11 answers

Getting 3 1/2 Year Old to Sleep Alone All Night!

My daughter does not want to sleep in her own bed, wakes up several times in the night calling for one of us to come and sleep with her. Probably six months ago or more we moved her from her toddler bed into a full size. We go through her bedtime ritual every night, bath, stories, prayers etc, nightlight on, air purifier running to help muffle any distracting noise and leave her door open. Our room is right across the hall so we are not far away. Usually she will sleep for a few hours and then wakes and hollers for someone to come sleep with her. I usually go to her door and explain everything is OK and for her to go back to sleep although sometimes we are dead tired and just give in. Would welcome anything that will help us all get a good nights sleep! Thanks.

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It is hard not to give in, consistency is the key to making this work. My 2 1/2 year old has been coming to bed with us since we recently switched her from her crib (where she never woke up or cried in the night) to her toddler bed because we moved and weren't bringing the crib with. We've also been weaning her from the pacifier so at night we tell her she may not have the pacifier if she leaves her bed. That has worked the last two nights. She calls to me in the morning and is so proud of having stayed in her bed. I praise her and haven't found the right treat, so have been giving her a fruit roll-up (until I can get to the store and find other rewards). This morning she even woke up dry and went potty, so it was a double celebration. Good luck!

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I have a 3 1/2 yr old who has never really been a good sleeper. We rewarded her for staying in her room and that seemed to help. We also have a sleeping bag on our floor, so now she just comes in when she needs to and goes back to sleep...usually without waking us anymore. She sometimes needs help with the blankets and will normally go right back to sleep. This is WAY better then her crying in her room for us or wanting to sleep in our bed. When this was happeing, it was me that was up with her, fighting her and tending to her needs. When she wanted to sleep in our bed, it was me that normally slept on the couch.

Having a sleeping bag on the floor has worked great for us. She doesnt come in every night, but once or twice a week. It helps both of us get more nightly sleep.

Good luck.

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For what it's worth, I have an almost 4 year old that has been sleeping through the night (6 out of 7 nights) in her own bed since Christmas, when I bought her a heated matress pad. I think she was waking cold (she will NOT use a blanket) and would come into my bed. So, now she stays asleep most nights.

1 mom found this helpful

I can SO relate to this! We go through this everynight ourselves.
What seems to be working for us recently is a "camp out" corner in our room. When our son comes into our room in the middle of the night he goes to his camp out and sleeps there. It's easier than being up a few times a night, and he gets to sleep closer to us. So far, it seems to be a win-win situation!
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I know my son(who is 3) used to have the same problem. I found that he loves transformer toys. When he goes to bed I let him take as many transformers with him that will make him feel better or safe. I also close his bedroom door. It stays closed till he gets up in the morning or until I have to get him up. Sometimes he takes 1 toy to be sometimes he take 10. He is now at that age where he thinks that there are monsters in the closet. I tell him that I wil spray the monster spary(bathroom spray) in his room to keep the monsters out. He believes it. I try to not get up to tend to him and it did take about 1-1 1/2 weeks before it actually worked. I was very tired for those days but it worked and it broke the habit. Hope this works for you!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

I do not have any advice for you - I am on night 4 of not very much sleep. I have a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. My daughter has NEVER been a good sleeper. We thought it was a space issue (she moves around a lot at night) so we moved a double bed into her room. This works (kind of!!) but she does the same thing - cries until I go in and lay with her - generally meaning that I end up falling asleep with her - if I do wake up and try to go back to my own bed it is generally short-lived. My 2 year old was always a good sleeper and seems to be moving into a phase that when he wakes up he is doing the same thing - I have spent many nights flopping between sleeping with my daughter and then my son!! I hope we can both find something that works for us - I'm TIRED!!

Good luck - D.

1 mom found this helpful

You are definitely not alone. I think this is one of the most common problems that parents have posted about on here! We had this problem until my son was about 3 (and I had another baby so I put my foot down!). His problem now is that he at least wants us to lay by him until he falls asleep, and if we try to tiptoe out after he is asleep he will sometimes wake up and start to cry for us to come back in. He is almost 4 1/2 now. I tell him he is a big boy now and he doesn't need us to sleep with him. i will lay by him for about five minutes and then I tell him good night and I leave. Giving him a good night light helps. I got a cute one from walmart that looks like a little person. Its battery operated so he has it in bed next to him. It was in the baby section near the child proofing stuff. I have heard of people using some sort of sticker chart to help motivate their child to sleep alone. I just really pushed the big boy thing.

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Maybe try a reward system. You could make a chart where she could put a sticker on each morning after she has stayed and slept in her bed all night by herself. Once she does this for a certain length of time(you decide) she could earn a small reward, special dinner or a visit to somewhere she likes.

1 mom found this helpful

I used to have the same problem when my son was that age, but he wanted to come in our bed. We kept telling him that "big boys stay in their own bed all night" plus my husband would read him a story and say a prayer with him and eventually it worked! We also threatened to take away his favorite toy if he didn't stay in his bed all night. This really made it stick. He will be 5 in a couple of weeks and stays in his bed all night every night! Now, my 2 year old daughter wakes up crying and either wants to come in bed with us or needs one of us to lay with her! We are trying the same methods and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I definitely understand that you just need sleep!!!

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