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My 4 y.o refuses to go to bed

my 4 year old cries hysterics when its bed time. cries, tantrums screams to the point where he cant breathe. he says he is going to miss us, but we are two rooms away, we read him 3-4 books a night he has to sleep with a photo album of us in his bed and has to sleep with this bright big fake fish tank light on all night, bc he wakes up and if it not on he screams bloody murder. He also has 3 night lights on in his room and still complains it is dark, earlier last year he use to be petrified of lights, adn wanted to sleep in the dark. he has a nightlight and pen lights in his bed.

Help me, this is very frustrating to his father and i and it has been going on since about september. this is getting ridiculoius. we have tried staying in there til he falls asleep. leaving the tv on but he watches it and stays up all night being nice being mean, ignoring.. yelling threatening. we have tried eveyrhting. any sugestions?

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Asked by NicksAshALee at 8:04 AM on Apr. 10, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (8)
  • First I would talk to his doctor and make sure there is no health issue..

    Now, this is only MY opinion, but it sounds to me like you are giving your son power over you.. Set a bedtime routine and stick to it. Example: Get P.J.'s on, brush teeth, one story, go to bed.. If he is crying for more stories, or another drink of water, this light on and that light off, or yet another kiss from daddy, he is stalling.. He's also playing you because he knows he can keep your attention on him rather than going to bed.. Don't give in. You are the parent. You set the boundries, not him.. This is a clashing of wills here.. Who is stronger, you or him?

    Answer by Mad_Hexer at 8:36 AM on Apr. 10, 2010

  • Continued..

    He will scream, and continue to do so because he knows you will come back.. I know how scary it is to hear your child gasping for breath, but he probably knows this too.. He will not suffocate himself.. If he screams and cries and you know he is safe and in no danger, then let him scream.. Sooner or later he will tire out (sadly it will probably be later). If he gets out of bed, keep taking him right back.. You will be in for some sleepless nights but don't give in.. You are the parent and he is the child.. Be strong.. Good luck..

    Answer by Mad_Hexer at 8:40 AM on Apr. 10, 2010

  • Have you tried just leaving his light on? I do that for my daughter. If she throws a fit at bedtime, I shut her door until she's done. When she's calmed down I tell her it's bedtime and she needs to put her pjs on and brush her teeth, if she does those without crying I will read her a story. Then if she starts getting upset I remind her she'll lose her story. It generally works, sometimes she'll ask for something after, but I just tell her it's MY bedtime and if she wants to play quietly in her bed that's okay, but I have to go to sleep. She rarely plays too long if she does at all, she gets up fine most mornings too. Maybe you're putting him to bed too early or he's not getting enough activity during the day. I also don't tell DD it's bed time or anything similar, we just do our routune, if I mention then she tends to get very upset.

    Answer by camiam81 at 8:54 AM on Apr. 10, 2010

  • Get and read Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child.

    I totally agree that it sounds like your kid is playing you. Mine was headed down the same road until I read that book off of a friends recommendation. Now, bedtime isn't optional at our house and both of my kids (5 and 2.5) go to bed without a fuss 98% of the time. When there is a problem its because I let them stay up to late and they're over tired.

    Sleep is insanely important to your childs happiness and development. Getting on top of this nighttime issue will only help.

    Answer by IrishMommaC at 9:54 AM on Apr. 10, 2010

  • I know exactly what you are talking about with your son having a hard time cooperating in going to sleep. My son, who just turned 3 in March. I was very frustrated with my mom and sisters that had no schedule for my oldest son, since they are ones raising him and my youngest son and I live with them for the time being. With such frustrations I had to take it upon myself to get him on schedule, since I had my youngest who is 1 on schedule. Very frustrating first 3 nights with the tantrums. It's hella frustrating to fix a schedule that I did not cause. I just started this schedule, where we go upstairs into the room at 9pm. He cries and screams for someone to come get him. I ignore him a little but smooth talk him while he's crying and talking, which kinda soothes. Turn the TV off at 10pm and if crying, let him cry till he wears himself out. It's a work in progress and will take time and discipline. He no longer has the power.:)

    Answer by Poetique_Mommy at 2:29 PM on Apr. 10, 2010

  • Thank you for all the responses. I appreciate them! :) Nicholas is in school from 830 to 5. He has playtime there, outside activities. recess/walks. I found out the school was having mandatory "sleep" time for 2 hrs, I had to get a DR note to "not " let him nap that long bc he would REFUSE to go to sleep at night and be up til 12am! He naps up to 30 mins at school, which he needs, no more or no less of. He generally wakes up at 7am. We attempt to get him to sleep no later then 8pm. We start the "bedtime" ritual at 7:30 bath, pjs, snack water, and his father reads him 3 stories, but when the stories are done, is usually when we have the problem, he pulls the "im scared, i want to sleep with you" mind you he has never slept a night in our bed once he gets up in the morning he crawls in with us, but other then that, no. he then says im scared of ghosts, so we gave him 3 flashlights he says he is scared of his closet. so we

    Answer by NicksAshALee at 3:42 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • CONTINUED..... open it and show him there is nothing wrong or scary. He has 3 night lights and a fish tank light on and still cries that it is dark. It is dark bc it is bedtime, you need to sleep and rest so you can grow, then he pulls out he wants to stay little. We already yelled at him for talking back and using the word "but" as a rebuttal to us but nothing is working. he is an extremely smart adn curious 4 year old ( he tests on a 6 yr old level already) We use to let him sleep with the dimmer light on but it is too bright and quite frankly im not down for leaving the light on all night. If it was up to me he would be sleeping with his nightlights and thats it, but his father is the one who is at the door the second he cries. I ignore him, I let him cry it out but when he does this he has no voice in the am and he goes to school and everyone asks whats wrong. This is very frustrating. im working on a rewards chart for

    Answer by NicksAshALee at 3:46 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • CONTINUED>>> every night that he doesnt cry he gets a sticker. 4 stickers = a prize on Friday night. ( Sleepover at his Papa's house) I dont know what else to do. I looked into the Red Dye 40 and Yellow Dye. Its very dangerous stuff. I also bought a 1 2 3 Magic discipline book which is en route to me and SOS for Parents and also there is a diet called feingold diet. I ordered a cookbook. Im a Type 1 Diabetic so everyone in my house eats healthy. very little juice bc when he sugar spikes, he is crazed adn he crashes hard. Lots of fruits vegetables chicken steak... I dont know what else to do! I appreciated everyones opinions, thank you so much!

    Answer by NicksAshALee at 3:49 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

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