21 answers

2 Year Old Keeps Sleeping in Our Bed

My 2 year old son keeps waking up at night and coming to sleep in mine & my husband's bed. It isn't a major problem but is starting to get really annoying. Our first son co-slept with us until he was 14 months old, but had no problem sleeping in his own bed. We don't even know when he comes in, we wake up in the morning and he is there. We used to have a baby gate up at his door, but he climbs it. I'm looking for some tips that others have tried. Thanks!

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I can't believe I'm admitting this, but my son is 9 and he still occassionally sneaks in late at night and I wake up with him beside me in the morning....I think that's the reason we upgraded to a California King sized bed. I think I always let him creep in around 2am because I could sleep better knowing that he was safely in between us. All I can really tell you, is that as he's getting older I wish that I broke the habit earlier. I feel like my bedroom is the only room I can have some privacy, but sometimes I don't have that anymore because of this habit I failed to stop earlier. Good luck!

My son is 4 and is a really quiet when he comes in, too. I use to sleep as close to the edge as I could, but he would sneak in and somehow fit in there. We have a chart that shows how often he sleeps in his own bed all night (with the bathroom light on, nightlights don't work for him). We reward him with time alone with either of us to a movie, meal, or just any outing where it is just him (not his sister). It's worked so far. And we had to extend bedtime rituals: watch him brush his teeth, wash his face, put on pjs (and praise) plus read him his own bettime story (in addition to his sisters and their co-story). As long as he gets some alone time with us, he's not so clingy. I hope this helps.

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Hi H.,
My daughter is going to be 1 year old this month so I don't have any experience with this issue however I do remember reading a suggestion for this problem somewhere or maybe on nanny911. The suggestion was to attach a belly to the door so that when the child enters you'll hear it and then can put them back in their room. That doing this a few nights in a row should break this habit. It might be hard for you to hear the bell if you and your husband are heavy sleepers.
Please let me know if you try it and it works. Then if it happens to me I know a sure fire way to resolve it. (I'm a very light sleeper).
Best of luck to you!
J.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.- we had a similar problem with our oldest. We co-slept while breastfeeding both daughters- but only one of my girls had trouble moving into her own bed.
I fixed the night wanderings with consistency and firmness. For the first week or so after the wanderings started- I put a sleeping bag and pillow on the floor next to my bed. She could come in and sleep there if she wanted to- but definately not in my bed and I asked her not to wake me up. (I heard her anyway- but this let her know that my sleep was important).
After a week or so I moved the sleeping bag to the foot of my bed so if she needed to come in she could- but she wouldn't be next to me. Just close by. At this point she actually stopped coming in to my room! I think she figured out that she wasn't going to get what she wanted so she just stayed in her bed!
This worked for us- I hope it can help at least a bit!
Good luck!
-S.

Hi H.,
My daughter is 2, but she is still in a crib with a crib tent, so I don't have any experience with this, but maybe you have heard of a dutch door. It's a door which can open fully, or only on the top. The bottom locks on the opposite side of his bedroom, so he can't get out, Leave the top open so you can still hear him, and he won't feel closed in.

I can't believe I'm admitting this, but my son is 9 and he still occassionally sneaks in late at night and I wake up with him beside me in the morning....I think that's the reason we upgraded to a California King sized bed. I think I always let him creep in around 2am because I could sleep better knowing that he was safely in between us. All I can really tell you, is that as he's getting older I wish that I broke the habit earlier. I feel like my bedroom is the only room I can have some privacy, but sometimes I don't have that anymore because of this habit I failed to stop earlier. Good luck!

H.,
We had that same problem with our 2 year old. I reversed the lock on his bedroom door so the lock was on the outside of his room and we locked him in at night. I know this might sound cruel but it worked. We really only used it for maybe a week. As a Mom it was tough hearing him cry for the first few nights. After that we told him if he slept in his bed we wouldn't lock it. He only comes into our room if there is a huge thunderstorm. I got this idea from many other parents and it does work. Good Luck!!!

Hi H.:
Yes I have the same problem and my boyfriend didn't help at all. And know I'm not liveing with him and married to someone else and it's sad that he's know 11 yrs old and still sleeps with his dad and his dad lets him sleep with him. But when my son comes to visit with me he sleeps on the couch and does not come into my room to sleep with me. But he did go and sleep in the same room with his sister and I had talked to him saying that when you sleep at mommy's house you sleep on the couch and not in your sister's room you are both to old to sleep together and it's not right. And he's been sleeping on the couch when he does sleep over my house. It's a crime shame that his father don't inforce it at all. He claims he does tell his son not to sleep in the bedroom but I think he's full of it.
My advice is keep putting your child in the bedroom even if the child comes to your room to sleep. Just keep repeating.

I wonder if you set up a little sleeping area next to your bed on the floor for him? Good luck.

We had this problem with our daughter and solved it by putting up a baby gate in her doorway. If she cried, my husband would go in her room, put her back in bed but would not let her come into our room. It took a few days but eventually it stopped and we were able to take the baby gate down.

My son (4) did this also from 2 - 3 but not every night. He loves Chocolate milk!! So one night I said if he stayed in his bed all night (or at least until the sun comes up, he could have chocolate milk in the morning. And we wouldn't give it to him any other time - no exceptions. It took a little while but it did work. Not every night at first but now it's been 6 months or so and he stays in his bed. He gets really excited in the morning. He even asks "Did I stay in my bed all night?" and then says "I get chocolate milk!"

Find something he really likes to eat or drink or even play with. I use Play-doh for special occasions or milestones and only bring it out to praise! Best of Luck.

HI H., MY SON ALSO TRIED TO SLEEP WITH ME. I TRIED TO MAKE IT FUN FOR HIM TO SLEEP IN HIS OWN BED, BY ACTING LIKE IT GAME. IF HE SLEPT IN HIS BED ALL NIGHT, HE RECIEVED A PRIZE. I PUT UP A CHART ON THE WALL AND GAVE HIM STICKERS (HE PICKED OUT THE ONES HE LIKED) THEN I ADDED A STICKER TO THE CHART WHEN HE DID SLEEP IN HIS OWN BED. HE RECIEVED A PRIZE AT THE END OF THE WEEK. IF A WEEK IS TO LONG DO IT DAILY. I HOPE THIS WAS HELPFUL.
S.

I have been told that you can stack gates or cut his door in half and leave the top open or maybe reward him with a sticker chart or something like that on the nights he stays in his own bed.

To be honest, My 5 year old daughter does the same thing. Her big problem is nightmares. Is your son having bad dreams?

Cloe doesn't come into our room at night now, unless it is because of a dream. I stopped it by compromising. I told ehr that once the sun is up, she can come and cuddle with us for a little while, but not before then. This works especially well for me, because I get up really early to bring my boyfriend to the bus, as he commutes to New York. Cloe then will climb in with me for a couple of hours after we get home, which allows me to get more sleep.

If you don't mind the cuddle time, try to explain that he can only come into the room in the morning. If he needs to come in during the night, tell him he needs to sleep on the floor. That has also worked. Once again, this is all compromise. If that isn't going to fly with your personality and lifestyle, then that is fine. But I will mention that other countries have their families sleep in the same bed, adn the children grow up well adjusted. So if taht is the concern, it shouldn't be to much to worry about.

Also, try talking to your doctor.

he might be a little young for this, but you may want to ask why he is doing this. Is he scared of the dark or having bad dreams? My son is is 4 and is still doing this; we went to the store together to pick out a nightlight, and this helps him alot since he is scared of the dark. Since he got the nightlight he has been better about staying in his bed.

My son is 4 and is a really quiet when he comes in, too. I use to sleep as close to the edge as I could, but he would sneak in and somehow fit in there. We have a chart that shows how often he sleeps in his own bed all night (with the bathroom light on, nightlights don't work for him). We reward him with time alone with either of us to a movie, meal, or just any outing where it is just him (not his sister). It's worked so far. And we had to extend bedtime rituals: watch him brush his teeth, wash his face, put on pjs (and praise) plus read him his own bettime story (in addition to his sisters and their co-story). As long as he gets some alone time with us, he's not so clingy. I hope this helps.

I don't know if this will work for your family and it doesn't always work for ours but this is what we often do. My daughter is 4 1/2 and wakes up almost every night. When this happens my husband goes in and sleeps in her bed with her while I stay in our bed with our 2 year old. Not always the ideal solution but it lets everyone get some sleep.

Hello,
I don't have any fool proof advice, but it seems to me that you just need to find a way to make sure you hear him when he sneaks into your bed. Can you put a bell on your door and on the part of the bed where he crawls into. Something to wake you up, so you can put him back into his own bed. I am a very light sleeper, so I always heard my boys get up and come in, but we did have this issue with both of them. Sometimes I would give in and let them sleep with us, but it never became a habit. Hope you can figure something out. Good luck.
A.

I have a 2 1/2 year old son who is exactly the same. Sometimes he manages to sneak in the bed without even waking us up, so I know what you mean. He hasn't slept on his own thru the night since he was a baby. A little backwards, I know but true. I tried to let him "cry it out" when he wanted to come with us but nothing worked. All my friends with kids just keep telling me that when he's ready to be on his own he will so just hang in there and it will pass :)

I share your pain and frustration...at least your email made me fell alittle better as well as the emails from the rest of the mommies. I thought I had my son cured but we went on vacation and I let him sleep in the hotel bed with me and it started all over again.

I will begin to put him in his bed each night again and read to him and sing songs. This tires him out more and hopefully it will work as it did last time. If not I will have to resort to bribery and "special" treats for my big boy who sleeps in his own bed.

If you have any good advise that works, please send it on to me and I will do the same.

Good luck!

My son used to do this too; but I am a light sleeper, so I knew right when he was doing it. All I did was get right up and gently walk him back to his bed, tuck him in and kiss him goodnight. It took many nights of doing this, and at first I had to do that a few times a night, then it became only once a night, then the nights came few and far between. Just be gentle, loving, and consistent. Don't let him sleep with you because you're too tired to walk him into his room at that moment; it's important that you are consistent about this if you want to stop that behavior. We never co-slept like you did, but if he had no problem with sleeping in his own bed, I don't see that this wouldn't work for your family too. Good luck!
J.

H...I know how you feel ;)..my daughter was the same way and still comes into bed w/ me after my husband goes to work ( with my 3 month old who is already is our bed). W/ our daughter we got one of those aquarium music boxes that goes into her bed. She loves it and uses it to get herself back to sleep. It also amuses her when she cannot sleep and seems to soothe her. Soon we are going to try to graduate to a continuous play cd player w/ classical music. The only thing that worked for us was putting her back into her room and telling her that if she went back to sleep that she could come into bed when Daddy went to work. We also made a HUGE deal out of her staying in her own bed and when she did she got to call her grandparents and brag.

Good luck!!

S.

my sister in law had a screen door put on her daughters room, maybe you can try that and lock it so he can't get in, unless he needs to leave his room at night for potty or something that hsould be fine, otherwise put the screen on your room and lock it so he can't get in

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