March 20, 2008,
J.M. asks from Adrian, MI on March 13, 2008
Getting 5 Year Old to Sleep in Own Bed
My husband and I started letting our daughter sleep with us when she was a toddler. Now that she is turning 5 and going to start school soon, I would like to start getting her to sleep in her own bed. I feel like I've tried everything. I've even laid in her bed with her until she fell asleep but she still ends up in our bed by morning. Any suggestions to make this process easier?
C.S. answers from Detroit on March 14, 2008
A few months ago I'd have said good luck! I hadn't had a night that a kid wasn't in my bed in ages. I have changed that though. You just have to keep putting her in her bed. She's old enough to understand that she needs to sleep in her bed. I had a few bad sleep nights but they both stay in their bed now. When sh comes in imediately take her back to her bed and tuck her back in. If you give in even once you'll be back to square one. Stick with it and she should be in her bed all night in no time. She's much older then my kids that were having the problem so to help her along you could promise her a new toy or a trip to a movie if she stays in her bed every night for a length of time(a week or 10 days). Hope this helps.
A.A. answers from Detroit on March 14, 2008
My brother and his wife had the same situation with their son. When my S.I.L called or advice I asked what they had already been doing. She told me that they had begun to move him slowly...the floor on a sleeping bag then from there to the door way then the hallway...etc. But by the time they did get him to his room he would freak out and not want his mom or dad to leave the room. SO I suggested getting a poster board and marking it with the days of the week, stickers for the nights he slept in his bed (room) the whole night and a treasure/prize box. She did that and it worked like a charm. The prize box was filled with toys or trinkets that HE got to choose at the store...so he wanted them -- but in order to get them he had to sleep in his bed for 5 days. It seemed hard a first but once he got it there was no problem.
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J.T. answers from Lansing on March 14, 2008
I had one child that would come to our room. We found that after we assured the child that he would be more comfortable in his bed, we offered him to lay on a sleeping bag beside our bed explaining our bed was only meant for two people. Soon he decided his bed was more comforable. Just a suggestion.
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N.P. answers from Kalamazoo on March 14, 2008
My daughter had the same issue. We let our two children sleep in their bed together and we made sure we had our own cuddle time before we left the room. I would have to check on her every 10-15 minutes for awhile until she finally fell asleep-and gradually increase the duration between checkups. I also used an incentive of getting a new comforter and pillows etc, in her favorite theme if she slept in her bed for a whole week without coming in our room. You could also use smaller incentives for each full night she stays in her own bed. Gradually this work BUT it did take awhile, you just have to be consistent when she shows up in your room and reassure her everything is ok and put her back in her room. Good luck, I know how hard it can be. She is old enough now that she can understand better.
T.V. answers from Saginaw on March 14, 2008
That's a Randy Carlson question. Get her to sleep in a sleeping bag next to your bed. Inch her out little by little until she is in her room.
Another idea might be to get her a bed tent and a flashlight if she is scared and see if she won't sleep in her bed.
Don't know if these will work for you or not but give it a try.
A.P. answers from Detroit on March 14, 2008
We have always been against our boys sleeping in bed with us, but somehow our youngest managed to weasle his way under our covers. We also tried lying in bed with him until he fell asleep, but soon after we left he would be back in bed with us. I think he got used to someone sleeping next to him - think of how weird it feels for us wives to go to sleep without our husbands.
We finally put a gate up. So when he woke up, he had to call for us. We would let him cry for a while, but he'd usually get too worked up so we would lay on the floor in his room (not in bed with him) until he settled down. It took a while, but he's now sleeping in his own bed again.
S.M. answers from Detroit on March 14, 2008
You could try a gradual process. Maybe let her sleep on the floor next to your bed in a sleeping bag and then each week (or whatever time period), you could get her closer to her own room.
A.H. answers from Detroit on March 14, 2008
Wow... I am so happy to read your responses as this helps me with the same problem (altho mine is 3 1/2)... I would love to get him to his own bed for the Whole Night!
We are doing the sleeping bag/blankets on the floor when he comes in and ask him: "do you want your bed or the floor" so he always responds "the floor."... Now, we sort of crack up and laugh, because he will drag his 'blankie' in with him to sleep on the floor sometimes! ;)
I guess we are somewhat in the right direction?
I feel for you... I think there are more of us parents with this issue than realized. I am happy I am not alone. (But I have to admit, there is nothing like a good warm snuggle when it's your only child!)
H.N. answers from Saginaw on March 15, 2008
From a Mom that has an incredibly strong willed 5 year old I would say pick your battles and STICK with your decision. My little girl was not wanting to go to the bathroom by herself, brush her teeth, or hair etc etc. along with not wanting to sleep in her own room. SO, I picked my battle.....hygiene was more important to me.....so EVERY NIGHT.....sometimes 2 or 3 times she would wander in my room, tap on my arm and say..."Mommy, I just want to sleep in your bed". I would take her back in her room very calmly lay her back in bed and kiss her on the forehead....tell her that she can not sleep in Mommy's bed....thats why its Mommys bed and you have YOUR bed. Once in awhile I would REWARD her with "if you sleep in you bed 3 more nights I will let you sleep with Mommy, ONLY because Mommy says its OK". This carried on for at least a month.....She now sleeps all the way through or at least doesn't wander in my room because she knows she is going to end up back in her room anyways.
Alot of it with 5 year olds especially is CONTROL. They think that they can control you. With little things.....such as climbing in your bed because they KNOW you will give in is perfect in their little minds.....I've been to a therapist regarding the struggles with my little girl.....each week we focus on ONE battle.......once we overcome that hump, we move on the to next.
I hope this helps, I know how hard it is to have a good nights sleep with a little one in your bed.