4 Yr Old Girl WILL NOT Sleep in Her Bed

Updated on July 10, 2012
S.S. asks from Baton Rouge, LA
11 answers

Ok I'm going to get a lot of judgements here but man I need some help. My daughter has slept w me in my bed for the past 4 years and recently in the past two weeks we moved her into her own room her own big girl bed. The whole time she's had her own room w a toddler bed so she's used to her own room, she just never used the bed! So the first week she actually slept w her 6 year old brother in his big kid bed in his room, and she slept fine every night of the week no crying or fits at all. Then that weekend we got rid of the toddler bed (she's too big for it) and put a full size bed in her room I even decorated her room over again to make it super cool. This week had been total hell. Every day she's stressing about sleeping in her bed all day she brings it up, we even tried letting her bro sleep w her in her bed so she's not alone but she is still crying b4 bed. She's having to sleep w all the lights on in he'd room and finally I said no, we don't sleep w the lights on so now she has a super bright aquarium light thing so it's really not dark in there at all. She cries and gets out of bed for an hour after I put them to bed and when she finally does go to sleep she's awake at 2am
In my room asking to sleep w me, so I'm walking her bak to her bed and try to lay down w her till she falls bak asleep but then I end up falling asleep too and spending the whole night in there! Not the plan! I hate being mean about this but she's not sleeping w me anymore and that's final I feel so bad cause it's my fault I let her sleep w mommy this whole time. I just don't get how the first week she was fine but now that she's hot z new bed she's freaking out. Please help!

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answers from Charlotte on

You might not like my advice, but I'll give it since you are asking.

Tell her during the day that you aren't going to be allowing her to come in your room anymore during the night and that you aren't going to lay down with her anymore at night. Tell her that she is wearing you out and that everyone in the house needs sleep. She is now a big 4 year old and you are done talking about it.

The first week was a novelty with her brother. That's what's going on. Reality has hit and she is being a drama queen about it in hopes of getting you to let her back in your bed or keep you in her bed. If you want to sleep on your own, you have to demand it and allow her to cry.

Expect her to stay in her room. If doesn't matter if she sleeps in the bed or not - as long as she is in her room, that's what matters. Every time she gets up, walk her back to her room. Don't talk to her. Don't engage. Don't go in the room. You'll have to do it 50 times the first night. Don't give in. Ignore her cries. She will finally be so exhausted that she will go to sleep and not wake back up until morning. Make her get up at the same time, and when she says she is tired, tell her that she had better stay in her own room so that she won't be so tired the next day.

Don't bring up the subject of the bed. Just make it about her room.

I know this is hard. But in a week of 100% consistently taking her back to her room, and not talking to her or putting her in that bed, or having anymore conversations about that bed past the initial one, you'll finally have some semblance of normalcy.

Let her keep the aquarium light on. That's it. Ignore everything else she makes up to get you on her hook.

There you go. Hope you can do it, mom.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

I bet after being used to having a big, warm body next to her for her entire life, it's pretty lonely in her own bed.

I don't say that to sound judgmental, just to give perspective on her point of view. I know I had a really hard time getting used to sleeping by myself when Hubby started working the night shift, and I was a grown woman!

Maybe you could make this a gradual transition... Sleep with her in her room for a few nights, until she is used to spending the whole night in there. Then, gradually work your way out of her room. Pay VERY close attention so you know when she is truly having issues, and when she is just wanting the attention.

You might also try giving her a big stuffed animal or a body pillow, a white noise machine (it's hard to sleep in silence after being used to the human sounds another person makes...) or other things like that...

Ooor, maybe even (if you are in a position to do so and you aren't against the idea)... get her a cat or a dog to sleep in bed with her. ;) As a kid, I always slept with a live animal in my bed, and had a hard time sleeping on the nights they chose to stay outside.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

In this situation, since she has slept with you her whole life I suggest that you start her out in her bed and then tell her when (and let her) she wakes in the middle of the night that she can come into your bed. I would bet that the comfort in knowing that if she gets scared (or whatever) that she can come to your bed will be enough to ease her little mind to get her settled in at night and fall asleep with less and less crying. After time, she will sleep through the night and it will be a non-issue.

I know you said you are done with having her sleep with you but I would think this idea would be the best way to transition her with the least amount of difficulty and stress to her. It IS a big deal for her to sleep alone since she has been sleeping with you her WHOLE LITTLE LIFE!

Your only other option is to do the crying for a couple nights and walking her back to her room EACH time, no matter what. Cold Turkey, so to speak.

The aquarium night light sounds cool but have you also seen those cute little ladybug pillow night light things that project starts onto the ceiling? My 4y/o LOVES hers! They come in all different animals, I have seen them at Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Barnes & Noble, of all places.

~This is what I did with my kids, They never started in my bed but they were always allowed to sleep with us if they woke up during the night and all 3 of my kids went through a short phase (especially when beds were changed or rooms were changed) where they woke up in the middle of the night and came to sleep with me and Daddy....but they all worked through it and eventually slept all through the night.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I don't have the answer but just want to say, many of us have deviated from "by the book" parenting and have had to pay the price. We went against conventional wisdom when we kept our baby on the bottle for 2+ years. Whatever your tactic, know you set up this pain cave for yourself because at the time it was the path of least resistance. Been there done that. Once you accept that the transition is going to be hard, find a strategy and keep at it, and if need be, find a new strategy. If that means laying in her room with her a few more days or weeks, fine. I don't have a brilliant strategy, only to tell you that the sooner you accept a difficult transition, the better off you will all be.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Why did you decide she needs to sleep in her own room? If it was fine for that long, I think you could do this gradually. Let her set a date when she will be ready to move to her own room and give her some control. Find out why she is stressed by her bed. You could try putting a mattress on the floor in your room and moving her out of your bed but not out of your room right away.

If you are moving her to her room because in your mind four years is 'old enough', I would consider whether you NEED for her to move (you are not getting sleep, you need alone time, you need privacy - these are all valid). But if you don't 'need' her to leave now when you didn't before - why not let her stay? She won't still be sleeping in her parents' bed when she goes to college. Perhaps she can give it up when she is ready.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

have you asked her why she doesn't like her room, her bed or such? is it monsters? there is spray for that. is it too quiet? soft music can take care of that. i would sit down and ask her while she is in her bed why she cries and doesn't like her room or bed!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Our daughter slept in a queen bed.. It was huge in her eyes.. So we let her make "a nest out of blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and books".. Her bed was covered in stuff.. She said it "felt cozy"..

Maybe your daughter could sleep side to side.. With a "pillow Dam" on one side of her and her headboard on the other. That way she will not feel so alone.

Do not get into bed with her.. Instead you can sit next to her bed in a chair and read a story to her.. Do not become animated or ask her question.. do not engage her.. Instead speak softly and slowly.. It will help her calm down..

Did you ever play quiet music for her as an infant? we always had played some lullabies or some Vivaldi when we would lay her down.

She just needs you to be strong. To keep taking her back to her bed.. Over and over.. Do not say a word..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

At 4 years old your daughter isn't a baby or toddler, she's a little girl, quite capable of doing what you tell her, but is choosing to be a drama queen...I had one, too, so I know ; )

I agree with Dawn word for word, so won't repeat it. Since you are ready for your daughter to sleep in her bed and her room you just have to tell her like it is, expect her to do it, and if you have to lock your bedroom door so she knows you are serious, do it. (You can always go back to leaving it unlocked once your daughter knows she's to sleep in her bed and not come to your room during the night and is doing it.)

Grownups are the parents, not the other way around, and don't need to give in to what our children want or don't want when it comes to something so normal, heck, we sleep in our own rooms and beds, period. She had a nice run, but it's over. You are the Mom and what you say goes, it doesn't mean you don't love her. Get her a body pillow for warmth and to snuggle with and be firm and consistent. Let her know if she sleeps on the floor that's fine, her choice, but she needs to stay in her room.

I know this is hard, {{HUGS}}

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am having the same problem and my daughter is 4 also. I never let her sleep in bed with me. At first it was my husbands fault cause he would not put her crib up when she was born. He felt she was too young. I did not and felt she should have been there from day 1. So she slept in a pack n play for 6 months. I finally had enough and put her crib up and had a hard time getting her to sleep in the crib. Then at 2 yrs old we got her a big girl bed and she was so excited. She slept in that for about 3 months until one night she came out and said a ghost came out of her wall and looked at her and then went through the door into the hall. After that she down right refused to sleep in there. She would play in her room but would never sleep in there. Now that her brother is here and they have to share a room until we get into the house she still refuses. Now her excuse is that she wants her room painted purple. Since we are renting right now I refuse to paint the room. She has been sleeping on the couch since the ghost incident. Lately she has been waking up during the night and knocking on our door and asking to sleep with us. Says that she is scared by herself. I try to reason with her and tell her that her brother is in there with her. He is 9 months old and is starting to sleep through the night alot more now so he won't wake her up. Every night she asks to sleep in her bed and we take her up and sit with her until she falls asleep, but she will just lay there for an hour and then say she wants to go downstairs. It gets very frustrating since we both have to get up for work and we are both exhausted. I am so hoping that once we get in the house and her room is the way she wants it that she will sleep in there. I feel for you and since I have the same problem I really don't know what to tell you except hang in there and I hope that everything works out for you.


answers from San Francisco on

You're the adult, she is 4. She won't do as she is asked and you are rewarding her. Make her do it.

Have a discussion with her about what you expect her to do but keep it simple. Bed time is at 8pm, we brush our teeth, put on jammies, read a story, get a glass of water and go the bathroom before bed, you will not be allowed to get up to do any of those things once you go to bed. You cannot sleep in my bed and Mommy is not going to sleep in yours. If you get up I will walk you back to your room and put you back in your bed and then leave. You are not allowed to sleep in your brothers room and not with the lights on, you can have a night light and that's it.

Give her rules and stick to them.

Also, did you discuss moving from your room and into her big girl room BEFORE you made the change? She's probably got some separation anxiety going on. She'll be ok, just help her work through it.



answers from Shreveport on

when she comes in your room let her sleep on the floor do not make her comfortable. Even if it is a lie tell her there is a mouse under your bed you think. She will decide to go back to her bed make no move to help her she is four she got to your room she can get back to hers. I know that sounds mean but it does work I did that with my son when he was afraid of storms and now he is a storm nut at age 19.(there was never a mouse).(when they get older you can tell them:)) and you and her can have a big laugh about it my son and I have on many times about the non-mouse. I have since gotten a rubber mouse name Fred and we have fun with him.

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