5 Year Old Waking up in the Middle of the Night All the Time

Updated on November 10, 2010
A.D. asks from Chisago City, MN
8 answers

I have a 5 year old son who keeps waking up and coming up into our bedroom in the middle of the night. We have tried what seems like everything. We put a lamp on in his room so he is not afraid of the dark. We take him back to his room without saying a thing and just put him back in his bed and leave. We gave him a quarter every morning that he stayed in bed and told him the sleeping fairy left it because he slept though the night. Nothing works for long. When I ask him why he comes up he won't give me a reason. I am at my whits end and I just want to go back to sleeping though the night again! Currently, his bedroom is downstairs and our bedroom is upstairs as well as our 1 year old daughter’s bedroom. We have contemplated moving their bedrooms around but I don't know if I am ready to put my one year old downstairs by herself yet. Any suggestions would be great!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! Last night we decided to move our daughter downstairs in the room across from my son to see if that would help him. He was at his grandmas when we moved everything and when he came home he was so excited and couldn't stop thanking us for putting her down by him. He stayed in his room all night last night! I am not sure if it will work since there are some nights that he sleeps in his room and doesn't come out but we figured we would give it a few weeks and if that doesn't work then maybe we will move him upstairs. I also told him if he gets scared at all he can come up and sleep in our room on the floor in his sleeping bag but that he should try to be quiet and not wake us up unless something is wrong. Thanks for all the advice!!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have a 5 year old that has always been a bad sleeper...For a while I just put a sleeping bag on the floor and told her to come in when ever she wanted, but not to wake me up. My first thought is that he is scared to sleep downstairs or sub conconsiously feels left out. Can the 2 kids share rooms?? put a mattress on the floor, bring his bedding up and then tell him he can stay there as long as he stays put. My daughter comes in randomly now and says she is scared of something (being alone in a room can be scary when you are little, especially being alone downstairs)...she also mentions that she just doesnt like sleeping a lone (sees me and daddy sleeping together and doesnt think it is fair)...

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answers from New York on

My son turned 5 in August and we were going through the same thing! He started to do this about a week after his birthday. When he would come into my room, I just went back to his bed with him and lay down until he fell asleep. Sometimes he said he was scared and other times he would say “because I miss you”. Being patient, loving and loads of cuddles really helped him feel secure again. The last month he has been sleeping through the night again.

Now that your son is older, maybe he understands more that you are all upstairs, and he is downstairs?? I would feel lonely too and I’m 40 years old! I imagine a 5 y/o is just feeling left out and lonely. If you have no other option I think letting him sleep on the floor in your room is a good idea too or lay with him in his bed, hold him until he falls asleep.

No amount of money or toys can buy a child security. A quarter can't give him security at night while he is in bed all alone downstairs =-)

I know it's agonizing but this too shall pass.

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answers from Chicago on

Put a sleeping bag on the floor for him for the time being. Did he start any new school or has he accomplished some other milestone? Sometimes when they hit a good milestone then something else slips for awhile. Also is there anything going on with the family right now? He just may need some reassurance of his place in the family.

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answers from Sioux Falls on

i have the same problem with my 5 year old twins. one or both usually end up in our bed. i definately think it is a security issue. especially for my daughter who is a total mama's girl. We have a king sized bed and they just slip in from the foot of the bed and climb in between us and i rarely wake up from it anymore. however, i don't think our approach to just let them do it is the right answer for everyone. our 8 year old used to do this too and eventually just grew out of it.

i would try what others have suggested and throw a sleeping bag on the floor or a make a pad with a big blanket and have him sleep there without waking you or if you don't like that idea then going back to bed with him until he falls asleep. i agree that he is probably scared and loney being downstairs all alone. i don't think doing a comprimise of sleeping on the floor will damage him long term and certainly it won't last forever. Co-sleeping is actually very common in other parts of the world, probably the more natural way to do things. we are probably the backwards ones putting our kids all alone on different floors of the house.

Good luck.


answers from Chicago on

My 5 year old daughter does the same thing. But...she has never been a great sleeper. She has always wanted to come into our room and try to sleep with us. Sometimes she sleep in her bed all night, sometimes she doesn't. I would appreciate some help too!!! We all need some sleep!!



answers from Boston on

Could you move rooms around so both kids are up stairs?



answers from Los Angeles on

Going through the exact same thing with my three-year-old right now. I'm hoping it's a phase. Not a lot of help, I know, just thought you'd like to know you're not alone.



answers from Des Moines on

My friend just went through this and she was told to make them a little "bed" (sleeping bag or comforter, etc) on the floor in your room. He can come in, snuggle down there, and not disturb anyone much. My friend's little one did that for a couple of weeks and then one night just stayed in her own room. Now she comes in very rarely and its getting less and less. It worked for them! I hope you find what works for you!!

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