3 1/2 Year Old Not Sleeping Well.

Updated on March 16, 2011
J.S. asks from Denton, TX
5 answers

Hi there mamma's :-) I am in desperate need of some advice. I have a 3 1/2 year old and for the past 7 months he has really started digressing in his night sleeping. It started out just waking 1-2 times a night at exactly the same times each night. Well it has become more and more frequent as time has gone on. He is now waking about 6 times a night and not getting more than 3 hours of consolidated sleep!! Needless to say, I feel as if I have a newborn again. I am not getting any quality sleep and I am exhausted all the time. He wakes up and walks into our room, I ask if he needs to pee pee and then walk him back to his room and he stays in bed anywhere from 1-3 hours and does the same thing over and over. He has become afraid of the dark so we started with a night light but that eventually was not enough light, he was terrified so now he sleeps with his closet light on and the door open. I have tried everything to get him to stay in his bed, what do I do???

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answers from Pittsfield on

You could try a weighted blanket. A therapist friend told me they are great for both children and adults with sleep problems. The website below explains more about what they are and why they help. Check out the testimonials too.
Good luck, I know how miserable sleep deprivation is. Hang in there :)



answers from Birmingham on

What does he say he is afraid of when he wakes up? What does he see?My four year old is the same way and has been for the past year and a half. He gets up at least once wailing and scared of the shadows. They have such a vivid imagination at this age. We keep the hall light on and his bedroom door open. I gave him a bottle of "shadow spray" to spray if he wakes up afraid. We tell him every night that there is no reason to be afraid, but he can use his spray if he is afraid. We pray at night for a "good night sleep and no fear from shadows because there is nothing to be afraid of" and play with the our own shadows before he goes to bed. It cut the number of times he gets up crying from 3-4 to 1. I know that you are "not supposed to play into their imaginations" and "tell them there is no such thing as monsters" but, that did not work and we need sleep.
I hope this helps and you all get a night of uninterrupted sleep soon!!!!!!



answers from Dallas on

That is a common age for fears of dark, monsters, etc. Has your child seen Monsters Inc (movie)?. It helped my son see that monsters aren't scary...even though I have told him there is no such thing as monsters he insists there is. The other thing is check his tonsils. My son was never sick but I discovered part of the reason he was waking up is his tonsils were so large they were almost touching and it was causing him to wake up at night. Hang in there!


answers from Dallas on

We went through a short stage of nightime fear. We would read the Grover book - "Theres a monster at the end of this book" and we would go through his room and the hall getting rid of monsters. I made a little ritual of walking him around with a flashlight telling all the ghosties it was time to go outside and play. That really helped. We took all the fear out of them by talking to them as if they were silly playful friends that didnt belong in the house at night.

Also, Have you tried white noise? My son sleeps best to the sound of the fan. I point it away from him so he doesnt get cold. But the cold probably helps him sleep better too. He piles blankets on and buries in for the night.



answers from Dallas on

wow i give you a lot of credit you really have tried so many options and I know how frustrated and exhausted you are.is he in any rec activities during the day or very active the key is to wear him out...is he napping can you cut that out? we had to start our 3 yr old with keeping a table lamp on and closing the door..yes he cried and some nights were worse than others killing us more than it did him but after 2 weeks of being consistent we agreed to keep the door open if he stayed in his bed. you could talk to your dr for suggestions or you could also keep the door closed and put a web cam in his room so you can monitor him and make sure nothing is wrong giving you peace of mind and hopefully minimizing the problem by being consistent. have you tried putting a distraction in the room either music or one of the light up fish aquariums that play music or the teddy bear that tells stories theres even little projectors with mini movies you could try.the prob is you're both going to develop a bad habit of long naps during the day or co sleeping which will hurt block any progress you ever made. I don't have the answer unfortunately it's just trial and error hope something helps soon for you both.

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