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How do I get my 4 y/o to stay in bed all night?

The past couple weeks (going on 3 now), my 4 year old has been getting out of bed in the middle of the night & wanting to sleep with me & DH. I let him a couple times at first because he's never done it before & I was too tired to get up & take him back to his own bed; but now every night it is a different excuse. I'm worried about his lack of sleep because his teacher has asked me if he's tired because he is cranky & sad. Should I just let him for a while or is this the start of a bad habit?! He doesn't nap during the day so I figured he'd be tired & sleep all night; he is afraid of the dark but we keep a lamp on in his room all night. I'm afraid this is what is waking him up or keeping him awake but I've tried turning it off and if he wakes up he completely freaks out. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Asked by oahoah at 10:03 PM on Nov. 18, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 11 (565 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • You might try one of those little timers that they sell this time of year for the lamp. Set it to go off after an hour or so. We have a rainmaker in Bug's room that we have a timer on. he hates not having it on for bed time but it turns off after an hour so WE don't have to listen to it all night on the monitor. Sorry this is happening to you!

    Answer by cannonsmama at 10:27 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • Well if you let him in bed with will start something you dont want!! Maybe put the night light in the hall way or something so he can see the light but it wont bug him OR they have the coolest flashlights at walmart (they are animals and the mouth opens and the light is in there) and maybe get rid of the night light and let him have a flashlight SO if he needs something he can turn it on--when he wants....I would explain to the teacher what is going on...Good Luck!!!!!

    Answer by tonetoni at 11:10 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • With Connor we have always had a nightlight in his room, but now we bought these lights at Target that are sports flags that light up and hang over his closet. They are not as bright as a night light, but it still lights the room. We also have kept a gate across his door since he first climbed out of his bed at 1 yr old, we really don't need it now, but it has become like a security blanket to him. Sometimes he sleeps with it at the door, sometimes he doesn't. It is not permanent; actually it doesn't take much effort to knock it over, but it has detered him from leaving his room. This is a tough time and we had many nights of returning him back to his bed when he would come stand at the gate and hollar, but eventually he was content that we would be there when he needed us, and all is well. It just takes time and you'll have to try different things to see what works best for you and him. Good luck and hope this helps!

    Answer by Momma211 at 11:55 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • 2 words...Reward Chart! We went through this with our daughter and now with our son who is 3 1/2. There are websites where you can design your own reward chart and print it (all free). Then tell your little one before bedtime that if he stays in his bed and doesn't wake you up, he will get a sticker on his chart and when he has 20 stickers (or however many) then you will take him to Dollar Tree to pick out a toy. It really worked for us, thank goodness. PM me if you can't find a website and I will look up the one that I use for you.

    Answer by slw123 at 12:40 PM on Nov. 19, 2008

  • my son started this around the age of 3. He'd wake up and come into our room saying that he was scared and I simply walked him back to HIS bed and laid with him for 1 minute. That always seemed to do the trick. But sometimes monetary rewards in addition to this are helpful. Maybe after a week or so of him sleeping in HIS bed all night, he could get a some cool new bedsheets...his choice. As for the dark, he always had a few night lights in his room.....not too bright but enough lighting that was a comfort to him.

    Answer by Kimi70 at 7:49 PM on Nov. 19, 2008

  • My son started doing this about a year ago. (He's almost 4 now) At first I let him too, because I knew he had been having some nightmares (grandparents let him watch a scary movie). I figured after a little while he would go back to staying in his bed, but he didn't! So now if he gets up, I take him back to his bed. If he stays in bed, he gets a sticker, like someone else suggested. I told him once he gets 14 in a row, he can get the new comforter he wants. Hopefully it works! Good luck to you too!

    Answer by mom2XandZ at 9:29 PM on Nov. 19, 2008

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