2 Year Old in My Bed at 4Am

Updated on April 13, 2010
S.C. asks from San Jose, CA
11 answers

My youngest son, age 2, didn't get a good start sleeping during his first years, as we went on many trips and then had a big move to a new house/city/state. As a result, he had a terrible time going to sleep at a decent hour, and would usually fall asleep in my arms at about 9:30-10pm. However, he was (and is) a great napper! Goes down easy for a 2 hour daily nap. Now we are using "Weissbluth's" advice to get him to bed earlier. Sometimes he'll cry for awhile (he's a very determined kid!), other times he'll go right down.

Recently, he's started waking up at 4am, and needing a drink of water and then to be moved into our bed. Cute, but not a great nightly solution. He doesn't seem to be having terrors or anything--It is like he just wants a warm body around. Some nights he'll fall right back asleep. Other nights, he'll lie awake next to me for a long time before he falls asleep again. Other times, he'll want to doze off again on my chest (he weighs almost 30 lbs, so I can't really sleep with him laying on me anymore).

We're thinking we need to start ignoring his 4am crying and let him figure it out for himself. Does anyone have experience of advice with this? Weissbluth would agree, I think. How do we keep the noise from waking up everyone on the block, especially my older boy?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the info and suggestions. My boy is still in a crib, so I didn't want to make him a bed on the floor. Plus, then you have to figure out how to get the floor bed back into his room, and that seems like another hard transition--two, instead of 1. I don't mind having the kids come cuddle in our bed if they are sick or scared, but having them come in every night is just impossible in a Queen size bed :)

So we're putting him down, and telling him we won't come in until morning. He has a sippy in bed, and knows where it is, and has his two stuffed bunnies to keep him company, and the weather now is perfect--not too hot or cold, so that isn't a factor either. He cried last night, but not too long.

With luck, we'll get his crib out of our office and back into the bedroom he is supposed to share soon!


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answers from Milwaukee on

I'm so with you on this. My son likes to wake up at exactly 3 a.m. every morning. it has always been a bad habit of wanting a drink of water, or i think just to see me. it's been hard and it's an off and on thing, when i don't get a lot of sleep a few days in a row, i cave and bring him into bed with me, and i know it's not good, but in my job, if i can't function, i'm pretty much useless in the kitchen. I have been letting him cry it out though more and I don't worry too much about the other people. Most of the time they say they don't hear him, but for myself, i have ear plugs sitting on my night stand right next to me to throw them in when he wakes. Everything works differently for everyone. Good luck!!!

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answers from St. Louis on

My daughter (2.5) also weighs 30 lbs and comes into our room every night at some time. She used to just cry until one of us would check on her and usually bring her to our bed. But now, she'll just wake up and come into our room on her own. My husband and I work different schedules so he comes to bed around 4am and we get up around 6, so I do not mind her sleeping with me most of the night.

If/when my 7.5 month old sons starts to do that also, I may resort to the having him sleep on the floor idea. I've head that this often works and usually will get the child back into his/her own bed because they do not want to sleep on the floor!

Have a bottle of water next to your bed (or sippie cup) or by his bed and tell him to drink from that.

My daughter had about four days where she woke at 430 but then moved back to getting up between 530-6 so not much else I know to do!



answers from Sacramento on

Our children are 21(girl) and 19(boy). We have always been extremely close. I think that one of the reasons we are close is that we (husband and I) never ever let them be alone at night if they didn't want to be. They were always welcome to crawl in bed with us. Although it made it more difficult for the adults to get a good night sleep and it compromised our sex life I wouldn't have done it any other way. Kids are young for such a short time.



answers from San Francisco on

Greetings S.,
Is your child waking up becausee it is the time the adults are getting ready for work? None of our children napped at age 2 neither do any of our Grandchildren so I guess you are lucky he goes down at night. How about getting him something special that he can play with in his bed when he wakes up a musical mobil,toy, activity box that you put in the bed after he is asleep. Then show him how to play in his bed when he wakes up. Honestly we had piles of quilts on the floor and our children would nest like big bird in our room-- having 5 children we just got used to having someone crawl into bed with us just to be with dad and mam. I wish you happiness in your adventure into parenthood it truely is a joy ride like no other.



answers from Chicago on

Let him sleep next to you on the floor. And explain why. Funny they get it a lot of times. I was going to say who cares if he sleeps with you when you need sleep, when I realized he is a pretty big guy, so let him have a bundle of blankets and point down. Next thing: a friend of mine and I used to have water or a snack waiting next to the bed. Anything to be ready...


answers from Austin on

Keep a sippy cup/water bottle next to his bed. When he wakes up, let him know he is a big boy and can take a drink and go right back to sleep in HIS OWN bed. Let him know he does not even need to get out of his bed.

The ideal situation is that he will drink and then go right back to sleep. If he comes to your room, walk him back and put him in his own bed. Over and over. He will get it eventually. You may want to start this when you know you are going to have a few days off in case you end up doing this for a while.
I am sending you a full night sleep!



answers from Redding on

The Baby Whisperer has really great tips on your exact situation. Basically, she says that you should go into his room when he wakes up and be there with him, but not bring him into your room. In some extreme cases she says that you might have to sleep on a mattress next to the crib for a few nights just so he knows you are there in the room. That way he isn't feeling abandoned in his crib (and learning to not like his crib), but he isn't getting too used to your cuddles to fall asleep either. She says to try to keep touching/talking to a minimum when you are in the room at night (or lessen it as time goes on) so he learns to sleep alone and comforted in his crib by himself, but knowing you are there for him. Good luck!
BTW- so you know your are not alone, my two year old comes into my bed by 6am almost every morning-- but I love it as long as it is not 2am.



answers from Sacramento on

Does he have a night light? Maybe he can't fall back asleep if it's totally dark. I don't think there is much you can do about waking up everyone on the block short of egg crating his room. He'll get through this. Does it work if you just go in and reassure him by rubbing his back and maybe sitting in his room for a few mins until he falls back asleep?



answers from San Francisco on

I'm with Denise! What is the big deal about letting our kids sleep with us? I put a post about potty training and got a few responses giving me a hard time about cosleeping with my kids. I'm a full time working mom so I dont get to see my kids during the day. They wont want to sleep with us forever so I love to sleep with them at night. I love to hear them sleep talking, sleep laughing, putting their hand on your face...you miss all this if you are not there right next to them. Maybe I'm just totally selfish but what is the real harm in this? My husband and I have a strong relationship and he loves having the kids around as well. If we want to, we can always sneak off and have alone time in another room anytime when the kids are asleep. It's doesnt compromise our relationship to have our kids sleep with us.



answers from San Francisco on

we had a book that showed a puppy needing to have a drink of water in the middle of the night. i stopped reading that book for a while. it is really dry in his room at night? i found that my daughter was too hot/dry (heater) at night and this woke her up. at one point i also had to get a crib tent, and i put in a couple of safe toys for her to play with. i think the bottom line is they need to learn how to fall back asleep by themselves. i believe the book mentions a similar situation...anyway i remember it gave examples of how long each night the crying lasted showing it gets shorter and shorter each night. you are helping him in the long (an short) run by following that book. being tired really affects children's behavior, and also not being able to sleep properly sucks as an adult! hang in there, this will pass.



answers from Des Moines on

i would say if you dont want him in the bed then give him things in his bed to do when he wakes up. my son just turned 2 and he wakes up between 3am-5am everyday sometimes for 20 mins sometimes for a whole hour. he just stays in his bed and plays. i haven't had to get up and go to his room in probably 6 months.I am one that is not opposed to co sleeping so i would let my son sleep with me after 3 am if he wanted to but he wont sleep unless he has his own space. lol. i agree with the floor idea too. maybe if he doesn't like the floor he will start staying in his own room. good luck

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