Just wrote a post about my 6 month old, but figure while I am here I would ask for some help for my three year old too.
He was an AMAZING sleeper until about 2 months ago. Slept 7-7am, and then after the summer and some travel, he started to have nightmares at night (maybe also an age thing?). Then that turned into him screaming at night because he figured out he could get things, so we did a sticker chart and he started sleeping great again. We then switched him out of crib into a big bed (twin) because he's very tall, and he slept great for about a month.
Now he has been getting out of bed and running into us at night, either because he heard something scary or he had a bad dream. Then we walk him back to bed and he comes back two minutes later. We have tried to use the sticker chart as incentive, and every day he promises he'll stay in, but every night he comes back in at one point or another and it all starts again. Last night he came in with a nightmare and my husband could get him to fall asleep quickly but then he came in at 5am for no reason.
He is EXHAUSTED from his day at preschool at 6:30pm and in bed by 7pm so we can't put him to bed later, and I don't think that is the issue.
We have one of those clocks that shows him to wait until the lamb wakes up - which worked for a while, but not anymore. And then we have a little light on since he is now scared of the dark. And we do white noise.
We have a 6 month old in our room and I can't have him waking the baby by running in every night. Should we just be consistent and walk him back to his room in silence every night until he gets it? I fear if we started sitting with him in his room until he falls asleep again or even laying down with him, he will want that every night - he is so stubborn.
Thankful for any advice you may have!
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
We’ve been going through this with my now 4 year old too (started when she was three). It sucks so much!
Over the summer I tried dropping her quiet time (she rarely naps anymore but I have her play quietly in her room for an hour)- helped maybe a tiny bit but once school started again I started quiet time again because she was over tired and a cranky mess.
We have had the most success with sticker charts with a tangible reward at the end- like we pick out a book together, she gets to look through it once, I draw a picture of the book on her chart, then put it away until she earns the stickers. It is far from perfect but we see some improvement. It’s so hard not to get so mad at her for waking us but we try...
cherry / 235 posts
Unfortunately I don't have any solutions that have worked for us. But wanted you to know you are not alone - we have been going through this with my 3.5 year old for the past 2 months and it has been exhausting
pomelo / 5563 posts
We're going through this too with B (3.5). He had a bad dream, he has to go to the bathroom, he heard a noise, can he sleep in our bed, he just wants to know if he can get up yet. Sometimes he walks into our room, wakes us up, and then just walks back into his room and gets back into bed. The only thing I've found that works is telling him that if he gets out of bed before the sun wakes up he doesn't get to watch tv with his breakfast the next day. Even that is hit and miss.
pomegranate / 3895 posts
We've gone through this off and on since my son turned 2. A few different things we've done:
1. Okay to wake clock paired with a M&M bribe
2. Sticker chart
3. Acceptance - telling him he can come in our room silently and get in bed with us, but must start in his own bed
4. Threatening a lock on his door (low point)
5. Re-addressing his evening routine (we decided he needed more physical stimulation in the evening) and limiting nap to 2.5 hours
All of these have worked for a period of time. Right now I explain that I set a timer (an alarm) in the morning and I will come get him when it goes off. If he stays he gets a piece of his Halloween candy after dinner. We also talk about if he wakes up before Mama comes to get him that he can play in his room or read. We usually pick out 1 or 2 books each night before bed that he can read on his own. He has a flashlight on his bedside table.
Lastly, we play this weird game that he made-up. I lay in bed then he has me call for him and he comes in and asks what's wrong. I then say different things that he has said before - I thought I saw a spider, the shadows scare me, etc - and he rationalizes the fears for me. I think it's helped a lot for him to discuss things (through this weird game) in the light of day.
Sorry for the novel. You have all my sympathies!
pea / 5 posts
Thank you all for sharing what you've done/tried! I will see if I can add some things.
It's very comforting to know we're not alone in this Between the two kiddos right now, I feel like my brain has gone to mush. Hopefully it is just a phase. I also look fwd to Halloween being over so my extra sensitive toddler doesn't have to hear about ghosts and monsters everywhere from the food store to tv to school!
cherry / 176 posts
Oh my gosh, I feel you! I wrote a similar post a few months ago, except it was at bedtime we were struggling so much rather than the middle of the night. It's so hard to be super consistent and non-reactive/emotional when you're really tired, even though that's what all the advice I got points to. It will pass though, especially if you're as consistent as possible! Good luck:)
nectarine / 2115 posts
We had one of those handle covers on her door knob so our daughter couldn't open the door herself. If she really needed something we would hear her on the monitor and come in. Now at 3.5 we removed that cover but the habit has remained. She knows she can leave but only will if she absolutely has to go potty or something.
For us this was a safety concern. All bedrooms are upstairs and I needed to feel that she wouldn't fall down the stairs or something.
pea / 16 posts
We've been going through staying in bed trouble with our almost three year old...it's no fun! The okay to wake clock helped us for a couple weeks and then its magic wore off. A combination of things ended up helping us:
1. Reading the book "The Magic Bunny" over and over again...and giving her a light up elephant that plays lullabies/projects stars that she thinks is like her own version of the bunny in the book that keeps her safe at night. We do hear the elephant turn on when she wakes up through the middle of the night, but I'd rather her use that than come get us.
2. A couple of structured times to get out of bed at the start of the night. (This mainly started because she kept asking for water, to use the bathroom, etc at the start of the night...but I do think it helped to keep her in bed in general through the night/morning). I was totally against it initially because I wanted bedtime to really be bedtime, but it's been helpful for our situation, so here we are. Since the visual cue from the okay to wake clock had initially helped, we opted to try something along those lines. We plugged in a nightlight into a WiFi outlet plug that we can turn on/off from our phones. We tell her as we tuck her in for bed that when her nightlight turns on, she can come out to get us if she needs anything. Usually, we turn it on about 10-15 minutes after tucking her in to bed, and she asks to use the potty when she gets out of bed that time. If she is still awake after another half hour, I'll turn the nightlight on one more time to let her come out of her room again. It's put her getting out of bed on our terms a little more at the start of the evening, but still gave her the sense that she had an out if she needed it. Obviously, I'm hoping to wean our way off of this at some point...but for now, it's working.
Good luck! I hope you get to a better place with your son's sleep soon.
pomegranate / 3230 posts
I sleep with my 3.5yo all the time. If he wakes up in the MOTN, he just climbs into bed with me and we both go back to sleep immediately. If I tried anything else, it would severely disrupt my sleep because I would have to get up and be fully awake to deal with him.
I am just assuming that at some point he will lose interest in sleeping with mommy. I don't mind that it's not yet at 3.5.
pea / 5 posts
Thank you all for your tips, tricks and recommendations! I am going to see what we can do to make the situation bearable since it doesn’t seem to be going away. The past two nights he has only come in starting at 5am which I am guessing is because of light sleep in the morning, and my husband has just stayed in his room till 6:30. Problem is he doesn’t fall back asleep after 5. I just hope he starts sleeping through those early morning wake ups soon because I can tell he really needs that extra hour to two hours of sleep to not wake cranky.
bananas / 9229 posts
Reviving this post as were in the same boat with our 3.5 year old! It seems to be the age for this. What gives?!
Her wake up is usually to be tucked in. Sometimes asking for water or something. She’ll pee on her own, she has a cup of water in her room... This started when I was pregnant, maybe October or November? Now we have a 3 month old who sleeps near my side of the bed and I don’t want woken up. We tried a reward chart which seemed to incentivize her but then she went back to old habits. I tried another one but the reward clearly isn’t good enough because it’s not working. Baby waking me is enough, I don’t need her to too!
kiwi / 702 posts
@antonia27: try a sticker chart with a simple reward if lo stays in bed for, say, 3 nights in a row. Worked like a charm for my 4yo dd.
grapefruit / 4043 posts
I'm going to follow along. I have a 2.5 year old that I still have in a crib. She cries for me usually at least once soon after I put her down, and then again around 5 am. I can't even imagine what will happen when I put her into a toddler bed and she has all of that freedom. 10 month baby is still waking up twice a night. Ugh.