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I have a 4 year old son who I am having a problem keeping him sleeping in his room. We put him in his room to sleep, he gets up in the middle of the night and crawls into our bed. We ask him what's wrong, he is not scared of anything according to him, we leave a small light on, and we have tried with the light off, he still comes into our room. As soon as he gets into our bed he is back asleep. We are having trouble sleeping with him twisting around, kicking etc. Ours is a King size bed and his is a double. Any advice would be appreciated


Brenda Nixon, M.A. Replied: Bedtime issues - whether going to or staying in bed - are common in the preschool years. Your son is probably getting some reinforcement (from his point of view) for crawling into your bed. If you do not want him in there, do not look at nor talk to him, keep all the lights out and simply get up and escort him back to his own bed. By not saying anything or turning on any lights, he gets no reinforcement for his behavior. It may take several episodes of you persistently escorting him back for him to realize he is to sleep in his own bed all night.
Posted On 2009-03-19 21:15:51
Margaret Heffernan Replied: You should just keep doing what you are doing. As soon as he is asleep, pick him up and put him back in his bed. Do this rigorously. There may not be any problem as such - but there will be a problem if he feels that these boundaries are endlessly negotiable or if he gets the impression that having a problem will give him what he wants. I know this sounds rather tough but in my experience, it is parents who stick to firm rules around bedtime and sleeping that manage to have a life. Those that don't get too tired!
Posted On 2007-10-29 05:56:41
Penny Warner Replied: Nighttime can be a frightening time for young children, as they become more independent and aware of the world. At this age, it's not unusual for a child to want to feel the security of parents, especially at bedtime. After going through the night-time ritual -- drink of water, read a story, turn on night-light, etc. -- and he still joins you in bed, perhaps you could carry him back to his own bed when he falls asleep. That way he'll wake up in his own bed in the morning. Praise him for sleeping in his own bed, and perhaps reward him at the end of the week with a bed-related toy, such as a new pillow case, new pajamas, etc. to help him feel proud of his accomplishment.
Posted On 2007-09-13 11:36:31
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