R.S. asks from Saint Louis, MO on April 05, 2008
Sleep Problems in My 4-Year Old
Right around the end of February, my 4-year old began having trouble falling asleep and started waking up in the middle of the night. Prior to that she would typically fall asleep within 5-10 minutes of going to bed and sleep through the night. She's potty trained during the day, but wears training pants at night because she didn't wake to go. All of a sudden, we're back to this "baby routine" where we have to get her to sleep before we put her to bed and then sneak out of the room hoping not to wake her. It's very frustrating for my husband and I as we both work outside the home and lose at least an hour of sleep each night. He'd rather coddle her and save the hassle while I'm trying to retrain her to get herself to sleep. Has anyone else gone through this? I could really use the advice (and a nap!).
L.E. answers from Wichita on April 06, 2008
You will need to go through 2 weeks, hopefully less,of discomfort. Everytime she gets out of bed immediately put her back in without cuddling her. Eventuly she will see that your will is stronger than hers. No need to raise your voice, just quickly put her back into bed. She doesn't need to go to sleep, but she does need to be quiet and to stay in bed. The morning after she accomplishes this acknowledge her success.
A few words of praise or a simple treat later in the day will reinforce the new behavior. Do this for several days until the new behavior is set.
This new behavior of yours is an important trait for both you and child to learn: your will is stronger than hers. You mean what you say and you expect compliance. When you tell that teenager to be home by 10pm you want to know that she will.
On the other hand you need to remember that you are raising a child to leave home. You want to teach them to make decisions and be a contributer to the world. In this case of the child not wanting to go to sleep, you are teaching them that they don't have to, but that they must comply with your restrictions: in bed and quiet. You are acting for the better good of her and the family.
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C.B. answers from Kansas City on April 05, 2008
We went through this a few months before my daughter turned four. There are different ways to handle it..some would say let her cry it out. Some would say if she's needing you, be there for her to have you. What we started doing is having her fall asleep in our bed (without us)..that was the best place for her and for some reason she was needing extra comfort. It avoided me coddling her and helped her feel more secure by being around our scents. We moved her to her bed but she still woke up during the night every night screaming and only wanting to be with us. Well.. you have to figure this is probably a stage and if your kiddo needs you and is upset, there's probably a reason. Eventually she started going to bed on her own w/o problems and not getting up in the night unless she has to potty. Honestly, we tried putting her back to bed for a few weeks in the middle of the night because I didn't want her to get used to our bed, but she would keep herself up and us up all night screaming. I didn't give in, I just looked at what she was needing. If you don't have room in your bed, then make a pallet on the floor. Or you could have a behavior chart..say she goes to bed great one day a week, then she gets to sleep in your bed on friday. Then up it to two days and so forth until it's all week and then two weeks and then you can fade it out.
I also had to remind myself that she will not be this little forever and I need to enjoy every moment of her needing me as I can because soon she won't want to sit on my lap and cuddle because she's getting "too big" or she won't want to cuddle up and sleep next to mommy in the middle of the night when she feels insecure. It all goes so dang fast, kids tell you what they are needing in their behaviors, even though she doesn't quite know how to explain it.
Good luck, I really hope this helped. I remember it like it was yesterday and I really do remember how frustrated I was and tired! Once we tried to find out why she was not sleeping instead of fixing the routine part, everything fell back into place.
I just re-read what i wrote..you didn't say if she was upset or not...sorry, I was just going from personal experience..my daughter was very very upset and couldn't be calmed. If you think your daughter is being manipulative, definately put your foot down.
I dont know what else to tell you LOL. I hope I helped a little.
C.Y. answers from Wichita on April 08, 2008
I just read the first few responses and would just have to confirm what they said. But before I go to the expense of going to the doctor there are a few things to think about.
First if her urine is dark yellow then don't hesitate to take her to the doctor but if it is clear and not cloudy or dark then look at her routine.
Has there been any changes in her routine - even the daily ones? Any stress between the parents? Any little change in routine or moods from people who have contact with her daily can affect her own mood and routine.
Changes are a part of life and just like anything else this too will change. I would suggest what somene else already did and that is start her bed-time routine about 30 mins to an hour before you want her to be in bed. Bed time stories, mommy and/or daddy time, drinks, potty, the whole thing should be started way before you actually need her in bed.
With my oldest we used a wind up alarm clock. The first time it would go off would be time to brush teeth, go potty, change clothes and what ever then the second time it went off would be the time to go to bed. This worked for us.
I really can't remember a problem like this with my others but I still have one more to go through these stages with - she is 17 months now.
M.K. answers from Wichita on April 06, 2008
I think having the doctor check to make sure it isn't a urinary tract infection would be the first road to take. Also, maybe she is using this for "coddle time" ---- you could try and make a routine that 30 minutes before her bed time is "her" time for you and your husband to spend talking and snuggling and then when bed time comes she may be less apprehensive. May need a nightlite too, she could be scared. I know a lot of maybe's but maybe one will help!! LOL!!
A.C. answers from Kansas City on April 06, 2008
I am reading a GREAT book right now called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. It came highly recommended from my best friend (and her pediatrician) who was having sleep issues with her toddler. I am using it now for my son. So far it is working for us - Yay!!! The book covers sleep patterns in children from birth through adolescence. The author is a pedicatrician who specializes in sleep problems/disorders. It is a no nonsense plan to get your child on a sleep schedule or for retraining a child to develop healthy sleep patterns if there has been a change. I have not read the book cover to cover, but am reading what pertains to our son's age at this time. So far this is giving us the tools we need to help our son sleep better. If you don't want to coddle and get the job done - I recommend this book. I was a skeptic at first. I bought the book and let it sit by my bed for months. I tried my own ideas first which consisted of bringing our son into our bed only to have a huge battle getting him out. Now we can put him to bed at night, and he stays in bed all night. This is a huge improvement (in just 2 weeks!!!) You do have to be firm and consistent (which is so hard and takes so much energy) but it will be worth it when you have your little girl back to her old self again. I bought a used copy of the book on Amazon.com. I know this method is not for everyone. I can only speak to what has worked for us. I now have a happy child who is learning to nap and sleep through the night and I have my sanity back. I hope this helps.
K.M. answers from St. Louis on April 06, 2008
Just a suggestion, but I had one of my children do that same thing. She had been potty trained by 2 1/2 but around age 4 she started wetting the bed. I took her to the doctor and it was caused by a urinary infection and they gave her antibiotics. After a few doses and some tests, she was all back to normal and never had a problem since. I would have never guessed that the problem would be somthing like an infection. Maybe ask your Dr.
N.B. answers from Wichita on April 09, 2008
My daughter is almost 4 and we had to put a night light in her room and let her cry herself to sleep. And sometimes we let her sleep in the living room with us till she goes to sleep then take her to her bedroom. My name is N..