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4 year old suddenly wants to sleep in our bed - WWYD?

(27 Posts)
autumnskies Tue 15-Jan-13 13:51:08

That's it really. DD suddenly over last few nights been much more difficult going to bed. Last night woke up in early hours wanted to be in our bed - threw almighty strop. My default - not to give in to stropping, but that decision involved a LOT of lost sleep which I can't afford - and a lost battle when I fell asleep and she climbed in. I don't know what to do if she does it again. What would you do? My instinct is to try to find out why she's upset, but she can't articulate what it is - and is throwing lots of strops generally at the moment. Is it best to let her for a few nights - i.e. not have a battle I lose - and hope it settles down again (i.e. she goes to bed in her bed happy and then sleeps through). or am I going to regret that?

toosoppyforwords Tue 15-Jan-13 14:28:52

I'm not sure what the answer is but wanted you to know you are not alone! We are in the same situation. I started a similar thread a week or so ago on the exact issue

I also am not giving in to letting her come into our bed, because while i think it might be a short term answer it will most likely lead to problems later on...

I make sure when she goes to bed she has everything she needs (bears, blanket etc) and that there is nothing scaring her (ie no monsters in her room etc) Each time she gets up i simply take her back - results in lots of strops, DH getting angry so he leaves me to it now ! - but i do persevere.

I also say to her we'll have one big cuddle before bed and one huge cuddle in the morning but nighttime is for sleeping. Fortunately we dont have a problem everynight but tends to go in stops and starts.

I'm sure someone else will be along soon with some more advice

fluffyanimal Tue 15-Jan-13 14:35:58

No particular advice but again sympathies, as I have something similar going on with 3yo DS2. His sleep went to pot in the autumn after a couple of illnesses which disrupted his sleep, and now he wakes up every couple of hours wanting to come in our bed. For a while I slept in the spare room with him, which only encouraged bad habits, and once or twice we let him in with us, which resulted in nobody getting any sleep as he got too hot and kept throwing the duvet off.

The minute he appears in our room I take him straight back to his with as little engagement as possible. I do stay in his room until he falls back asleep, but I respond to all attempts at engagement, e.g. wanting to hold my hand, or protests that he can't sleep in his own bed, with "Shhh, go to sleep", or simply just being silent. It's early days yet but I think there is a gradual reduction in the number of times he is waking. If it persists much longer I'm going to try a sticker chart with promise of a much desired toy at the end.

autumnskies Tue 15-Jan-13 14:38:13

much encouraged that am not the only one here! smile

I just cannot afford nights like last night again every night....

YDdraigGoch Tue 15-Jan-13 14:39:06

My advice would be to stick with saying no. The message will sink in quickly, and a few nights of lost sleep now is worth it to avoid a lot of nights of lost sleep when DD gets used to getting into your bed.

You could put a clock in the room and tell her she is allowed in when the little hand gets to 7 (or whatever suits you), and reward her for staying in her own bed all night. If she's too young for a clock, how about a radio alarm, so she can come in after that's gone off?

Just stick with it.

PandaNot Tue 15-Jan-13 14:43:36

My ds went through a phase of this when he was about four or five. He would just come and stand at the side of our bed and wait til I noticed him! Since we had dd by this point I would just let him come in, since I was too tired to be bothered with all the musical beds. He rarely stayed til morning and everyone got their sleep. He stopped after about six months of doing it. Do you find it hard to sleep if she's in with you?

autumnskies Tue 15-Jan-13 14:51:44

I'm slightly flummoxed as she's never wanted to do it before. Last night, after all the stropping I slept ok (certainly better than her waking up and crying and shouting), but I've got no idea whether I would if she was sleeping there normally.
I'm not sure what's sparked this; I was wondering whether if she felt more secure (i.e. there was an option to come into our bed) that she was less likely to wake. But that I fear may be wishful thinking
PandaNot what was your experience? Why did he stop?

Iggly Tue 15-Jan-13 15:01:15

Ah ds has been like this. We sit with him and hold his hand. It passes quite quickly. I think he gets nightmares but can't articulate it very well.

redwineattheweekend Tue 15-Jan-13 15:01:26

Our 3yo sometimes does this. She's a good sleeper generally and it's not every night so i tell her she can have 5 mins in our bed then shehas to go back. It's usually only a couple of minutes then I tell her times up and she goes back, sometimes she wants to be tucked in, others not. Could be worth a try

PandaNot Tue 15-Jan-13 15:06:53

I'm not sure why he stopped. I think it might have been because he knew at that point that he was allowed to do it if he wanted to, does that make sense? I think he was probably a little unsettled by having a relatively new baby sister around and just wanted a little bit of security. He never said why he wanted to and to be honest I never asked! My dd has only ever done it once and that was when she had a bad dream. She came in literally shaking, poor thing.

autumnskies Tue 15-Jan-13 15:37:29

redwineattheweekend I wondered whether that would be a way forward - a compromise

Last night was just dreadful. YDdraiggoch I did all the 'when the big hand is on the 12 and little on 7' - but this was 12.15 and she was savvy enough to know that was a long way off even if unable to tell time. smile

Every time I took her back there were shouts, hysterical crying, wails....

She was playing up at bedtime as well which she never usually does

autumnskies Tue 15-Jan-13 20:31:29

I don't know what to do. She's hysterical - I go in quieten her down and three minutes later she's screaming again. It's half eight. I haven't got any work done. I don't know what's triggered this....or how to find out sad

MilkshakeMaker Tue 15-Jan-13 21:00:15

Are you checking she isnt cold/hot, hungry,thirsty,poorly, overtired/undertired, scared of something, Has anything changed in her routine?

My ds had a stage of being overtired and whilst he would go down fine, he woke up at 1ish every night, asking to come into my bed and still being awake hours later...It drove me insane. (sometimes crying like how you described, sometimes WIDE awake, sometimes just sobbing to be in my bed)

He accidently had a nap one day at nursery(was miffed when I was told as he hasnt had naps for over a year) but that eve was 1st night in months he slept the whole night. Now every so often he does the 1am thing so he has a few nap days and it settles out. I want to say every few months life just gets too much for him, but he's 3 and has nothing to moan about so I dont get it.

Sadly, its trial and error and grinning and bearing it and coming on here to moan about it We feel your pain!

LifeofPo Tue 15-Jan-13 21:03:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

destinationanywhere Tue 15-Jan-13 21:05:15

Well I'm going against the grain here. I find it easier to just let 4 year old ds into our bed. I found I get more sleep if he just hops in and we try and ignore him. Some nights he starts off in our bed as well.

Its not for everyone but all round sleep wise it works for us. He is my3rd out of 4 boys and so I take the easy route.

Good luck.

MousyMouse Tue 15-Jan-13 21:08:56

dc (both of them) do it sometimes.
we usually just let them in. it's not every night and I enjoy the extra cuddles

autumnskies Tue 15-Jan-13 21:11:43

Thank you all of you....! And good advice. She's finally dropped asleep from exhaustion

Definitely overtired MilkshakeMaker. But what's getting her wound up I don't know having tried the cold/hot/thirsty/scared stuff...

Let's see what happens tonight. I still am not sure what I am going to do....but DH and I are going to make a plan and agree it....which i think is the important thing rather than busking it on the night...

Fingers crossed!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 15-Jan-13 21:12:46

Has she had chicken pox? Both of our ds's were very clingy for a couple of days before their spots appeared.

MilkshakeMaker Tue 15-Jan-13 21:13:15

I did too at first but dp started staying over, nothing says taking it slow like 3 in a bed!!!

3littlefrogs Tue 15-Jan-13 21:22:18

I used to make a little nest on the floor next to our bed, just a folded duvet and a pillow and a blanket. If they were lonely they could come in and sleep next to us. The deal was they would only wake us if absolutely necessary.

It never caused a problem. Sometimes little children do get a bit lonely/scared at night. They see their parents snuggled in together, so it isn't surprising they want to get in too.

MilkshakeMaker Tue 15-Jan-13 21:27:32

How do you stop them from just getting into your bed though? I did the nest on the floor thing once and woke up with ds's foot in my face!

usualsuspect Tue 15-Jan-13 21:29:23

I just used to let mine get in, whatever got us through the night with the least stress TBH.

They all grew out of it.

Purpleprickles Tue 15-Jan-13 21:58:27

Ds is 4.3yrs and has always come in our bed around 5 am but as he goes back to sleep we let him. Sometimes he asks earlier and we say no which can cause tantrums.

Anyway I was more posting about the emotional side of your dd. My ds has gone become emotional since turning four, lots of tears over ridiculous things but equally a lot of it seems to be separation anxiety again and about "missing us". I think this is normal (?) for around this age. Maybe your dd is feeling the same hence wanting to be close at nighttime?

concessionsavailable Tue 15-Jan-13 22:14:13

If you can sleep with her there, I'd let her in.
We did that with our 4 year old and there was no problem after a couple of weeks she stopped coming, of her own accord. As another poster says upthread, it's almost that the reassurance of knowing they are welcome makes them feel more reassured in their own bed. If you feel it's just about playing up/ attention seeking, rather than reassurance after illness/ new sibling/ starting school again (or whatever) then bribery works to get her to stay in her own bed- sticker every morning and ten gets a magazine or whatever.
It's quite cold at the moment- is it possible that an extra blanket or wearing a dressing gown in bed might help?

3littlefrogs Wed 16-Jan-13 06:38:21

I remember one night there were so many people in the bed that DH fell out the other side. grin

They all outgrow it.

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