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3 year old still does NOT sleep through the night - Any Advice at All????

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I am at my wits end and don’t know what to do. My three year old daughter still does not sleep through the night or at least not consistently. She will sleep through the night maybe one night in a week or two week time span. All the other nights she wakes up once, twice maybe three times or more during the night. In the morning I am so tired, with a low level of patience and high level of frustration and cranky. I feel awful that I am that way. She has never been a good sleeper.

Some background information, during her first year I always rocked her to sleep never realizing that she needed to learn to fall asleep on her own. I was not a fan of Crying It Out so I slowly had her learn to fall asleep on her own. She now falls asleep on her own for both bedtime and naptime and has been doing so about a year and a half. I just don’t understand why she needs so much reassurance during the night. And how do I solve this problem, so I can get some sleep? During the middle of the night, she calls me into her room for stuff like her hair is in her face or her blanket needs to be fixed or to tell me something or for some other reason that I really don’t know why. She is still in her crib and has no interest in changing to a bed. She insists on the door being open and must have the lights on. She has a nightlight that is on and we have recessed lighting in her bedroom on a dimmer so they are on but dimmed down low. Sometimes she calls me in because when she looks out her bedroom door it is dark in the rest of the house. I explain to her that it is night time and that is why it is dark in the house. She will start crying and screaming. I tell her that she needs to be quiet because her baby brother and Daddy are sleeping but she won’t stop. I have to threaten to close the door but she still won’t stop, so then I close her door for a minute and open it up and she will finally stop screaming and lie back down. By the time this battle is over and I get back to bed, I can’t sleep. Or if we don’t have a battle then after calling me into her room two or three times then I am up and can’t go back to sleep.

I have no idea what to do and I really need to do something to help this situation. I am just so tired and worn out. I would have thought she would have outgrown this by now. Does anyone have any advice, suggestions or anything to help me figure out what I can do so she will sleep better???

Sorry for the long post.  Thanks in advance.


by on May. 19, 2009 at 5:40 PM
Replies (11-16):
by Group Admin on Jun. 8, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Maybe you could let her choose an extra special night light and let her be the one to turn it on and off each night (unless its one of the ones that does it automatically).  The excitement of choosing her own nightlight and being able to see it after you turn out the lights might help.

Quoting StephanieF2:


Quoting leahjoy:

2. Although it sounds like she really wants the lights on, it would be best if you could get her to the point of sleeping in a darkened room with only a night-light.  Having light in the room interferes with a child's sleep cycle, and could be causing part of your problems.  Hope this helps! 

Any ideas regarding how to get my daughter to sleep with the lights off or at least darker?  I try dimming then as low as possible with still being able to read because the last step of her bedtime routine is we read three books in her bedroom before she goes to bed.  She won't let me dim the lights anymore when I leave the room, in fact, she asks for them to be turned up but I won't. 

Anyone have any thoughts on how I can get her use to a darkened room?


by on Jun. 8, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Quoting thecanz01:

Well, I do give him one on one time. His brother goes to preschool twice a week so Luca has me more on those days. BUT - when I do give him one on one, he wants to be on the breast! He is a good eater and drinks all day long.

I don't mind breast feeding him during the day, but the problem is at night. He wakes up around 3 a.m and want to come to my bed and sleep with me while he is attached to my breast all night! I fight him off but to no avail and it gets to a point that I am so exhausted that I just fall asleep and he breast feeds all night long. So in the morning needless to say, I am sore.

To avoid all this conflict, this is the reason why I need to get him to stop breast feeding at all.


It sounds like your son needs to be weaned from overnight feedings.  My understanding is that unless there is something medically wrong, he can definitely fast thru the night at 2yo.  So, to wean overnight my understanding is that you need to wake him to eat earlier than he wakes to nurse & feed him less each few nights until you simply don't nurse any longer.  The Sleepeasy Solution has a section on weaning nighttime feedings.  Even if you don't want to CIO, you could still try the overnight weaning method they have.

Good Luck!


Hate Is NOT a Family Value.

by on Jun. 9, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Hello, I have been going thru the same thing.  My dd will be 3 in August. I was at witts end too..   I went out and bought a book called "solving your childs sleep problems" by Richard Ferber. Today is only day 7 and last night she slept from 840-8 this morning!  It was a life saver book. It just explains how to help your child soothe themselves to go to sleep and to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night. They explain how even if your child is in a crib or in a bed. I totally recommend this book. It was like $15 at borders. you can even use a borders coupon and get it even cheaper!  We went on vaca the beginning of April and for 2 mths she was waking up every night and her whole sleep cycle was off. I cant believe after only a few days your body learns to sleep and they sleep longer!!

good luck~!

by on Jun. 10, 2009 at 7:46 PM

i think your kid is so close to u try to leave your kid with some one every day for some by the time your kid will find that u r not close to her every time.maybe it work.

by on Jul. 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM

I also have a 3 year old that wakes up at lesst 3 times a night. I had a rough pregnancy and got little to no sleep in the last 2 months of it. I thought after the initial infancy stage was over she would sleep through the night and I would get that needed sleep but it seems thats not going to happen. She has her own room with a regular bed she loves her room and plays in it just fine but once it is bedtime she wants to sleep in our room. I let her for a while sleeping in our bed and she slept most of the night but unfortunately my husband and I were woke up regularly with a fist or foot to the head or neck. So I put a cot mattress on the floor and let her sleep there. Well that just caused her to wake up all night and cry for me or she climbs into the bed with us, I will let her fall asleep and put her back onto the mattress but it seems to go on all night and when morning comes to my surprise she is bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to start the day at 6:30am. Me on the other hand I just want to draw the shades and get some needed sleep but since that is not possible I struggle to wake up and I am a grouch for most of the day. Now I have stopped her napping to try to make her sleep better, it  seems to have a made a small small difference. I am at my witts end and I need help too. I was wondering if there is a sleep aid such as a sleepy time tea that they have for adults. I do not feel comfortable giving her something that is not natural or that she will become dependant upon but thus far I have not found anything.I do see that it has been a while since you made this post and I am hoping that you found something that will work. Please help if you can....

by on Dec. 31, 2012 at 8:56 AM
I know these posts are over 3 years old now, but I have a nearly identical situation to the very first post by StephanieF2. I am hoping you people are still on here and can tell me how things turned out for you. I have 2 girls- 3 and 15 1/2 months. My youngest is the best sleeper ever...because I learned my lesson with our first. She was a preemie, 4 weeks early, and thus a horrible sleeper from day one. We rocked and bottle fed her to sleep every night, and would not put her in bed until she was asleep until she was about one or so. We've had ups and downs since then--some great stretches where she slept all night for many nights. We go thru phases of having trouble at bedtime, right now we are actually in a good stretch with that, but she is waking up almost every night at least once, if not 2 or 3 times. I'm usually so tired I just walk her to her room and lay down with her. Last night I finally put my foot down (bc I didn't have to work in the morning)..walked her back to bed, rubbed her back for a min, kissed her and left. She proceeded to wake up/cry, you name it 2-3 more times, ending up in our room again around 4am, at which point I threw a pillow and blanket on the floor by our bed and said-either go to your room or lay on the floor. I am so exhausted, agitated, and just found out I am pregnant with our third. I am hoping since it has been 3 yrs since the posts above, someone can give me some good news as to what helped them solve this issue. Did having them share a room help?? I've considered this many times, but am also concerned that my oldest will keep my youngest from sleeping well, which of course wouldn't be fair to her. Please help!
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