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5 yr old boy refuses to sleep in own bed/room

(12 Posts)
SleepyDadZZzzzz Thu 22-Jan-15 10:09:01

Hi all


My 5 yr old boy has developed a fear of being left alone. He goes to school without issue but when we are at home he follows either my wife or I around continually. He can be watching TV downstairs or playing with toys and if I pop upstairs for even 5 mins to use the loo he start calling out wanting to know where I am and then come and find me.

Nights are by far the worst. He's not slept in his own bed for at least 4 weeks. He goes to bed without issue. We follow the same routine that we've had since he was a baby : PJ's on, teeth brush, into bed, story, lights out & 5/10 mins of singing. He's usually asleep at this point but even if not he'll let me leave the room and he fall asleep within a few mins. But a few hours later he'll wake and go crazy. He'll scream out for me and won't settle again.

I've tried repeating the bed time routine, I've tried telling him off, I've tried leaving him to cry, I've even tried putting him in the spare bedroom which is directly adjacent to ours so he can look over and see us in bed but nothing works apart from putting him into bed with us.

I really don't know how to break this cycle but at the same time reassure him that he is perfectly safe and should be happy to sleep in his own bed in his own room.

Any advice or suggestions will be gratefully received.

MrsTawdry Thu 22-Jan-15 10:12:09

No idea. I have the same issue with my 6 year old DD. confused I'm joining in in case there are ideas I've not tried.

We tried to be foreceful after being helpful...nightlights failed, fairy lights failed, a big canopy of floaty curtains over her bed failed...the radio on failed....we tried letting her cry but she got so distressed that we decided it just wasn't worth it and let her sleep in our bed!

She was beside herself. I;m sick of it to be frank...sick of getting in bed with a sweaty, tall 6 year old who clamps to my side even in her sleep!

Like your DS she's happy and confident at school...doing well academically and socially...we just can't fight her need to sleep in our bed!

MrsTawdry Thu 22-Jan-15 10:17:06

Just googled a bit and this article says if your child has been starting out the night in the parents bed and staying there then the way to do it is to stay with them in their they make the break gently and push the reset button.

It says to "have a slumber party" in their room for about 3 nights...(not fun) and then, when you think they're ready, don't lie down but sit in a chair till they go to sleep.

I am going to try it.

BeautyQueenFromMars Thu 22-Jan-15 10:27:12

Has he given you any idea of what he is scared of? Has he accidentally seen something scary, either at home or at school? Or even overheard something?

My DS did this, and I discovered that he'd seen something a bit scary without my knowledge, and he was frightened to be on his own.

SleepyDadZZzzzz Thu 22-Jan-15 10:28:07

I good to try that one also.

Funny you mention a slumber party as I was thinking of letting him invite a friend over for a slumber party. He's a bit young at 5 to have a friend stay but I was thinking it might incentives him to 'want' to stay in there.

SleepyDadZZzzzz Thu 22-Jan-15 10:31:48

thank BQFM. I've asked him a few times and he doesn't offer any consistent answer.

I will ask again tonight though.

I made a point at bed time last night of walking him around the house and showing him that the doors and windows were all locked but at the same time stressing that 'not that there is anything to be worried about'.

MrsTawdry Thu 22-Jan-15 10:41:30

Mine isn't scared at all...its just a bloody excuse! She says she's scared but there's nothing she can pinpoint.

PeterParkerSays Thu 22-Jan-15 11:20:42

I have a thread in Sleep on this very topic, almost identical in detail, down to the 5 yr old boy. I had no replies to my OP so I ended up looking on the internet for help. We are trying:

- outright bribery / sticker chart - tick on a sticker chart when he sleeps through in his own bed and 5 ticks gets him a toy from the pound shop
- night light on overnight
- small toy / music box to distract him from any bad dream he may have had so he wakes up and fiddles with the toy / listens to the music until he drifts back off, without getting up.

It hasn't been hugely successful - we started on Monday night and he got up at 12.30 and was steered back to bed hmm, on Tuesday night he got up at 4am and DH just said to let him get into bed with us hmm but last night he did sleep through. Not sure the "distracting from bad dreams thing is working - DS just seems programmed to get up and come to us when he wakes up without thinking "oh, I'm supposed to do something different now" but having had the first unbroken night's sleep in ages I feel a bit more positive than I did on Monday morning having got up twice the night before.

The websites I looked at were here and here. Oh, and don't bother post on the Sleep topic unless you have a baby who won't sleep. grin

MrsTawdry Thu 22-Jan-15 11:42:00

Peter I also tried letting DD have a few books and even pens to colour with whilst she "fell asleep". All that happened was she lay there till 9.30 colouring and buggering about then yelled and cried to go to our bed, hmm

I am organising DH and I into turn taking from tomorrow for the sleepover in her room. I don't know how she'll take it but I reckon she'll say she needs us to lie in her single bed with her rather than on the floor!

I am planning to beat that by putting up an air bed on the floor so she can lie down with us if she needs to.

Then sneaking of when she's asleep!

SleepyDadZZzzzz Thu 22-Jan-15 11:51:45

Thanks Peter. Yes it sounds like a very similar situation. I have tried all of those things also.

I also agree that I think my son calls out before he remembers he's not supposed to and then having done so is fixated on wanting to come into our bed.

My son seems to be a very light sleeper and whenever I attempt to 'sneak out' of his room once he's asleep he stirs and cry for me to not leave.

BeautyQueenFromMars Thu 22-Jan-15 11:54:40

How would you feel about using 'monster/baddie spray'? Essentially water in a spray bottle labeled as above. You could spray it round the doors and windows, and under his bed, or let him do it. This spray stops monsters and baddies getting in.

I really hope you manage to get it sorted soon, as I completely understand how it makes you feel!

PurpleStripedSock Thu 22-Jan-15 12:35:32

My (absolute) guess would be that the kids are waking themselves up with nightmares hence being unable to verbalise a tangible threat/fear. I mean, try describing your own nightmare to someone when you are a grown up with the vocabularly and world knowledge to do so?

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