Almost 4 year old suddenly refuses to sleep alone - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 09-19-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

   My son, who will be 4 in December, has always been a great sleeper since he was a few months old, naturally (we don't believe in CIO; he just willingly slept through the night), and in his own room.  In the past month, he wanted to read and fall asleep in me and my husband's bed, which is perfectly fine by us.  Our son was still in his crib.....his own doing...refused refused refused a bed and freaked upon taking his crib apart to convert......so we figured he probably enjoyed just being spread out on our bed without confines.  So, we got him a bed, figuring he'll be 4 in a few short months and he's really tall for his age and we have to push him on this one for his own safety and security.  After he fell asleep, my husband would transfer him to his room and we'd go to sleep in our bed......however, he would wake in the night and crawl in bed.  okay.  bed arrived, and he was actually excited about it.  while I need to still read and stay until he falls asleep and that's fine by me, he's waking up around 4 am and coming into our room still!  I've been leading him back to his room, but he tell me, "I won't sleep alone, please, please, stay with me."  I don't know where this sudden fear is coming from, or what its about - I've tried talking about it, creating an anti lion (that's his thing, not monsters) chant, white noise, whatever, but its not working.  he just keeps repeating that he doesn't want to sleep alone.  I might burn sage to clear the energy, but anything else that I might be missing?  he's an only child, i'm not expecting, we haven't moved, he hasn't started school as he stays home with me all day with my attention all day, so..............help!!

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#2 of 14 Old 09-19-2013, 08:58 PM
 
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I'm remembering how freaked out I would get as a kid when I had to sleep in a bed that wasn't right up against a wall.  I was uneasy and scared the whole night long.  I really wonder if it's just...the bed itself, in which case it may just be a matter of time.  Does he sleep with a side rail?  Could you try tucking a bolster or rolled blanket under the fitted sheet to make it more enclosed-feeling?

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#3 of 14 Old 09-19-2013, 09:28 PM
 
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my son is 3 and a 1/2 and we simply have his twin bed right next to our queen bed. He has slept in a bed next to our bed always. First it was the cosleeper then the sidecared crib and now the twin bed.none of us are ready for him to sleep alone in his own room yet. We know we will eventually when it feels right.

I don't think it is unusual for a 4 yr old to want to sleep w- his parents- maybe you can just go for it and put his bed next to yours. Perhaps when he is older he will feel easier sleeping alone.

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#4 of 14 Old 09-20-2013, 03:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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his bed in the same spot his crib was, so that shouldn't be the issue; also, he will fall asleep with no problem (as long as i'm with him) and has never mentioned that.....he doesn't have problems sleeping in big beds, so we did get him a full mattress to grow with him......  while I don't mind the idea of him sleeping with us, he is a pretty violent sleeper which is effecting our sleep, which effects our daytime productivity, especially my husband because he needs to dangle hundreds of feet in the air at times and needs his wits about him (elevator mechanic).  moving our beds together isn't an option, as our room is too small as it is with our bed and dressers, although a great suggestion.

 

my concern is why is he suddenly doing this?  since he was a few months old, he transitioned to the crib from our bed with no problems.  never cried, almost enjoyed his time alone (we could hear him happily babbling in the monitor) because some nights, he would tell us when he wanted to hang in the crib!  didn't wake at any point through the night for us.......but now, on cue, he's up.  again last night around 4 am.  he falls right back asleep in our bed, so he's definitely tired.  I wish I could get to the root of the issue.  like I said, if he slept kinda still and didn't thrash around so much, it would be a little less of an issue.  thanks for your input!

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#5 of 14 Old 09-24-2013, 01:52 AM
 
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I remember taking one of our pillows into my daughters bed with her, having our smell close to her was comforting. Though I also would fall asleep in the twin bed we had set up for her in her room. Tight fitted sheets or the rolled blankets, are fantastic ideas. And numerous times just reassuring her that we were right on the other side of the wall and that it was okay. Distract with different things like a night light, having the door open or music. These were all super helpful to me. And if you aren't opposed maybe it is just a phase, if he hasnt spent that much time sleeping with you maybe he is really needing some closeness at night. Seems realistic...! Best of luck! Also, knowing the difference in their cries is helpful. I would never let my girl cry herself to sleep, but there were times were she would whimper. ~Star

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#6 of 14 Old 09-24-2013, 08:48 AM
 
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Any chance you would be willing to hop into his bed with him? That way DH isn't disturbed and DS can fall straight back to sleep. If he's quick and you're awake, go back to bed but if you pass out with him, it's not a big deal. It's probably a phase and I think the more reassurance he gets, the sooner he will likely get over it.
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#7 of 14 Old 09-29-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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Maybe he's suddenly realized that he's lonely at night? Possibly scared? My kids (4 and 7) sleep in a double bed next to ours. There's no way in the world I could get the 4YO to sleep in a separate room. My 7YO just went on her first sleepover a few weeks ago and actually slept in a tent! I think she would be fine sleeping in a separate room, but just prefers to sleep next to her sister.

Another thought, I'm not sure where you are, but its just recently gotten really cold around here. Sometimes the kids kick off their blankets and wake up cold/crying (younger DD). I'm sure your bed is warmer with all the body heat. Does he have sleepers he could wear at night, or maybe turn up the thermostat?


" rel="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/familybed2.gif">familybed2.gif  DD1 12/05, DD2 12/08


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#8 of 14 Old 10-02-2013, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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well, I tried some of your suggestions and none worked :/  I tried to sleep with him in his bed but was so uncomfortable (i'm a little bigger, and its only a full size bed with a thrashing around kid) that I went back to my bed.   my husband and I left shirts we wore earlier around him so he might be mentally tricked staying in bed thinking mommy and daddy are next to him......nope.  I have just resigned myself to this.......quite honestly I really don't mind much as we're getting used to it....its just the constant moving that gets us....the bigger problem is family telling us how wrong we are to allow this "behavior" to continue....its just cosleeping!  I guess I have mixed feelings on the subject will need to work on that myself.  thanks for all the help :)

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#9 of 14 Old 10-02-2013, 06:05 AM
 
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Nothing wrong with co sleeping at any age in my opinion, I think it's a very natural thing for a child to want to be sleeping near to/with the people they are closest to (usually mom or dad). It's a comfort thing... anything could have happened that maybe scared him a little into needing more comfort right now, maybe not huge things to us like moving home, a new sibling or starting school, perhaps he saw something on tv? heard people arguing? I don't know, just suggesting stuff. Maybe it wasn't anything and he just needs to be close to his parents at night time right now. Sorry it's difficult with him in bed with you though, as he moves around a lot. Could you maybe purchase a bigger bed for you all to sleep in? King size or even queen size bed? I would do that if possible. Also for your dh's sake could you be the one to sleep in the middle? then he won't be woken by your son moving next to him.. and if your son is on the outer side, you could also put a guard rail up so he is safer there. 

 

Just another thought, maybe get a single bed and put it along the foot end of your own bed? So that way you are in seperate beds but they are kind of joined together so he is still very close to you?


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#10 of 14 Old 10-09-2013, 10:20 PM
 
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My daughter started to do this when i had my second child.  but now that they are both bigger i put them in a queen sized bed together and as long as they are touching each other like a foot on each other then they sleep through the whole night.  I was told to do like an electric blanket so that she would feel the heat and think that it was me next to her.  I do know that when i keep her really busy through the day she sleeps all night long no problem so try to keep him very active and running around to get rid of the energy.  I also put a night light in the room but it is a projector light so her favorite cartoon characters are on her wall and ceiling throughout the night.  Also leaving the door open, every time i have closed it she freaks out in her sleep and ends up waking up and not going back to sleep.

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#11 of 14 Old 10-09-2013, 10:23 PM
 
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I forgot in my post another thing that i did that worked out really well i was told to take the crib mattress and put it on floor right next to me and every night move it a couple of inches out of your room and into theirs until they are sleeping in their own bed in their own bedroom.  I did this and it took about a week before she was comfortable enough to make the first move about a foot away from me and even though they do end up sleeping in the hallway at a point in this transition it does work just make sure you have some sort of night light so they dont freak out if they do wake up.

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#12 of 14 Old 10-10-2013, 06:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lovingcj View Post


Hi there, have you tried maybe a teddy bear, or any stuff animal... You could play with him throughout the day let him know that its his friend and that he can make him company when he needs it. Just make him comfortable with it maybe for some days. Even if he falls asleep with it in your bed and keep trying to put him in his bed afterwards but with the teddy. That way if he goes to your room explain to him that he isnt alone that he has his teddy and that you are always there.

Might take time but that could help. Good luck
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#13 of 14 Old 10-14-2013, 07:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lovingcj View Post

well, I tried some of your suggestions and none worked :/  I tried to sleep with him in his bed but was so uncomfortable (i'm a little bigger, and its only a full size bed with a thrashing around kid) that I went back to my bed.   my husband and I left shirts we wore earlier around him so he might be mentally tricked staying in bed thinking mommy and daddy are next to him......nope.  I have just resigned myself to this.......quite honestly I really don't mind much as we're getting used to it....its just the constant moving that gets us....the bigger problem is family telling us how wrong we are to allow this "behavior" to continue....its just cosleeping!  I guess I have mixed feelings on the subject will need to work on that myself.  thanks for all the help smile.gif


 



You don't have to tell anyone where he is sleeping. We stopped those conversations a long time ago. Really, I don't think there is anything wrong with co-sleeping, and I don't feel like being lectured by other people (even family) about it. :-)

Eventually he'll move out, and you'll miss the days when there was a little guy in your bed. Enjoy him for now.
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#14 of 14 Old 10-16-2013, 11:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lovingcj View Post
 

well, I tried some of your suggestions and none worked :/  I tried to sleep with him in his bed but was so uncomfortable (i'm a little bigger, and its only a full size bed with a thrashing around kid) that I went back to my bed.   my husband and I left shirts we wore earlier around him so he might be mentally tricked staying in bed thinking mommy and daddy are next to him......nope.  I have just resigned myself to this.......quite honestly I really don't mind much as we're getting used to it....its just the constant moving that gets us....the bigger problem is family telling us how wrong we are to allow this "behavior" to continue....its just cosleeping!  I guess I have mixed feelings on the subject will need to work on that myself.  thanks for all the help :)


I think the suggestion of the "clothes with your scent on it" was really for an infant and someone may have misread your son's age. I'm thinking, although that may work with some babies, it wouldn't f\
"fool" many 4 year old.

 

Why do you have to tell anyone you are co-sleeping? Does your mom tell you her sleeping arrangements? Does your sister? Even if they do, you don't have to share especially with people who may disagree with you. Me, I only share details of my life with people who most likely are not going to make any judgements on me or my choices. People who get judge y... don't get the benefit of being told any details.

 

You are a parent and an adult now. YOU make the rules and, if you don't want to, you don't have to share them with judgmental people. If nosy family intrudes, simply smile and say, "Thanks for your suggestions, we have it under control now." And REFUSE to elaborate. Your family doesn't walk into the bedrooms and look around do they? If so, well, I had to make a rule with my own mother, "You can't wander around our house upstairs." She's not only judgmental, but very nosy. (Caught her going through our medicine cabinet once and she made up some, "Oh, I need some band-aids" (which she didn't need.) From now on, our bedrooms are off limits to everyone except immediate family. Not that that stops my mother, when we have people over she still tries the "let me put the coats on your bed." Uh, we have an entire library on the first floor, complete with coat rack and coat closet and she knows this, NO reason to use OUR BED as a coat rack. I just shut her down before she has a chance to get up in my business.

 

I've found it's the best way to deal with nosy people, just shut 'em down and go on to an other topic.

 

Yeah, your son is in the "monster" age, (or in his case, Lion Age) and it's normal to be scared in the night. Be there for him and he will be able to overcome his fear WITH you there and he will outgrow it. familybed1.gif


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