3 Yr Old Girl Will No Longer Sleep by Herself

Updated on July 11, 2011
G.T. asks from Canton, MA
5 answers

OK, so I bet this question has been asked before, but I would love some advice.
My 3 yr old has slept on her own since she was 4 weeks old! Now all of a sudden she will not.
Ever since thunderstorms and fireworks she is afriad to sleep by herself. My DH and I take turns sleepign with her and then leave her room once she falls asleep.
She ALWAYS wakes in the night, screams, and then we take her into our room where we have a mattress on the floor for her.
We also have a 6 mos old who wakes in the night to be fed, so no one is sleeping!
I have taken away my 3 yr olds nap so she is more tired at night in hopes she would go to bed earlier and have enough drive to sleep through the night, but she often falls asleep during the day anyways - when her younger sister is sleeping.
She will NOT even nap by herself, so it was easy to take it away, but she needs it especially since she is up so many times in the night.
She is VERY scared - cries, screams, shakes, sweats, can't relax enough to sleep well.
I remember being afraid at night when I was a kid too so I'd love some tips on how to get through this AND get us all some sleep as well.

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answers from Phoenix on

My kids went thru this at the same age. I let them just come in and sleep on the floor on my side of the bed but I did NOT make it comfortable for them. They would carry in their pillow, blanket and just lay down and sleep. They didn't wake us up and didn't come in until usually early in the morning. They both did this for awhile but grew out of it. They too slept in their own beds in their own rooms from the first week I brought them home adn now they are 11 and 8 and are both great sleepers. So maybe tell her she can come in and sleep on the floor. She will grow out of it. Good luck.


answers from Washington DC on

Get her a flashlight that she can keep in her bed. The kind you shake and don't need batteries are best. When she is nervous, she can turn it on.
She has also figured out that if she is afraid, you react. You need to be firm and assertive and just bring her back to bed. She is a big girl. Screaming gets her what she wants --- to sleep in your room.
I'm a tough nut. I did not allow children to sleep in my bed or my room. If they got up, I brought them right back to bed. I was not mean, but I was firm and very no-nonsense -- especially at night.


answers from Portland on

Maybe a calming cd or those turtles that project stars. When I was scared of the dark growing up I used to have to have noise on in the background. It also helped me not wake up in the middle of the night or wake up enough to hear the noise and go back to sleep. Has she told you that the fireworks were the reason? or was it the timing of it all? I'm always scared about other " tragic occurrences" which is why I ask.

Ask her what she needs to feel safe... hopefully she won't say mommy lol. I saw in a movie (I think Crash) the guy tied an invisible cape around his little girl to protect her from the monsters.

If she won't take a nap, will she fall asleep in the car around her naptime? I do it with my little one sometimes. Some days she will go right to sleep, others I am driving around the city twice until she falls asleep.



answers from Cleveland on

maybe for a week or two have her sleep on the mattress in your room until it passes and to see if you guys can see.hear anything better while she is asleep like a bad dream or something to help figure it out also try and give her a "special" stuffed animal or something cuddely that she can squeez if she is scared and maybe put a night light in her room (have her pick a special one out) and leave that on throughout the night for her



answers from Minneapolis on

maybe she needs time to adjust to having her naps taken away. When we had our first baby my husband and I always based our decisions on what provided us the most sleep :) This meant letting our kids sleep with us, or fall asleep in our bed, or whatever they needed to feel safe and sleep all night long. Our 4 year old still wanders into our room at times but we also know that at some point she will be 13 and that won't ever happen.

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