7 answers

Getting a 4 Year Old to Sleep in His Own Bed

We stayed with my brother while our house was being built 2 years ago and ever since then I haven't been able to get my 4 year old to sleep in his bed the whole night. He always starts out there, but ends up crawling in bed with mommy and daddy before the night is over. We also have an 11 month old so needless to say I'm exhausted and don't always wake up when he sneaks in to put him back in his own room. I've tried everything I can think of!!

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Hmmmm....tough one! We went through this too. We actually ended up having three of our four kids coming in to our room at night and crawling in bed with us. It was miserable for sleeping! We made a sticker chart for them and every time they fell alseep in their own room, they put a sticker on their chart the next morning. If they stayed in their room all night, they could put a sticker in that catagory too. Once they reached a certain amount of stickers (we started at 10, and eventually put it at 20) they could go to the Dollar Store and pick something out. For whatever reason the Dollar Store is the greatest place on earth to them! It worked great! They loved the "game" feeling of it all. If they did come in our room, we would remind them that they were not getting a sticker in the morning if they stayed, and most of the time they turned around and went back to bed.

It has been at least a year now and we don't have to do the chart anymore. They will still come in our room in the middle of the night every once in awhile, but the rule is, if they come in, they have to sleep on the floor. The bed is for mommy and daddy. (unless there is a sickness or bad dream)

I hope you can come up with a solution! I know it is frustrating. Hang in there....I'm pulling for you! I know how precious sleep is to a tired mommy!

Hi, H.!
I am going through this with my almost-four-year-old daughter. The only difference is we never allowed her in our bed (only a sleeping bag on the floor.) Fortunately, we have been working on it for a couple of weeks now and things are drastically getting better! We did the chart with the stickers idea. For every night she stays in her bed she gets to put a sticker on her calendar in the morning. When she gets five stickers, she will get a prize! After she accomplishes five nights of staying in her bed, I will up it to ten and then fifteen. Hopefully by then it will be habit! We had a couple rough nights in the beginning, actually getting up when she came in to our room and returning her to her own bed. Thankfully, my husband was a great help. The persistence really paid off, though. Keep at it, it really works ... and is worth it!
Good luck,

My 4 year old doesn't sleep alone either!! I think it all started out with breastfeeding and keeping him in bed with me as an infant. I tried the whole "letting him cry it out" and that would drive me crazy. Thankfully I also have a 10 year old so when we wouldn't give in anymore, my son would go sleep with my daughter. I would have no clue if it wasn't for my daughter's bed. Super Nanny said to stick with it, and that's what we did. He doesn't even think about our bed anymore- he goes straight to his sister. I don't know... is the 11 month old too young to sleep with him? Maybe he just needs a warm body next to him at night. But gosh, I really encourage you to stick with it... there's nothing like getting the intimacy back when the kids are out!!

Hello H.

I also have a 4 year old boy and an 11-month old girl. My son slept with us until he was 3-1/2. Never slept in his own bed until then. He got a new toddler bed last Christmas from Santa and he loved it. I was afraid he wouldn't sleep in it after all this time sleeping with us, plus the baby's crib being in our bedroom...
Well, he did great, slept by himself. He tried talking about sleeping with us 2 or 3 times, but I told him that I saw a big spider in our bed (he's afraid of spiders). Never had any problems since then!
I know this is not a scientific way or anything< but it worked!
The only time he comes into our bed now is when he has a bad dream or is afraid of the thunder. It happened a total of 3 times since January of this year!. I hope this helps...
Good luck.

We have the same problem and every night have to get up and walk her back to her own bed. If you figure it out. Please let me know.

Have you tried putting a gate on his doorway so he can't get out? After a few nights he'll figure out that he'd best just stay in his room to start with.

Take a look at Ferber's book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems." He specifically addresses the problem you have right now.

We had this problem with our 3 year old a few months back. He would start out in his bed and then climb into ours. We were so tired we just didn't fight it. Eventually it was every night, and my husband couldn't stand it. We first turned his bed into an awesome cave. We draped a dark sheet over the top and tied it to the head and foot boards. We played in it with him during the day and kept talking about how cool it was. In just a few days, he was so excited to sleep in his new cave that he stopped coming to our bed. During those few days, if he came in to our room, we took him back and covered him up. Now he stays in his own bed every night. If he likes pirates, try turning it into a pirate ship. It works like a charm. Good luck. Trust me, he won't want to sleep with you forever.

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