My son, now 10 years old, has never had a problem going to sleep or staying in his own bed and we did not have a "family bed" when he was younger. However, for the last few months, he's been coming to our bedroom every night and crawling in between both of us. There is just not enough room for all three of us and no one is getting a good night's sleep. My husband and I take turns taking him back to his room, comforting him and staying until he falls back to sleep but minutes later he's back and now complaining of nightmares. Last night he came to our room 4 times. We were up with him from 12:40am to 4:00am. Both my husband and I were so exhausted we finally let him stay. Not only are we walking zombies, I'm worried that my son is not getting enough rest as well. What could be causing this and what can we do???
Start by reading Dr. Ferbers book on sleep. Second talk to him in the daytime and ask why he is doing it. State the rules for your home and your bed. If he keeps coming in, lock the door or take him back to his bed and tell him he may not come back. If he does, start with taking privileges away. it is a tough love approach but he is ten not two. Some children feel safer and that may be the subject of Why?
Good luck. You may want to consult a person who specializes in behavior.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics