almost 4yo suddenly refusing to go to bed - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 05-11-2003, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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my daughter has just started refusing to lie down in bed and go to sleep. bedtime was always pretty easygoing; a little non-cooperation or fooling around, but never flat out refusal to go to bed before. my husband and i need our headspace in the evening, so letting her just stay up until she wants to go to bed is not an option. the last 2 nights he had to take her for a car ride! that's definitely not a long term option. her birthday is in a week and my husband suggested she's just really excited. she's been to birthday parties the last two weekends, so it could be that. has anyone dealt with this before? maybe we need a new bedtime routine. we usually read then sing until she's asleep. a few nights ago when she started saying she wasn't tired during bedtime i left the room and she went to sleep with a cd. she still wakes up almost eveery night too. help!
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#2 of 5 Old 05-11-2003, 05:03 PM
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It's always hard when kids change their nighttime routines on you, isn't it?

Are you sure she is tired at her normal 'bedtime'? If my girls have slept late in the morning for some reason, I need to move their bedtime back, or I tend to have problems.

She also might just be at a stage where she needs a bit less sleep? It might be an idea to wake her up 30 minutes earlier each morning and see if that helps.

With my 3.5 year old, we don't insist that she goes to bed as soon as we leave her. She has her usual bedtime routine (read stories, talk with Daddy, then nurse with Mommy). After this, sometimes she'll roll over and go right to sleep.

Other times, she just isn't quite ready for whatever reason. So she plays quietly in her room until she's ready to put herself to bed. Sometimes she'll come downstairs and ask for water, or to go to the bathroom, or something like that, but usually, she just plays for 5-10 minutes and then goes to bed.

We put in a child lamp (from Ikea) right over her bed, so she can easily turn it on/off herself...this gives her the freedom to play for awhile, then go to bed.

I think it's just a control thing...she likes to decide for herself when exactly she is going to lie down and go to sleep. We always try to make sure she is good and tired before we put her to bed. And I think she generally is tired...when she plays, it's rarely for more than 5-10 minutes, so I think it's more a 'I'm deciding when to go to bed' thing than a 'I'm not tired, so I'm going to play' thing, you know?

Would that work for your 4 year old?
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#3 of 5 Old 05-11-2003, 11:33 PM
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Get her up a bit earlier in the morning.


The anti-Ezzo king
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#4 of 5 Old 05-13-2003, 01:19 PM
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Maybe she just doesn't like being left out of things! (She has to go to bed while you stay up and have fun.)

My boys are 4 and 6 and we get this a lot. Which I think is fine and normal, it's just inconvenient for me. So I am a little bit manipulative about getting my way. If one wants to stay up, I say "okay", but explain that we have to turn off all the lights so everyone else can sleep (which is sort of true, because we keep our bedroom doors open), and say "goodnight" cheerily. They have always decided that they'd rather be snuggling with me than alone in the dark. Usually I am tired enough to fall asleep with them, but sometimes I get up again after they've fallen asleep and have some "me" time.

When they're older and safety is not an issue, I'm fine with them making their own hours, because I want them to be able to regulate themselves in a healthy way, which involves paying attention to what your body is telling you rather than to an outside source. They could be learning that right now, and yes I'm undermining that, but it's worth it to me for safety reasons and because they still need me so much, i.e., I am not getting up at 4 in the morning to make them breakfast, so we need to be on somewhat the same schedule for now.
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#5 of 5 Old 05-13-2003, 03:11 PM
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Hmmm... I think the birthday thing might be the key. i know when special events are coming up mine get worked up too.

As to sleeping through the night, My 4 yo just She was up every night 2 or 3 times, even when she slept with me. Finally we started talking about how big girls if they wake up, they stay quiet and not yell. If she needed to go tot he bathroom she could just go. We praised her when she had a better night. She was able to keep a cup of water in her room. Soon there was longer and longer stretches between the wakings.
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