27 answers

How Do I Get My 5 Year Old to Sleep in Her Own Bed All Night?

I have a beautiful 5 year old daughter that will not sleep in her own bed. We have tried it all, She's the baby of the family, so I think that may be some of the cause... supportive positive advice Only Please! Thank you!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My mom solved this problem with me years ago by getting me my own kitten. I don't know if that's something you could do, but it's a thought! Good luck!

Hi Darlene -
Don't have any advice. But wanted to let you know that this is very common, as you can tell by the other responses. My oldest daughter is 5 1/2 and still sleeping with us too. She is such a great child, its hard for me to be strict with her. (which I never have to be)
I know that soon she will go back to her own room/bed and I am not worried about it. We also have twin 3 year old boys and they stay in their (separate) rooms until we get them in the morning. I think my daughter just sometimes needs special time with her Mom.

Do you watch Supernanny? If not, you should. Kids not sleeping in their own bed seems to be a common thing. Supernanny's suggestion is to put her in her own bed, tuck her in and give her lots of lovin. If she gets up, tell her it's time to go to bed and walk her back in. If she gets up again, don't say anything and then walk her back again. No talking at all on this step even if she throws a fit. If she gets up again, walk her back and put her to bed with no talking to her. You basically have to keep doing it till she gives up. It may be a long few nights the first few, but stick with it and she'll eventually learn who's boss. She's old enough to get it. Again, I suggest you watch Supernanny. She has some really good techniques with stuff like this. Good luck.

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I thought my daughter would be in our bed until she started college. We tried the sticking her in her crib thing and letting her cry til she went to sleep. I don't know who thought that was a good idea!!! I only did that once. Then, I had all kinds of advice. The most reassuring was that she wouldn't still be sleeping with us when she went to college. And, one person even said, "And if she is, so what..." Very reassuring. I just quit worrying about it. She would go to sleep overs and summer camp. She would sleep in her bed when a friend slept over. I started reading to her in her bed and staying til she went to sleep. some nights she slept all nite. If she woke for any reason, she came to our bed. We always let her in.
Then, suddenly, out of the blue, she started insisting on sleeping in her own bed and going to sleep without me! Now I'm the one who needs help as my daughter takes a step further toward independence. I think it will come on it's own.

1 mom found this helpful

You said that you have tried it then now it is time for some tough love. Don't reason with her or give her any choice. Tell her that she is going to sleep in her own bed tonight. Follow your normal bed time routine and then put her to bed at her normal time. Every time she gets up, and she will, just put her back to bed. It is very important that you just do it and don't talk about it. It will be rough for a few nights but it will work. And no matter how much she cries or whines just remeber that you are doing this because you love her, you don't want her still sleeping in your bed when she is 20.

1 mom found this helpful

I, too have a 5 yr old daughter and she used to not have a problem with sleeping in her "princess room". Then all of a sudden, she became afraid of the dark(eventhough we have a nightlight)and she wouldn't want to sleep in her room anymore!

I think that children have "phases" that they go through and she was going through a phase. Patience is the best. I usually lay down on her floor wrapped in a blanket and sing or read to her to help her fall asleep. She is more relaxed if she knows that Mommy will be there until she falls asleep. I have no problem w/that....I enjoy watching her get sleepy and fall asleep(sometimes holding my hand). It's these memories that will be forever etched in my mind and hopefully hers as well.

Try lying down or sitting in a chair next to her bed to help her fall asleep...sometimes they just "need us" and if they know that we will be there until they fall asleep, it may help your daughter to rest easier. Don't yell, cry or get frustrated, they are still little, remember, they've only been on this earth for 5 years....their minds are developing and they still need Mommy!

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. I will repeat - consistancy, a routine,and letting her know this is how it is. She is deffinately old enough to understand, and definately ask her why. I got pneumonia when I was four. After that I would not sleep in my bed. I was convinced that I would not be able to breath. I was not allowed to sleep in my parents bed, snuggling was fine. But what my mom said okay to until I was almost ten ( I personally made myself sleep in a bed at 10) I slept in the doorway on the floor, where I could view my parents bedroom door. THat was enough. As long as I could see there door, I desided that I would be okay. My brother eventually joined me and we had great times. Him in his doorway, and me in mine. And just think, my parents had just bought us each brand new beds. :) It is some type of fear reaction. My 2y son is going thru some of it, not wanting to stay in his crib, wnating to be around people. As long as I can show him it is dark outside, he goes back and sits(so he's not sleeping) and eventually falls asleep. In the am he cannot come to our room for snuggles before 7am...then its light and I've got nothing :) - wake up moma- wake up!!!
And Just think...it will pay off now: I had a friend growing up, we are talking highschool age, and she still would sleep in her parents bed at times...NO thankyou.

1 mom found this helpful

I am not sure if you have tried this or not but we have the same problem and its getting so much better. I was told by my peds doctor to put them to bed awake, set the rule they throw a tantrum we cant stay in the room if you are good and lay there then I will stay in the room until your asleep then you tell them to close their eyes and every time they open their eyes you remind them to close their eyes eventually they will fall asleep if they wake at night you do the same thing not giveing into them. and after a couple of nights sitting by the bed side you move to the door way and then to the hall and in a short time they will learn they must sleep in their bed and will do so. My daughter is on the door way stage and so far its working great!!! I hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

I'm having the same problem with my 5 year old daughter! We also have a 3 year old daughter who climbs into our bed in the wee hours of the night. Even with a king size bed there is not enough room for the 4 of us. We put them back into their beds each time they slip into ours, but I must admit that some nights it is easier to just leave them in our bed and cuddle into their beds! I know that is not the way to get them to sleep through the night in their own beds, but at least we get a couple hours of rest! My husband is working out of town for the next 4 months, this has made it harder for me to bring my snuggle bugs back to their beds! I have heard a million times over that presistance is key, so I think I just have to suck it up and keep bringing them back to their beds! I will be excited to hear the responces to your request, thank you for letting me know that my 5 year old little one is not the only waker and bed taker!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Darlene! I had the same problem with all of my kids. (I have a 23 year old son and 19 and 13 year old daughters.) I really don't have the way to get her to sleep in her own bed. I just gave up the fight and they slept with my husband and I, and eventually slept in their own beds. They are very healthy and stable children that have adapted to different situations very well. They also have stayed very close emotionally with me(in a healthy way)and are not afraid to talk with me about just about anything! I have found that we have to choose our battles. I have read the other responses about the Super Nanny responses, but I would rather have my kids well adjusted and able to feel comfortable to come into mom and dad's room. My husband and I had our intimate time also, not with the kids around, but we got very creative. It made it fun also.

1 mom found this helpful

"Lock her in". That is crazy advise! When my sister was young the pediatrician told my mom the same thing and I can tell you my sister is STILL upset about it to this day! She was petrified as a child. She is 33 today. Luckily I came along later and my mom had abandoned that theory.

I agree with people suggesting the Super Nanny method. Also, we also have a few props in our house for our 4 year old. We keep a can of "Monster-B-Gone" and "Sleepy Spray" at all times. Really they are bottles of air freshner. Tell your little one the trick is they only work when they are in bed. My daughter knows this and once we spray she stays in bed. It worked pretty quickly. She looks forward to it at night. We tuck her in, read, say a prayer asking God to send angels into her room and spray. She loves the angels and spray that protect her at night. Occasionally she still sneaks back in our room, but I usually don't even notice becuase she makes a palett on the floor next to my bed. Good luck! Please DO NOT lock your child in her room!

1 mom found this helpful

I had this problem with my daughter. She had been sleeping in her own room until she was 5, and then her father left for another woman, divorced me, and this really affected her. (Sarah). The night he left for good she was unconsolable, and started sleeping with me in my bed, and I couldn't get her out and back into her own room for 3 years!! Being a single mom, it wasn't that crucial, but this can be really hard on a marriage. Here's what I finally did.
I (we, with the help of a good friend), completely redecorated her room and got her totally involved in it. (I think this could work too, hopefully, for a five year old as well). She got to pick the colors, theme, etc. She chose a princess theme, with an Arabian nights kind of twist, and really took ownership of the whole process!, once I convinced her that she was really in charge, because the room belonged to her!
Her room turned out really nice, and I was able to do it very inexpensively. Sarah participated in all of it; the painting, positioning of the furniture, bed, etc., hanging the pictures, and I just did it the way she wanted and she loved it! I think she really felt grown up.
It's important that you teach your daughter that your bedroom "belongs" to you and your husband. It's your special sanctuary. Hopefully you can get her into that idea of real ownership and pride of her own room and she will buy into it without too much resistance. At any rate, whatever you do, you have to stick to your guns if she resists and let her know that you and your husband are in charge, and ultimately, she must do what you say. But try to keep things on the positive. Offer small rewards when she does stay the night in her room and give her praise, but don't be overly excessive.

1 mom found this helpful

Try either putting her in her own bed & either reading her a bed time story & lay down with her on her bed until she goes to sleep.Every time she gets up & comes to your room you will have to get up & go back with her to her bed & lay down with her until she goes to sleep. It may take a night or 2,To wear her down. She needs to know that her room is her room & your room is your room when it is time for bed. You could also try on a weekend to have 1 of her sister take a turn sleeping in her room with her.

I have the same problem with my 5 1/2 son. His sister, his twin, falls right to sleep in her own bed, but he constantly comes down after he's been in his room sometimes for up to an hour. We have found with him that when we take the time and effort to keep bringing him back up to his room, he finally gives up and we can go for weeks without him comming down.

To help him, he sleeps with a few favorite animals, we lie with him for about 15 minutes and tell him we will come back and check on him. We assure him that if he wakes up in the night he can call out for us (he hardly ever does).

If it is a monster issue, I have a good one for that. We took an empty spray can and labeled it "Monster Spray" We pretend to spray it all over his room before he goes to sleep, under the bed, in the closet, we even let him shake it a few times. This worked so well when he was younger, we don't have to do it much anymore. make sure the can is empty, or just use something that makes the rattling noise. Keep it up high so she knows it is not for her to play with but for nightime use only.

I hope this helps

Like somebody else mentioned, I think it's important to ask why. My almost 5 year old son said he couldn't go to sleep (and he was never going to sleep, etc..) and wanted to come to our room. I told him that he doesn't have to go to sleep, he just needs to stay in his bed. We put stars on his ceiling so he would have something to look at while he "wasn't sleeping".. of course, he falls asleep every night. I think it's important to let them have some control and not make it a battle.

Well if you both agree it is time it is up to both of you to make it happen. You put her back in her bed, explain she is to go to sleep, then every time continue the process. Super Nanny style more or less. She knows eventually you will cave so she isn't buying into anything anymore. I wouldn't let her watch TV as you don't want her dependent on that to get her to sleep. Establish a routine, brushing teeth, jammies, washing face, brushing hair, snuggle her into bed, read her a few stories then lights out! Period. No discussion, no arguement. She is more then old enough to know she is playing you and going to get her way, just don't cave. No matter how tired you are if you and your husband are a united front and both continue to stay the same then she will eventually give up and sleep in her own bed. Just tell her it isn't up for talking about and she is more then old enough to sleep in her own bed!

you can limit her bed time with you as, suggle time. emphaze that mommie and daddie need special time too. My daughter is 16 years old now and we still have snuggle time. usually in the morning with a respectful knock on our door. That's a way to stay close and connected.

D.

My mom solved this problem with me years ago by getting me my own kitten. I don't know if that's something you could do, but it's a thought! Good luck!

Hi Darlene -
Don't have any advice. But wanted to let you know that this is very common, as you can tell by the other responses. My oldest daughter is 5 1/2 and still sleeping with us too. She is such a great child, its hard for me to be strict with her. (which I never have to be)
I know that soon she will go back to her own room/bed and I am not worried about it. We also have twin 3 year old boys and they stay in their (separate) rooms until we get them in the morning. I think my daughter just sometimes needs special time with her Mom.

Hi, we started sleeping in our daugters be with her. I would fall asleep most nights and not change to my bed until hours later. Sometimes she would follow but after a week or two...yep, she got the hint that we would go back to her bed anyway and that is where she would be sleeping. It is so hard to be a good parent at 2:00 am but you gotta be strong and know that it will come to an end soon. Good luck!! P.s. This worked with all three of my children.

You might let her pick out a stuffed animal to sleep with at night and put a night light in her room. I had to do that with my youngest when she was little. It takes some time but she will adjust. Good luck!!

I have a five year old too. What a fun age! They have such great imaginations. My son's room is filled with monsters, giant spiders, robbers, mean guys, spooky shadows, mean dogs, and who knows what else. He used to come crawl in bed with us frequently. When we told him that was not OK, he would park himself on the floor and almost got squashed a few times in the morning by us, not knowing he was there. Have you talked to her about her fears of her room? I laid in bed with Zach and he showed me all the spooky things - shadows, cobwebs, shapes in the closet. Seeing it through his eyes was quite revealing. We made a few changes, gave him extra light, a cute "watch dog" to sleep with him, an angel to watch over him. He has an open invitation to come get us if he needs us, but he may not crawl into our bed. We are also more careful about what he sees on TV. Things are much better. Good luck.

Lock her in, close your door, and cover your ears with a pillow. I know it sounds harsh, but she will learn (in probably less than a week) that she sleeps in her own room. Children thrive more when they have structure and specific expectations that they know they have to meet. They feel more safe and secure when there are rules and they are not permitted to break them (though of course they don't consciously know this). Good luck! It will be a tough week, but in the end, you both will end up with a good night's sleep! About me: I am 34 and have four daughters, ages 10, 8, 5, and 15 months and all of them (except the 8 year old) are as stubborn as they come about doing what they want when they want. It's tough, but being firm and consistent is the key!

Have you ever watched SuperNanny? One of the best things she does is the bedtime thing. It's going to take a few nights of crappy sleep, but I promise it works. Make a ritual of going to bed, maybe include reading a book to her in her bed, kiss her good night and leave the room. When she gets up, take her back to her bed, tuck her in, tell her you love her, and leave.

If she gets up again, repeat without speaking (especially if you're cranky about getting up again). It is incredibly nerve-wracking, but it's the best way to get her to see that no matter how often she gets up, the end result is her own bed. Good luck!!

Do you watch Supernanny? If not, you should. Kids not sleeping in their own bed seems to be a common thing. Supernanny's suggestion is to put her in her own bed, tuck her in and give her lots of lovin. If she gets up, tell her it's time to go to bed and walk her back in. If she gets up again, don't say anything and then walk her back again. No talking at all on this step even if she throws a fit. If she gets up again, walk her back and put her to bed with no talking to her. You basically have to keep doing it till she gives up. It may be a long few nights the first few, but stick with it and she'll eventually learn who's boss. She's old enough to get it. Again, I suggest you watch Supernanny. She has some really good techniques with stuff like this. Good luck.

please please please do NOT lock her in her room and cover your ears with a pillow as a previous poster suggested. I vividly remember my parents doing this a few times when I was exactly 5 years old. My mom later told me that she was actually sitting on the other side of the door crying. Her fear is very real for her. I still remember the fear that I felt as a child. Thank goodness my mom didn't do this for long. I've actually talked to her many times about this over the years and I am now 33 years old.

Oh, and I am the oldest. I don't think that her being the baby of the family has anything to do with it.

I would suggest the good ole supper nanny way. Tell her that she will be sleeping in her own bed now and that she is no welcome to crawl into your bed anymore (unless there is something wrong like she gets sick). When its bed time tuck her into bed and give her kisses and tell her goodnight. When/if she comes out of her bed tell her "its bed time sweetie" and then walk her back to her room. when/if she comes out again be slightly cold and tell her "its bed time." When/if she comes out again don't say anything to her.... just walk/ carry her back to her bed and tuck her back in. Keep tucking her back in until she falls asleep. If she crawls into you bed in the middle of the night you will have to do the same thing. I know that will be hard b/c I've had to return my son to his bed in the middle of the night when I'm half asleep but I know you can do it! Good Luck!!

Hello Darlene,

I'm assuming she is sleeping in your bed with you and your husband?? My children are not as old as yours, but there was a phase where my 3 year old only wanted to sleep with me and my husband. We had tried everything at the time too, rewards, being able to pick a toy to go to bed. We finally just locked the door to our room every night. The first night he came up and cried for about twenty minutes, then he went back to bed. second night he slept on the floor in front of our door. By the end of the week he was in his bed and stayed in his bed until morning. This may sound kind of harsh, but parenting can't always be fun and games either. It's clear to him now that he sleeps in his room and mommy and daddy's room is for Mommy and Daddy. Another thing that helped with this, is we don't allow and kind of "hanging out" in our room. Our room is not the family room or kitchen, it is "our" personal space. So anytime he comes in he has to knock, and when we need private time we kindly ask him to leave becuase we need our space. I hope this helps! Good luck!

N.

try just putting her back in her own bed when she comes to yours. it will probably be a whole lot of lost sleep for you for a while, but consistency is important. i think after a while (and maybe with some reaffirming talks) she will stay in her bed.

my 3.5 year old tries, on occassion to come to bed with us, but i just put him back in his own bed every time. he gets to come in and snuggle in the mornings, but not before 6:45 am. before that, he goes back in his own bed and i tell him that it isn't morning yet, that he needs to go back to sleep. sometimes he will try "i just want to snuggle with you." or "i'm cold." i tell him that i'll snuggle with him in his bed for a minute or two, but that if he comes to bed with us, he simply won't sleep and he needs to sleep.

also, it might be worth asking her why she wants to sleep with you. is it comfort? is she lonely? is she afraid of the dark? (a nightlight could solve this one) is she cold? did she have a bad dream? (when my son has a bad dream, i have to make a point of letting him tell me about it. otherwise he'll have them all night long.) that kind of thing. there has to be a reason, you just need to find it. and at 5 she should be able to help you find it.

good luck.

This isn't going to help you much, because I have the same problem with my 6 year old son. At Christmas "Santa" brought an entire room of furniture and Spiderman everything. He still hasn't stayed all night. Same situation. I'm really just hoping he'll grow up one day and want HIS privacy like my husband and I would like ours! It's a constant struggle but don't give up. We go through the same routine every night, one night it's going to go our way, I just know it!

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