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How do I get my 3 year old to go to bed and stay there (short of locking the door)?

My DD is 3 1/4 years old. She was going to bed fine up until Christmas time. Ever since then things have just completely unraveled. We haven't changed her routine at all, she has a 30 minute bedtime routine with lights out at 8pm. The last week it's been insane, every 5-10 minutes she up out of bed yelling at the door (b/c she knows she is in trouble if she comes out of her room) with some crazy request. That goes on for 2+ hours until she finally passes out. Then she's up at 4 or 5 am wanting to get in bed with us. We can't just ignore her b/c her 8 month old little brother sleeps right across the hall and her screaming wakes him up, he has a whole other set of sleep issues that I don't need made worse by big sis.

I'm about to loose my mind here from exhaustion. I'm up every 2 hours with DS all night, I don't need DD keeping me up late and waking me up early too. How do I fix this?

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Asked by pixiemom78 at 9:06 PM on Jan. 4, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (6)
  • We are going through this exact thing! We have a 3 yr old and a 9 month old! We just keep taking her back to her bed without saying a word. After about 5 times she will finally stay in bed. I know it is exasting but we have to do it! Good Luck!

    Answer by jem102675 at 9:11 PM on Jan. 4, 2009

  • Is she getting enough 1-on-1 attention during the day? She may be doing this because she's feeling left out and this behavior clearly gets her some one-on-one time, even if negative. Make sure she's getting enough positive attention that she needs in the way she needs it. Talk to her about how her nighttime behavior makes you feel, let her know that when she behaves like this, the less time you can spend with her during the day because of how tired you are.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 9:42 PM on Jan. 4, 2009

  • u just described my 3 year old!!! I also have a 6 month old who sleeps next door. we just put her back to bed or tell her to go back to bed like a big girl. I once have taken her favorite movie or toy or something cant remember now away the next day...that didn't help...if you find anything that works let me know.

    Answer by HisServant4ever at 10:46 PM on Jan. 4, 2009

  • Try a bedtime pass. Make up some thing to use - a large fake flower, a large bookmark, a decorated ruler.
    She can have one trip out of bed but must give up the bedtime pass. Once the pass is gone, no more trips.
    Another option is to reward her for good bedtimes. Keep a chart on the fridge. If she goes to bed nicely, with no more than the pre-decided-upon number of current calls - then she earns a sticker. Once she fills the chart (with however many stickers you decide on), she earns a small treat.. a trip to the ice cream store, a small toy.

    You might even try combining the two.
    Good Luck!

    Answer by kaycee14 at 11:46 PM on Jan. 4, 2009

  • We are going through this too. Grace has started it, about a week ago. Screaming bloody murder but only at bedtime and about 6am (she goes right back to sleep until 7a). We have had a lot of weirdness around here though so I've been blaming it on that. I'm glad to be getting back on track this week but we'll see. Good luck!

    Answer by dusher at 9:24 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

  • I have been going through this for about 5 months now and the only thing that works for us is she has one chance and then the door gets locked. Almost every night we have to lock the door but once she falls asleep we unlock it in case she needs to get up. We were never able to go to bed until a couple hours after we put her to caused a lot of anger and frustration for us and the best thing for us is locking the door. I know it sounds cruel but we were finding ourselves screaming at her causing more issues for her then the locking of the door. I hope it is a phase but it has already lasted 5 months or longer.

    Answer by parismom2 at 12:43 PM on Jan. 6, 2009

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