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4 year old won't sleep without me

(7 Posts)
Cuppatea14 Fri 22-Jul-16 21:46:00

Dd aged 4 has suddenly decided she can't sleep without me beside her. She's usually ok, we have stories then a lullaby and then I leave usually by around 8pm and she settles herself if the lullaby hasn't already knocked her out. But lately there's been massive problems and tantrums at bedtime, the usual need a wee, need a drink, then she says she's had a nightmare (even though she hasn't been asleep to have one) etc etc and it all escalates into an almighty shit storm. I'm usually ok at handling tantrums and leave her to it to rage herself out, and then go in for a cuddle when she's calm, but the bedtime ones are a new thing and they just go on and on until I give in and go and sit with her. Not sure whether to be firm and make her go asleep on her own for a few nights even if it means her 'crying it out', anyone any wisdom?

Andsenditsoaring Fri 22-Jul-16 21:50:52

I have no truck with that sort of business so I would ascertain there was nothing actually wrong then tough it out.

DangerQuakeRhinoSnake Fri 22-Jul-16 21:52:43

Gradual retreat method? I'm currently doing this with my three year old who was until recently a fantastic self settler.

Cuppatea14 Fri 22-Jul-16 22:29:35

My instinct is usually to be very firm with this sort of thing, but she's getting herself into such a state I'm thinking there must be some sort of underlying anxiety thing going on. I've only heard of gradual retreat for babies, does it work the same way for older kids or does it need to be modified somehow?

DangerQuakeRhinoSnake Fri 22-Jul-16 23:31:02

I hope it works for older kids! My health visitor suggested it. The only difference is that you explain to them what you're going to do. It's a long hard slog but if you continue sitting with her the habit will be harder to break. Sympathies because I'm in exactly the same boat! Is there a reason you can think of why your dd has suddenly changed? We have a three month old and also recently moved so we're putting it down to insecurities because of that.

puglife15 Sat 23-Jul-16 21:42:41

* there a reason you can think of why your dd has suddenly changed?*

My first thought.

Perhaps she finished preschool and is scared of imminent big school?

New baby on way?

Change of routine?

Something scared her?

I think if you can identify that and reassure her it will improve things, gradually. But nothing wrong with putting clear, explained boundaries in place either, just try to do it lovingly rather than sternly iyswim.

Buddy198 Wed 27-Jul-16 17:02:44

I don't know how sorry but if you can nip it in the bud now she'll be less likely to end up like my 5 yr old dd, she hasn't slept by herself for a year now since she finished pre school last summer 🙁 She would get in such a state she'd start gagging and hyperventilating so we just let her come in with us because we couldn't bear seeing her so distressed, we're now getting some professional help to see if we can re-teach her to sleep by herself and looking into the source of her anxiety (it definitely started straight after leaving pre-school for us, she missed the routine and although seemed excited about starting school it was obviously causing anxiety as well, she doesn't like change of the unknown).

We tried all the usual things like gradual retreat, reward charts, relaxing music, and read books, but our case is extreme! Maybe we should have been tougher like the grandparents have always suggested but she was getting physically unwell plus had moments of anger where she'd hit us, herself, throw things and would not have been safe to leave her. If your dd isn't getting upset to this kind of level I would definitely try and tough it out for a few nights if nothing else is working x

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