20 answers

4 Year Old Won't Sleep Alone

Any ideas on how to make my 4 year old girl sleep alone? She says she's afraid of the dark. Every night it's a
struggle to get her to go to bed.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much everybody!!! I took a little advice from all of you. I did have a night light already and I always leave the hall
light on. I did get a brighter night light and I leave her Strawberry Shortcake DVD on until she falls asleep. I'm also watching more
carefully the TV stuff she watches with her big 11 year old brother. I don't want her scared. This idea is helping, but last night she
snuck into my bed again in the middle of the night. I think she just likes the warmth of a body next to hers. It's getting better, but
she's still not 100% happy about sleeping "all by myself".

Featured Answers

My 4 year old is also afraid of the dark, she says there are monsters so I did buy her a nightlight and also spray monster spray in her room before she goes to bed..monster spray is easy just a water bottle with water in it add a little perfume to the water so it smells good. Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

I would try putting a night light in her room and sleeping with her in her bed until she falls asleep and praise her in the mornig and tell her what a big girl she is for sleeping in her bed.

More Answers

I had the same problem and I let my girls pick out a special lamp for a nite light and put a 15 watt bulb in it (just enough light). I also let them listen to their favorite music turned down low (it plays all night in case they wake up it also drowns out any noises they think they hear). It has worked wonders. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My 4 year old is also afraid of the dark, she says there are monsters so I did buy her a nightlight and also spray monster spray in her room before she goes to bed..monster spray is easy just a water bottle with water in it add a little perfume to the water so it smells good. Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried giving her a lamp on in her room? Both my children 7&9 have lamps in there rooms, they turn on when they go to bed. I just turn them off when i go to bed.

Have you tried sitting on her floor near the door? Every night you position yourself closer to the door and eventually sit outside the door. Also, find her a special flashlight that she picks out and place in her bed. She may not turn this flashlight on unless she is alone in her bed and feels scared. Even if you got up in the middle of the night and find her asleep with the flashlight on....at least she is sleeping in her own bed!

I would try putting a night light in her room and sleeping with her in her bed until she falls asleep and praise her in the mornig and tell her what a big girl she is for sleeping in her bed.

I had the same problem with my son when he was 4. I would lay down with him in his bed long enough for him to fall asleep.
Then after a while he adjusted cause he would wake up every morning an realize I was not sleeping with him all night. But he's adapted now!

M., have you tried a night light? If it's too dim, what we did and still do with our 7 year old is we leave the hall light on and leave her door ajar. She also has a wind up music box that we play for her after we kiss her goodnight and tuck her in tight. It's a simple ritual that works great for us!


Check this out-Twilight Turtle-it project pretty stars over the whole ceiling. You could play a peaceful CD, put this on. Just a thought.

My daughter is the same way. She just turned 5 and every night is a hassle. I think that part of it is my fault because when she was coming up,she never slept in her crib. She always slept with me. Before she goes to bed i let her pick out a dvd to watch. When she gets into bed,she'll put it in and most of the time she may fall asleep or when it goes off she'll get up cut it off and i have to get up and lay with her until she falls asleep. That seems to work.

Hi M.,
You may want to try laying in the room with her until she falls off to sleep. This is as new for her as it is for you , so comforting her in her room so that she may get comfortable and familiar with her room.

Your laying there with her will show that you care alot and also when she awakens and she's still in her own area of the house she will start to feel comfortable.

Maybe also try a dim lamp instead of the nite lite.

Good Luck!

First off definately try a VERY bright night light. It will be her special light at night. Next make sure you let her pick out a favorite cd of song's she loves and at night start the cd and let it play through. She will be asleep before the end of the cd. Laying with her is not going to help. If she wakes up and your not there, you are in big trouble because she is expecting you to be there when she opens her eyes just as she did when she closed them. It might be a little rough at first but she will come around.

My son will be four soon and we had a similar issue. Every night he would go to sleep in his bed but come to our bed in the middle of the night. We decided to do a reward system. I took a picture of his bed and taped it to his bedroom door. Every night he stayed in bed all night he got to put a sticker on the pic of his bed. When the stickers covered the pic we took him to the store and he got to pick out a toy. When we started this reward system he started to stay in his bed all night immediately. Needless to say he chose a remote control tractor! My son responds well to positive incentives. Maybe something like this would work for you and your daughter.

Another thing that might help is to monitor very closely what she is watching on TV. Sometimes tv programs including cartoons will give scary thoughts and ideas to children.

Does she have a night light? What about talking with her about what really scares her about the dark? See if you can prompt her to specifically identify the fears she has of the dark...try and come up with a "plan of action" for how to eliminate the fears. It's also important to have a consistent bedtime routine, which you may already have. Reassure you that you love her, that she needs to sleep by herself, but let her know where you are so she can come to your room and get you if she really needs you :) Blessings!

We had some issues with 6 year old daughter. We bought some rope lights for her room in purple and blue and they light up her room nicely. She loves them.
Good luck.

Make sure she does not watch any movies that are scary! harry potter included and some cartoons. If she does not watch that stuff then she is just doing that to make you let her sleep with you. That is a hard habit to break for kids! you will have some sleepless nights but make her stay in her own bed even if she cries and says"i am afraid of the DARK"!! SHe will get over it. Do it now or it will be much harder later, they come up with better reasons later! lol

do whatever it takes to soothe, calm, and reassure her. Staying in the room with her, night lights, stories, etc. My daughter is 4 and right before bed we talk about happy things...anything that puts good images in her mind, like princesses, angels, etc. This will probably pass and then, more than likely, reoccur again in years to come.

best of luck

Its very hard to make them feel safe once they have that fear, but I used to turn the light on and show that nothing was there even under bed, closet, etc. then I put night lights in bathroom, hall, their room so basically it was lit up! we prayed for protection while we slept and I usually sat with my son until he drifted off. He would still occasionally come and get into my bed, but over time he found that security in his own room.

Hi M.,

I have a 5 year old and 2 year old. We've had our share of the night time fears too. The year our daughter was four we felt that it was really important for her feel safe. Is our belief that once she feels safe then she will have the ability to sleep in another room. So, for a year she slept on a mattress on the floor by our bed. It was amazing how easily she went to bed and slept through the night. It was almost like training her body to learn how to sleep without stress. Now, she sleeps in her own room. She and her 2 year old brother sleep together. But she has recently asked to sleep on her own in the top bunk. It's baby steps of growing into independence. As a parent educator and coach I work with a lot of parents regarding sleep issues. As parents we seem to be really fixated on getting our kids to sleep alone. It is ironic - we get to sleep with our spouse - but our child must sleep all by themselves. Please don't feel guilty or like something is wrong with this very normal childhood response to the dark and sleep. Children want to be with us during the day and through the night - it makes sense. Easing them into it and establishing a foundation of safety and trust will only allow her to become more secure.

If you need more support with this, don't hesitate to contact me.

let her pick out a special night light that she likes. they have this really great one at babies r us that looks like a little toy. it is battery operated and they can take it right into the bed with them.

I have a friend who had the same problem with her 4-year-old who claimed monsters were in his room. The daycare helped her out and seem to have solved the problem. You know at this age they all want to be a big boy or big girl. So the daycare director asked them who all slept in their own beds and made such a big deal about how only big kids do it and that if they wanted to be big they would have to do it and then give an incentive until it comes naturally. If your child does not go to a daycare or sitter get someone outside of the home like a grandparent or friend to do it. My friend said he went to his own room that same night and slept all night in his bed and has been every since and before he had exclusively slept with her and her husband. So give it a try it just might work for you as well.

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