21 answers

3 Year Old Wakes Every Night

I was wondering if anyone has experienced the same thing as us. Our 3 year old son has been waking up nearly every night for the last month now and wanting either myself or my hisband. He is not waking up crying so I do not think he has having nightmares. At first we had a safety thing on the door so he could not come out but we took it off as he would wake up and just bang the door until we came. Now he walks to the top of the stairs and calls us until we come. We put him straight back in bed and kiss him goodnight and leave the room. We do not lay with him and he usually goes back to sleep. Last night he came out 4 times!!! Please anyone have any ideas? We have tried a sticker chart so if he does not wake us up then he gets a sticker and when he has 3 he gets a small toy however this does not seem to work. I think he does not remember this in the middle of the night when he wakes up

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

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What we have told my boys is that if the sun isn't out/if there isn't any light outside, that it is not time to get up and to stay in their bed. It works for us and they only come down when they are scared or really need something. We went through a similar phase with both kids. I think they just get to an age where they are more aware when they wake up in the middle of the night. Hang in there, it should pass. :)


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How about a mattress or blankets on your bedroom floor where he can come in quietly and just lay down if he needs to be closer to you? My 4-year-old goes through phases where he needs to be closer to us and then just goes back to sleeping through the night. It sounds like his desire to be close to you is stronger than his desire for the toy right now. Also, I notice my son wakes more at night if he eats a lot of dairy or sugar. Is there anything different about his diet that could be causing him to wake or anything new developmentally -- trip coming up? school or home changes? reading or learning about something new? (My son woke a lot when we were reading about dinosaurs!)

2 moms found this helpful

I know all three of mine have gone through phases. Heck, I just woke up with my 6 yr old in the bed the other night. Didn't even know she was there until the morning. There are so many variables. Nightmares, temp off in the room, growth spurts, any number of reasons. We keep a sleeping bag in our room for when the cycle lasts for longer than a night. If he came out 4 times in the middle of the night something is definitely up. If it was once a night I would just think it just some reassurance, but 4 times, says that something needs to be addressed rather than going back to sleep. You just have to figure out what. When you touch him is he sweating or cold? Mine used to kick off their covers and wake up freezing. Finally turned the thermostat higher at night upstairs.

2 moms found this helpful

Hello D.,

have you figured out what's waking him up? what if you put one those sound machines in his room? is it too cold, too hot, etc. could the airconditioning unit be waking him up when it starts in the middle of the night? cars driving by? trains? airplanes? is he in a growth spurt and need extra protein at dinner time... so many questions and not enough sleep for you... Good luck! ~C.~

2 moms found this helpful

Hi I had this experience with my son before but slightly different he was having nightmares. I am not sure what could be causing this for your son it could be the very same thing. My Son did not cry either he would just come get in the bed with me in the middle of the night. I began to pray with him before he went to bed and kept a night light on for him. Maybe you do already but prayer to me was the best solution. Pray over him in his room before he goes to bed that the Lord gives him sweet dreams and peaceful sleep during the night and that nothing torment his dreams. Ask the Lord to place protection around his doors and windows as well.

1 mom found this helpful

Alright this is going to sound crazy to everyone reading, but I've seen it work 4 different times now with friends of mine. Some psychologists say that children have an innate desire for family togetherness and unity. Their whole world revolves around the security that mommy and daddy bring. Thus, if they do not see mommy and daddy directly loving each other in an obvious way, they may wake at night to see mom and dad work together to help him. Just give this a shot. I know that we get so so busy with work and house hold chores and caring for our children that often our precious time with our spouse is after the babies go to bed, the kids never see it. So for a week, as soon as you are both home, tell your son it's mommy and daddy's special time, give him a designated place to play in view of the couch, and just sit together where he is witness to you enjoying one another's company. Hold hands, give a little smooch and talk about your day. He may resist at first because he wants to be a part of this time, but explain to him that it's very important to mommy and daddy that they have 10 minutes to spend together. I'm telling you D., this works. It's nutty, but I have friends who tried EVERYTHING, and for whatever reason this just puts the kiddo at peace (not to mention helps you feel more connected with your spouse), enabling them to sleep. Give it a shot-everyone wants to know that their parents love each other right? And who knows, you might like it so much that you keep it around. It really helps my hubby and I after a long day. Good luck and please feel free to email me directly if you have questions!

1 mom found this helpful

My 3 yr old is doing the same thing! Sometimes she sleeps all night - other times she is up 3-4 times a night! Not good... I have noticed her imagination really developing and getting more vivid and I figure that is leading to more vivid and maybe even scary dreams. She hates bugs and a few times she has thought bugs were in her bed or on her! I've asked her why she woke mommy up so much and she has told me she just missed me! :) My older daughter did the same thing, so I am hoping that this phase will pass soon!
Good luck - hope we both get some sleep!

I also have a 3 year old who does the same thing sometimes. It may last a week or just be a few days in a row then nothing for a month. We have found that just puting him back to bed quietlyu works, but ours is just once a night.

We have also tried the potty, sometimes I think they wake up because they need to go but don't know it. We have worked hard on limiting drinks after 6:30 and one more trip to the bathroom before bed and that is helping.

Good luck

No answers here! I have never had the luxury of an all night sleeper. When my 3 year old wakes up and comes to our bedroom I always send him to the potty and then to his bed. I might lay with him or sometimes being tucked in is enough. One good thing..........since 2 1/2 he hardly ever wets the bed. He hasn't been in a pull up since last year and it's great! Oh and if it happens again during the night, he gets in bed with us. I'm to tired to fight about it and my husband doesn't mind. Hope things work out and I feel your pain

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