How do you get a 4 year old to stay in bed all night?

Holly - posted on 01/27/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My daughter has to fall asleep with you in the room and then wakes up between 1am-3 am and crawls in bed with us. She has been doing this for a long time now and both hubby and I want our bed back. We have tried taking things away, putting her back in her bed and closing the door, letting her cry it out, "if you sleep in your bed all night we will..." anyone with a similar problem that could give me an idea?

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Holly - posted on 01/27/2010

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Thanks for all the ideas ladies! My husband reads her a story every night and then lays with her until she falls asleep. It is usually a quick process if she had an active day..(we live in Washington, so there's only so much you can do in a one story house when it rains!) I have done the pillow and sleeping bag thing, but end up feeling bad for her because the "area" she has to sleep on the floor is pretty limited. I have also tried leaving the door open a little bit for her. I took a few of her favorite things away today, so that she can get them back tomorrow once she has made it in her bed until the "sun wakes up". I have done this before and no luck. She just found something else...but it was a small thing...this time it's a couple big things. I feel terrible taking things away, but I am seriously at my wits end. We don't let her watch TV after tubby time. I wish I had a "spare" room to put toys in. Our living room has doubled as a toy room also and if I tried to put ALL the toys out there..I would have more of a never ending mess than I do now. Am I just screwed? I try the big girl talks...I think I have tried everything you have mentioned. Maybe tonight she will take me seriously...and want her things back. Thanks again for the help though!

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I think all my kids started doing this at that age.... We just have the rule that they can come in, but they have to sleep on our floor with their own pillow and blanket.

At the age of 4, your daughter is going through a vivid imagination and that can really be scary at night time. (I still remember calling my mom to my room every night "for a drink" after waking up with a nightmare. I was too scared to tell my mom about the nightmare. Bless her for not making me cry it out. I don't think I would have had that patience, though.)

My son has slept better in his room at his new house because he can see the moon/stars out his open window - and it's a lot brighter.

Also - another thing that helps (not all the time but a lot) is that we bought one of those plastic "fish tanks" (fake fish that move around in circles). I tell him to watch for Nemo, and sometimes he'll zonk out that way. We keep it on all night.

I also noticed that if my son does any movies, tv, heavy visual items after dinner, he tends to have a worse night's sleep. So, we cut that out, which he hated because he was use to a "goodnight show."

We also have a "sleep room" (his bedroom) void of all toys. We put toys into a playroom/study/everything else room. Honestly, I think I'd have a hard time sleeping if my bedroom had as many toys in it as most 4-year-old bedrooms. We double up kids in the "sleep room." That has helped.

Just some ideas to think about.....

Erin - posted on 01/27/2010

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with my daughter,she will be 4 next month, we had a talk about what it ment to be a big girl, and she wanted to be a big girl more then anything. i used to have to lay down with her until she went to sleep and she would end up in my bed a few hours later. after our talk i promised her choc. chip pancakes for breakfast if she spent all night in her room, it seemed like she would sleep in her room every other night then, and if i woke up with her in my bed i would remind her about being a big girl. now, about 6 months later, we have our story and snuggle time, i kiss her gn and i walk out of the room. she still comes down once in awhile, but not very often, and my older girl hasn't come down in months,she is 6 and shared our bed until 2 and a half.

Monica - posted on 01/27/2010

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you could start with staying with her until she falls asleep, and then slowly doing that for shorter periods of time until she's used to you leaving her in her bed and going to sleep by herself. She's only doing it because she wants to be close to you! A good thing that i got to do was tell my son that he could see me, because our bedrooms are facing each other, so if i left both doors open, he could see half of my bed from his, and know i was there. that helped me keep him in his bed!! :)

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