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HELP! Sleep issues with a 4 year old

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May 8th, 2010, 10:19 PM
SarahBethsMommy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 4,847
I'm at my wits end. I feel like a failure as a mommy. All because my 4 year old is killing me at bedtime!

We have a fairly strict routine of bathtime at 6:30, her brother goes to bed at 7, then we watch a show on TV (one of her's... Oobi usually), and then we start cleaning up to go to bed. Usually this all goes fine. She knows the routine. Once we get to her room, she picks out 2 books and we read those sitting in the same position. Then she lays down and we sing the same 4 songs. Then we turn off her light and say our prayers and say goodnight (all the normal hugs and kisses and goodnights). I turn on her lullabies and leave the room.

Now, she has started recently getting up after I put her to bed and coming in to get something. She's "scared" or she needs to be changed/go to potty or she needs more water or she just wants mommy to give her one more kiss... on and on and on. When she does this, I fill the need if it is legit (like diaper change or potty) and then back to bed. We do the "goodnight sweetie, stay in bed" the first time, "goodnight" the second time and after that no talking just back to bed.

Lately she has started to SCREAM when we do this. She doesn't WANT to be put back to bed. She throws things. Destroys her room. Bites her arm enough to draw blood. And KEEPS getting up.

So we've tried the continual putting her back to bed without words. But then we have to put her bed back together 3-4 times which defeats the "no attention" thing. We've tried ignoring it completely. That doesn't work because she just keeps screaming (literally one night it went on for 3.5 hours). We've tried spanking (she doesn't get that at all... just says, "Mommy why did you hurt me?"). Nothing works! I'm at my wits end! I can't keep getting up for 3-4 hours a night after I've already gone to sleep to deal with a screaming 4 year old when I'm soon to have another newborn who will require that time from me.

So, I'm begging... does anyone have ANY ideas?! I can't see anything we've changed except getting rid of the paci (and I'm not giving that back). We did that over a month ago. She's never been a good sleeper, but this screaming has GOT TO STOP!!

Thank you to AlexAiden Mommy for my beautiful siggie!
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May 11th, 2010, 09:23 PM
JessP's Avatar Lovin life and family
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington
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We had a similar problem with my daughter who is now 5. She did not want to go to bed or to sleep. It took a bit of time but eventually she got it. We just stayed consistent. We did tell her NO this is not time to be up its time for bed. Or its time to be sleeping. And we would take her back. I can see how the screaming would be driving you bonkers. And waking up a sibling is the pits. We had that happen to. Unfortunately the best thing to do is stay strong and don't give in. Keep telling her no and its time for bed. With her being 4 perhaps that bed time is to early? Maybe you could add another step like letting her "read" a book to her animals but only if she stays in bed and goes to sleep afterwards. We allow that sometimes. Ours go to bed at 730. Which seems to be earlier than the norm for people we know. Maybe ask her why she doesn't want to go to sleep. When my daughter was afraid of her room we took her to pick out a special animal to help her be safe. That helped with the afraid of the room issue. I hope things get better before you new baby arrives.

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May 11th, 2010, 09:54 PM
LJD3Tdance's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Have you talked with her pediatrician to see if they have any ideas?

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July 20th, 2010, 03:29 PM
Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 540
My 3 1/2 year old went through a period during which he would wake up and call em multiple times during the night. We bought him a special/ magic night lamp to keep him safe and eventually the phase passed. Maybe your daughter is having nightmares and is scared at night and talking with her doctor would help. If not then perhaps givign her an incentive to stay in bed would work such as a special treat in the morning .

Good luck!
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