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Helping 6 year old sleep without being hugged

My daughter Katharine is now sleeping in her own bed. The only problem is she wants me or her dad to hug her until she falls asleep. I pass out before she's falls asleep most times, but her dad stays up and hugs her until she falls asleep and then leaves the room. I need some time to unwind and getting her to sleep on her own without needing the hug would be a great thing for me. When I remind her she's a big girl and shouldn't need to be hug. She cries and cries and yes, I give in. I'm the first one up at home and work outside the home, and I can't seem to deal with this issue. I give in and then fall asleep in her bed. I want her to learn to sleep and maybe hug herself to sleep. Can you help?

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Asked by happynewyorker at 3:35 PM on Dec. 28, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 5 (87 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • You may just have to hug and kiss her goodnight and let her cry. It's separation anxiety, and the longer you give in, the harder it will be to break. Maybe put a lamp in her room, and a radio. My daughter has both, and she goes to sleep listening to music turned down low. She will sometimes put her baby dolls to bed, with a tiny pillow and blanket. She also sleeps with stuffed animals, which she will not settle down without. It may take a while for your daughter to get used to sleeping in her own bed, but you really don't want this to go on much longer. It really will become more and more difficult to deal with.

    Answer by Raine2001 at 3:48 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • What I would do (and I don't know if this would work) is tell her you will sit in her room as long as she doesn't cry. If she cries leave. I would keep a nightlight on and maybe the door cracked. If she's quiet stay next to her bed while she falls asleep. After doing this for a week move the chair back so its not right next to her bed but still in the room. Again if she cries leave. If she wants you in there she needs to be quiet and go to sleep. After so long you will be able to get her in bed without any trouble. Other than that all I can say is have daddy put her to bed from now on.

    Answer by mom06and09 at 3:51 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • I would get her a stuffed animal & tell her that the animal won't sleep unless she hugs it. Ask her if she will help the animal to go to sleep but holding it until it falls asleep. She might want to try it, she might not. But, something she couls snuggle on might be nice.

    I would also try to remind her all day, from the beginning of the AM. Tell her "tonight, you have to be a big girl & go to sleep with no snuggling, if you can go to bed with no snuggling, then you can have a treat" (or suprise or whatever it is you can manipulate her with) Remind her throughout the day so that she will know all day long that she will have to try to sleep with no snuggles. This way it won't be such a blow when you tell her no. Slowly feed it to her brain, & she will slowly accept it. Leave the door open, offer some comforting music she might be able to get lost in. GOOD LUCK!

    Answer by samurai_chica at 4:06 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • That's not hugging, it's holding. She is too old to get away with insisting her father hold her in bed. Her father should realize this is inappropriate. I think the stuffed animal is a good idea.

    Answer by Gailll at 4:18 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • While I do agree the stuffed animal idea is worth a shot, I don't believe a father holding his 6 year old daughter is "inappropriate" in any way! I mean, c'mon, do you think he shouldn't give her a bath either?

    Answer by Anouck at 4:28 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • Can you put a TV in her room? I know people will bash that idea, but it might work.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:31 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • TV is a bad idea. Children with TV's in their room tend to stay up later then they should. Also, it's as bad as a nightlight. They'll start creating a dependence on it.

    What you need to do is just let her cry it out. She is a big girl and she will be able to handle it once she realizes you're not going to give in. It isn't going to scar her for life, or damage her in any way to break her of this habit. Let her know that you're in the next room if she gest scared, but she is a big girl and needs to learn to sleep by herself. If she needs to snuggle something then give her a stuffed animal. Follow through and don't give in. The more you give in, the less she'll take you seriously about wanting her to stop. Just put her to bed, walk out of the room and just keep putting her back in everytime she gets out. Don't talk to her when you put her back the second time, and don't give in!!

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 4:35 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • My 14 year old still sometimes wants snuggle time. I don't see anything wrong with it. One day, our children will be on their own, and we will miss it.

    Answer by rkoloms at 5:07 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • Not that all mothers will agree. But it was my DD and I from 2004 until 2008, she always came to my room and would snuggle herself into my bed. When I started to make her sleep alone, I just put my foot down, that she was a big girl now and that if she came out of her room other than to go to the bathroom there would be a consequence the next day. Now my DD didn't care about that consequense she got in bed with me. We decided to allow tv time for her since she wanted me in bed with her. So at 7:30 she goes to her room to wind down and watch tv. at 8:00 her SF and I tuck her into bed and at 8:30 we shut the tv off. Most of the time about 98% of the time she is out before we come to shut it down.

    Answer by suzyb1980 at 5:55 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • Don't do the TV thing to get her to sleep. Do a bedtime routine. Bath, teeth brushed, story, bathroom (no excuse to get up), bedtime. If she cries, let her cry. If she comes out of her room and says she can't go to sleep put her right back in bed with no stalling and no long conversations..She's using it to manipulate you to get her way - and obviously it works. A nightlight and/or stuffed animal are good ideas if she doesn't have these things already.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:45 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

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