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KCOLLINS6
KCOLLINS6 asks:
Q:

how to get child to sleep in OWN bed

My 5 yr old son will not sleep in his own bed. Even when he does fall asleep there, he will get up in the middle of the night and come to my bed. Our heater went out a few years ago and we all slept in the same bed for heat but I can not break him of this. I've tried laying down with him in his bed until he goes to sleep but he always finds his way back to my room(usually around 2am) and I'm too tired to put him back in his room. We're both losing sleep.
In Topics: Sleep and rest
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Apr 30, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Dear KCollin:

You need to break the habit for both of you. Find Dr. Ferber's book on child sleep or Dr. Schaeffer's.  They offer great suggestions.  the bottom line is each time he gets into bed, you get out and take him back.  he should fall asleep where he is going to wake up. Start on a Friday so you can use the weekend to take naps if necessary.  Be sure his room has toys, books, and a "prop" meaning a stuffed animal etc.. to hold onto as comfort.  Be firm.  Take him back and if need be, stay in a chair--not the bed--until he is back to sleep. I know it is a pain, but if not solved now, this problem will go on for a long time.

Good luck, and best wishes.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
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Additional Answers (5)

DebWashington
DebWashington writes:
have you tried letting him fall asleep in your bed than taking him in his own not right away give him some time to get in a rather deep sleep i did this with my son and after a while he didn't want to sleep with me any more hope this was helpful
> 60 days ago

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realjack
realjack writes:
If he does this after you go to bed, he feels afraid, especially because children feel this eerie scilence when you go to bed. It's just an odd thing that they do.
~Jacob
> 60 days ago

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cw12
cw12 writes:
Try a bedtime story!
> 60 days ago

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CandiBear
CandiBear writes:
I liked the experts opinion and I strongly advise what he says. Do not give up or give in, or you will have a problem with this for a long time. My boyfriends son was allowed to sleep with his dad, even after we got together and he didn't start sleeping on his own till he was 8. And at that point  he was only sleeping in the living room, which was closer to our room than his room was. So do what you've got to do and don't only go halfway, it's better for both of you.
> 60 days ago

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palominoprincess
palominopri... writes:
I do not recommend "Ferberizing" your child.  Ever!  We had the same issue with our youngest son when he was 2 and it became a huge problem.  You have a lot better chance of success because your son is older.  You can reason with him!  Before bed, explain to him that if mom and dad aren't getting enough sleep, they're cranky all day.  Mom/Dad have to go to work and it's important that they be able to concentrate, and if they're too tired they'll get in trouble from their boss.  Agree to walk your child back to bed, tell him you love him, tuck him in and go right back to your own bed.  If he comes in again right after, tell him you've already put him back in bed and he can go back to bed by himself.  

It may be that he likes being cuddled up with you.  Try giving him a pillow to snuggle, or a stuffed animal to sleep with.  Even buy him a special "bedtime only" animal, or choose something he already has and loves.  

I know it's exhausting, but at that age it won't take very long until he knows you're not getting up with him all night, and he's not getting his way.  You could also institute a reward system (think back to potty training) such as, "If you stay in your room all night then you get an extra hour of TV/Computer/Playing outside/etc as a reward."  Make it something he'll really want!  

Something that can help with the sleep is for you and dad to trade off.  If you get up with him tonight, tomorrow it's dad's turn.  That way you both get a night of sleep that's only mildly interrupted.  

Above all, remember this:  He's only young once, and it goes so fast.  Soon enough he's not even going to want to hug you, much less climb into your bed.
> 60 days ago

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