had to do with my son was stay in the room with him until he fell asleep and if he woke in the middle of the night I Iook him back to his room and of course reassured him that everything was ok. Now it took atleast a good month of doing this until he was alright with sleeping by himself. He's five now and sleeps all night in his own bed with no problems. It's a process but you have to be consistant or it won't work. Also, if he expresses the concern of being afriad of the dark then I'd try a nightlight or letting him watch a movie to fall asleep. I hope you get results soon :)

Rebecca - posted on 01/16/2009

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It's definately a process that takes time!!!! With my middle child I ended up spending a few nights in his bed, then I would lay down with him til he would fall asleep I just kept lessening the amount of time I would spend in his room and we used a chart and reward system for staying in his room all night.  I'm usually a tough love kind of parent but I let all my kids sleep with me and figured  I had to have patience with breaking the habit.  It's hard to get used to sleeping alone when your not used to it.. Most parents don't sleep as well if their spouse isn't with them because your used to it.



I am in need of starting this process with my 3 year old but have been procrastinating on it. We have just finished potty training so I'm tackling one issue at a time. It's going to take alot of patience and a little tough love just make sure once you've started you can stick to it.



I almost had my 3 year old broke of the habit when he was 2 but we visited some friends out of state and their weren't enough beds so he slept with me and my progress was ruined!  I'm trying to schedule my next attempt for a week when I don't have alot going on so it is easier to stick to it..  Also not sure if you still do nap time or not but it might help to start with nap time in his bed if he still takes one.



Good luck to you I will soon be in the same boat again!!! 

Briana - posted on 01/16/2009

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I know it would be unpleasant for you, but let him throw his tantrum.....He won't stay awake all night....He will eventually fall asleep. After a few nights of doing this he should finally get the idea that he can't sleep with mom and dad. My son is 2 and a half and he rarely sleeps in my bed. I think he's only slept with me twice. You're not a bad mom if child throws a tantrum and then you don't give them what they want. You're a parent!! I keep a small night light on for my son at night, and I also keep one of those baby gates up in his doorway. He throws fits because he doesn't want to go to bed when I tell him to. But he can't leave his room, and he eventually falls asleep. And with the gate up, it's like the door is open, so I can still see him, and check on him.

Lisa - posted on 01/16/2009

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Tell him you will lay with him in his bed... make his bed special... buy a special stuffed animal for him to keep him company.   After a while he will get used to sleeping in his bed

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put him in his own bed after he is sleeping if he wakes up in the morning in his own bed he will realize that , that is where he belongs then is the time to reward him with a special breakfast treat

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Reward him with something he's been wanting for a while, or something that is very special to him.  For example tell him that if he starts sleeping in a big boy bed you will throw him a dinosaur party, etc.  Then be prepared that it is a process, and if he wakes up in the night, he will come back to your bed at first.  Hope that helps.

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