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3 year old waking and in our bed every night

(8 Posts)
Helpel Thu 07-Nov-19 09:46:21

Our 3 year old dd wakes and comes into our bed almost every night, around the same kind of time (2am-ish). She has never been a good sleeper, co sleeping with me until she was nearly 1 so we could get some sleep, then when she was in a cot she would cry out through the night, then when she was moved into a bed she would simply get out and join us. We have had periods where her sleep has been better and we have been hopeful things were improving and so continued to let her in our bed thinking 'it's just a phase', but now, she must have been in our bed every night bar about 10 nights for the last 4 or 5 months! To add to the problem, she is very restless and kicks and moves around, so not only are we shattered in the morning, she is too. If we try and take her back to her bed, she kicks off massively, which is a problem as she shares a room (by choice) with her 4 year old sister (who sleeps well). We have tried to put them in separate rooms, but this also leads to more dramas at bedtime and through the night.
Just looking to see if any one has any secret hints and tips that might not be so well known as what you can read on google! Thanks!

MsChatterbox Thu 07-Nov-19 09:59:45

It depends what you want. If you want her in her own room they you just have to spend some time returning her every time. If you want to prioritise 4 year olds sleep and don't mind her being in your room then put a bed in your room that she can go to in the night?

BB081 Fri 08-Nov-19 04:07:09

You are her parent and you are in charge.

You’ve just got to be persistent like MsChatterbox says. If your daughter doesn’t like it- tough. In the long run you will all benefit from her sleeping in her own room, and if that means a few more sleepless nights along with tantrums, then so be it. If you do not want to co sleep or have her come into your bed at 2am, she needs to learn this is the rule, keep returning her to her own bed, maybe have a word with her through the day to explain the new routine/ situation. I can imagine it will be difficult with your other child in the house and especially in the night when you’re tired. Maybe try it first on a weekend or in the holidays when you’re off work.

You are her mum, only you know what’s best and if you are that desperate then persistence and routine are key.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Fri 08-Nov-19 04:31:37

How does she go to bed? By herself?

Preggosaurus9 Fri 08-Nov-19 04:55:23

Is she having nightmares? Depending on her language ability you might be able to ask her why she is coming in and explore her feelings with her. A bit more gentle than just returning her to her bed against her will.

I've found the gentle parenting book and aha parenting website useful for this type of issue with DS who is 2.5.

DS was doing as your DD. Turns out he was having nightmares which is normal at this stage of development. We didn't lead the conversation but in the morning would initiate a conversation around did he have a good sleep, what did he dream about. Let him use his own words to describe his experiences and feelings. To begin with we just listened but over time we gently reinforced a way he could get away from the bad thing he was dreaming about and that he was safe in his room. It's generally not advised to say "just a dream" as that invalidates the child's reality and will make the problem worse as they will feel even more alone and afraid with their feelings. But equally it's important not to react emotionally as that will make the child think there really is something wrong or scary. After gently having these conversations in the morning for a few days DS started spontaneously telling us before he went to bed what he was scared of. Which gave us an opportunity to reinforce how he could run away in the dream and he was safe in his room. After a few weeks of these types of conversations (led by him) he stopped the wake ups / needing to bed share. He also improved his mood and behaviour as he wasn't so knackered all the time! Which no doubt helped him sleep better.

I realise that all sounds a bit wanky. I remember being told to grow up etc and being denied cuddles and how awful it made me feel so in that sense it was easy for me to invest the effort in the gentle approach because I could empathise with his upset.

I have no doubt that in future he will go through another phase like this but for now things have improved. Good luck!

Helpel Mon 11-Nov-19 19:43:58

Thanks guys, I know we need to take firm consistent action. I'll be talking things through with my husband to work out how we approach it together. It might be nightmares although she is never distressed when she comes wandering in! Seems more like a habit which we need to break one way or another.

Helpel Mon 11-Nov-19 19:45:16

Oh and yes, she goes to bed with her sister between 7-7.30. They have a story a song then lights out. Most of the time (9 out of 10) she stays in bed and falls asleep within 5 minutes.

Salene Mon 11-Nov-19 20:23:53

If you find the answer let me know , mine is 5 and still Like this

It's exhausting

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