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DTCamacho
DTCamacho asks:
Q:

My 10 year old son is suddenly coming to our bed

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???
In Topics: Sleep and rest
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Mar 3, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

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
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Additional Answers (4)

dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi, In addition to the suggestions from Dr. Yankus, here are some more resources you might also review...

Sleep and Rest info center: http://www.education.com/topic/children-sleep-and-rest/

It includes articles about how to help children after nightmares: http://www.education.com/topic/child-sleep-issues/

I also found more information about Dr. Ferber and his sleep methodology here: http://www.childrenshospital.org/views/june06/sleep.html

Please also talk to your son's pediatrician, who can examine your son in person and help address any emotional or physical issues that may be contributing to the sleep situation you described.

Good luck -- I hope you are soon successful in helping your son sleep alone so you and your spouse can also have a restful night.
> 60 days ago

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monicasweetie88
monicasweet... writes:
if i may i think your son is doin this to see how far and what he can get away with stuff or he knows hes getting old and want you to baby him
> 60 days ago

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Dr.Monika
Dr.Monika , Child Professional writes:
Nightmares are the cause of many sleep problems in children.  Many children have wild imaginations; therefore, I always recommend that children watch no TV before bedtime.  Often, children re-live in their dreams what they see on the tube, get scared, and wake up.  Do not allow your son to watch television 2-3 hours before bedtime, and hopefully in a matter of a couple of days, you'll notice improvement in his sleeping habits.  Should his nighttime awakenings continue or intensify, talk with your son's health care provider.
> 60 days ago

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lms1949
lms1949 , Teacher writes:
As an educator who has worked with many children and families over 39 years, I have to ask 'Why now?'.

The fact that this is happening now when it hasn't been an issue in the past raises a red flag. Your son is obviously dealing with something that is relatively new to him and is difficult enough that he is coping in the only way he knows how, physically going back to the ones he has known for 10 years who have sheltered, protected, and nurtured him.

You could start with asking his teacher if he/she would have some time to conference with you about any possible school issues that might have triggered this. Most teachers will have already noticed that something is not the same, as a child who is short of sleep and dealing unsuccessfully with anxieties usually doesn't have the resources to keep up his/her normal behavior in school.

Unless you are dealing with some major life changes at home or within your family, such as the passing on of a favorite grandfather, my gut reaction is that school probably plays a part in this change somehow.

You'll be doing yourself and your child's teacher a favor by reaching out to the school for support. Teachers do not enjoy, despite popular belief, being the ones to broach complex concerns that may involve parenting issues. A call to the teacher may come as relief for the teacher who has been worrying about how best to deal with sudden changes in a child's behavior.

Set the tone in the conference that you would appreciate having a partner to support you in identifying and resolving this issue that is troubling you.

There can be lots of 'school' reasons for this change. Maybe your son has been dealing with some learning or medical issue. As the expectations in school increase, your son may have exhausted his natural ability to come up with compensatory strategies. What worked for him in the younger grades may not be as effective now that he is ten. Children sense when they begin to fall behind and don't feel as if they know how to make things better.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth grades come with their own unique social issues including not knowing how to deal with budding sexual attractions, peer pressure, and bullying.

It has not been an unusual thing for me to find out from parents that something is going on that is making the child uncomfortable. I encourage my parents to let me know as I need their support in identifying troubling issues that kids don't normally talk about with the adult in charge but greatly affect how they function in school.

Your child's school, also, has a great deal of resources that can be used to identify and resolve complex issues in children.

It could be as simple as providing an 'adult friend' within the building that checks in with your son periodically to see how things are going or who is always ready with a friendly smile, high five, hug, or words of encouragement.

Or your child may benefit from more focused support such as finding ways to deal with bullying or help in identifying some particular learning or medical need. Here, it's the school psychologist or other intervention specialist that may become the team leader is identifying more complex issues.

No matter what your son's particular issue may be at this time, support him by reaching out to his school or his pediatrician. You will want to find him some relief and resolution to what is now affecting his normal behavior. It is much easier to do this now before it develops into something more serious.

Best wishes in finding the support you and your son need now.
> 60 days ago

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