Hi, so our second child is 3.5 and has not really slept well since she was born. Up until she was around 2 we just chalked it up to it being our duty as nighttime parents to do what it took to get her back to sleep and that it would eventually get better. Since our first child was only waking once a night at 2, and then at almost 2.5 he was sleeping all night by himself we figured the second child would follow suit. Wrong. She got used to her daddy sleeping next to her on a queen mattress on her floor because he was much more patient than I was/am, and he was able to get back to sleep immediately after comforting her, whereas I had a much harder time. So my husband still sleeps on a queen mattress next to her every night. She goes to sleep for the night very easily, but often wakes up 1-2 hours later crying and one of us parents goes in to get her back to sleep. On a good night, she will stay asleep for maybe 5 hours and then she refuses to stay asleep unless her daddy is next to her. On most other nights, she continues to wake up every hour or so and daddy ends up going to bed earlier than he wanted because it's exhausting to keep going in to put her back to sleep.
So my question is, what are some of the options we have at this point? Or what are some things you would try? She is very strong willed and though we have tried a gentle CIO, it does not work, and I really don't see that working on this age either. I keep thinking she will eventually grow out of it, but my husband is desperate to have a full night's sleep. We have tried talking to her about the importance of daddy's and mommy's sleep and how it's okay for her to put herself back to sleep...and we have offered to put her in her brother's room on his bottom bunk, but she keeps telling us she cannot sleep unless daddy is there. We even had her sleeping on her own toddler bed next to the big mattress, but inevitably she would climb into the big bed soon after daddy was in it.
Sorry this is getting so long, I just feel like we have been dealing with this for so long and haven't sought any solutions in a while and I needed to see if anyone had any ideas. We also want to have a 3rd child, but it seems almost impossible to imagine life with a newborn and a non-sleeping preschooler!
FWIW, when she wakes up we have offered drink, snack, bathroom, etc. and she doesn't want anything. And she doesn't complain of being in pain.