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Why won't my four year old go to sleep at night?

Every night we do the same thing. We eat dinner around 630, my son gets to watch a movie and then bedtime. We keep the movies very light, nothing scary. Usually its blues clues or dinosaur train. But every night he fights bedtime with every excuse he can thinks of; I'm thirsty, I'm hungry, I need to go potty, I need another hug/kiss and so on. And we have tried everything we can think of; not responding to his repetitive requests after the first time asked, explained to him its bedtime and he needs to go to sleep, we've yelled, laid with him, read stories, played music and so on. I have also tried taking him to the park to let out some energy. That didn't work, he still was up all night. I've tried everything I can to get him to sleep at a decent hour. Most nights I am up till midnight and others till 2 am. This has been going on since he was about two years old. He also hasn't taken naps since he was two and a half. Once in a great while he will but thats after a drawn out fight and it is too late in the day for him to really be napping. He has no medical issues.


Asked by llctaylor at 11:45 PM on Feb. 10, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (6)
  • Wow. I don't know what I'd do if they weren't in bed by 11. It's not easy. If he knows all I have to do is make excuses, he's going to pull out every trick in. Keep ignoring his requests for more stories, etc. & make sure he goes potty or gets his drink, etc. For us, no matter what time it is 8, 9 or 10- I tell them that it's 9o'clock & it's bedtime. Usually I'll ask them "what do we do a bedtime?" As we're getting ready for bed, they'll tell you what suppose to happen next. After we do our prayers I tell them that we have a big day tomorrow & are going out, or whatever. We even have 2 bedtime rules. Yes rules. They don't always follow them but atleast they know what's expected from them when I leave the room. Like one rule is no playing. You take one toy to bed w/ you & aren't allowed to get out of bed to get other toys. Good Luck


    Answer by Danni143 at 12:32 AM on Feb. 11, 2011

  • Is he a late sleeper? Try waking him up a few hours earlier in the morning...unfortunately, this will effect your sleeping habits as well but will give him a few more hours to get tired by night time.

    Answer by Dreamlander at 11:50 PM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • Surprisingly we have tried this and he still resists sleep. Most days he wakes up between 830 and 9. There has been several days I've had to wake him up before 7 and he still fights his sleep.

    Comment by llctaylor (original poster) at 11:52 PM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • I used to have to wake my son up around 5:30 am just so I could get some rest. He would take a nap around noon or so and then crash around 10:30 pm. Once I got a good sleeping pattern, I stuck to it. He was 5 years old and I was trying to get him and my daughter ready for school years.

    Answer by Dreamlander at 12:01 AM on Feb. 11, 2011

  • I guess I will try earlier. He is so strong willed. I fear it will cause nothing but more stress for him and us.

    Comment by llctaylor (original poster) at 12:03 AM on Feb. 11, 2011

  • Thank you Danni, I appreciate the advice and will certainly try it. He is very high strong and stubborn (he gets that from me).

    Comment by llctaylor (original poster) at 12:35 AM on Feb. 11, 2011