Help! My Child Keeps Waking Me Up At Night

I know people that let their kids sleep in their beds and I know people who do not.  We do not let the kids sleep in our bed, but lately my daughter, who is 4, is getting scared at night and wanting to sleep in our bed.  

Help! My child keeps waking me up at night!  What should I do?

She has been coming in our room sometimes 5 times a night, upset and not being able to sleep.  It’s starting to drive me crazy and I am not sure what to do.  She comes in, very upset, saying that she is scared.  I make sure she does not need to go to the bathroom because that sometimes wakes her up.  Then, I walk her back to her bed, tuck her back in, give her a kiss, and talk to her for a few seconds.  I tell her it’s the middle of the night and we are all sleeping and everything is okay.  All this started a couple of weeks ago.  We leave the closet light on and leave her door open, but it does not seem to be enough.  This is killing me, since I am finally through the baby stage and use to getting my normal sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night is causing me to be cranky during the day.  Should I give in and let her sleep with us until she is out of this phase?

When I put her to bed she complains she is scared and she wants me to sleep with her.  She will not even go upstairs to get her PJ’s on anymore by herself.  I was a great sleeper before kids. I did not sleep well while I was pregnant and nursing and I have finally caught up on my sleep.  Having her in my bed will keep me awake and I do NOT want to be in a bad mood during the day because I did not get good sleep but I also do not want her to feel scared.  She is fine during the day and never mentions the night, but I can tell she is tired towards the end of the day. 

I normally do not let the kids sleep in bed with us, but after waking up in the middle of the night 3 or 4 times, I’m considering just letting her get into bed.  I really do not want to get into the habit of doing this because I am afraid it will make it worse when we do make her go back to her bed.  She is upstairs sleeping in my bed right now and I will move her back to her bed before I go to sleep.  Am I doing the right thing?

Should I let my child get into my bed?

If you have any advice, please comment below.  I am willing to try anything!  

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20 Responses

  1. Hi Holly- Sorry you have to go through this – it is no fun! If you are not wanting your child to sleep with you (until they are 18) I would not recommend you let her sleep in your bed. It is very very tempting, but it will actually exacerbate the problem and it will take that much more time to get her back to sleeping independently. As tiring as it might be, work with her fears in her own room. Even if that means sitting with her until she falls asleep at this point. Maybe that will be my next post next week.

    • Holly says:

      Thanks for the advice. Let me know if you do a post on it.

  2. Dara says:

    Have you asked her what she’s exactly afraid of? We found an idea on Pinterest a few months back, its called ‘monster spray’ we got a cheap $1.00 store spray bottle filled it with water and wrote “Monster Spray” on the bottle.. You can fill it with any E.O.’s (if you’re into that sort of thing, lavender is for calming and sleep..) few spritz under the bed, maybe in the closet, by the windows, ect.. and BAM kids believe that it works, and now you get some much needed rest, at least, hopefully.. It worked for us… Have you also tried a bed on your floor? just some blankets and allow her to sleep next to you guys, she might think its not that comfortable and return to her own bed. I also consider what little alone time my husband and I have a precious moment, because they are rare, we do not allow our kids to sleep with us either.. Sometimes what Natasha said, staying in there until shes asleep might help.. Warm milk before bed.. Hey, worth a shot right??

    • Holly says:

      The spray is a good idea! I’ll see if I can find a spray bottle laying around. Thanks!

      • Lauri says:

        Don’t do it! Creating a spray reinforces that monsters are real & something to actually be afraid of. Short term solution 🙁

  3. My 4.5 year old son has been going through the same thing for months. He says there is a ghost in his room that scares him. Strangely though he is not afraid to go to sleep in his own bed. We lay with him for a couple of minutes, sing a song and rub his back and then we leave while he is still awake. In the middle of the night he comes and gets in bed with us for the rest of the night. ( I gave up a long while ago trying to bring him back to his bed). Sometimes he comes in a 2 am, sometimes 4am, often 5am and recently he actually slept all night in his bed. We have just decided that it is a phase and eventually he will stop. It does seem that as time is passing he is staying in his own bed for longer and longer at night. He seems content to go to bed at night in his room knowing that he is allowed to come in our room later in the night when we are already in bed. I don’t have any advice for you just know you are not alone. Hope it resolves itself soon for your sake.

    • Holly says:

      Thanks! Sounds like your son should be out of this phase soon! 🙂

  4. Michelle says:

    Don’t do it! H stared doing it after our last move. We would keep bring her back to her room, but every night she would still come in. We started giving in half out of exhaustion and half because her big surgery was approaching. Now- it’s every night and she refuses to even fall asleep alone.

    • Holly says:

      Seems like a lot of people are going through similar things! I hate that for you. Maybe we can get them to sleep in their own beds together and compare notes! 🙂

  5. LeAnn says:

    Josh goes thru spells where he comes downstairs 5-6 times after we tuck him in but before we go to bed. I think it is mainly just him stalling but it drives me crazy. Sometimes we just go on to bed because he rarely comes down after all the lights are off.

    When he was around 4 he was afraid of monsters. We just happened to have a stuffed blue monster from monsters inc that we put in his window to keep away other monsters. It still sleeps at the foot of his bed!

  6. Beth says:

    We have been having the same problem with our 4yr old son. My husband and I tag team our bedtime routine. He reads to him in our bed and puts him into his bed and I will come up and cuddle with him for a while. Most of the time I get up before he goes to sleep and only cuddle til he is relaxed and settled. But if he is super tired he will fall to sleep while cuddling or even before I get to cuddle. He gets up in the middle of the night and wants to crawl in bed with us but I dont usually let him in our bed. I take him back to his own room and cuddle with him or sit with him and it doesn’t usually take him a long time to fall back to sleep. Its really hard for me because i love cuddling so I have to make sure I go back to my own bed. The best advice I can give you is to be extremely patient. Children are looking for security, a safe place and if we show patience and love that encourages their feelings of security.

  7. Rebecca says:

    My 2 year old willingly sleep with us when she’s teething. It been 2 weeks. No new teeth but it’s the 2 year molars she’s working on. Used to be midnight now it’s like 10 pm when she comes in. My 6 year old is also getting around midnight complaining she needs snuggles or go back to sleep this has been going on about a month. My hubby would go lay with her. Now we’re both tired and irritable and have reached our limit. We are stressed cranky and frustrated. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to this. My mom is staying for a week this summer and she cannot deal with this alone nor do I want her to. Anyone have any advice?! We’re desperate!!!!!

    • Holly says:

      Oh no! I hope it gets better soon! I’m taking the wait it out approach and hopefully it will get back to normal. I’m walking mine back to her bed every time she gets up. Maybe you can offer a reward to your 6 year old for staying in bed all night, like an ice cream cone or trip to the dollar store. Hopefully those teeth come through soon on your little one. It’s bad enough when one has a sleep problem, but you have 2!

  8. Kelli says:

    We were running into this scenario with our 3 year old son. He was coming in 3-5 times a night and we would walk him back to his room, we were beyond exhausted (all three of us). Finally I made a little spot for him on the floor next to my side of the bed. I used one of our sleeping pads from camping, blankets, and a pillow. Now when he comes in I give him the option of the spot on the floor or back in his bed. He usually picks the spot on the floor and sometimes he doesn’t even wake us he just lays down in his spot. Another bonus is he is sleeping in past 6am most mornings, before we were lucky to get to 4:30am. I’m sure this isn’t ideal and a habit we’ll eventually have to break but for now it is working for us and I hope (fingers crossed) this habit is easier to break versus him sleeping in our bed with us.

  9. Janamari says:

    I have been going through this with my 5 year old for a while now… but it comes and goes. Sometimes he gets up, uses the bathroom and then is willingly getting back into bed. Other times he is very adamant about sleeping with my husband and I and becomes upset. We have sat down with him and let him know that he needs to sleep in his own bed and there is nothing to be afraid of… (my sister even made him a “monster” animal to protect him, which he loves) … but he still gets up, 3-4 Times. Just recently though…. he stopped waking us up. However, it’s because now, instead of coming into our room he has been getting into bed with his older brother!!! At first I thought, ” Awww, big brother is protecting him”, but now big brother is complaining because the little one is a hog. What should I do now? HELP!

    • Holly says:

      I tried the suggestion about bringing the blankets in and putting it beside my bed. When she gets upset, I just grab her top blanket and throw it on my floor. It seems to have helped. I had to do that about 6 times, but she seems to be staying in her room more. She’s still scared and we’re still trying to get through that.

  10. Jody Brown says:

    I have 3 year old twins, they have never really slept through the night. They would go through flukes where they’d through maybe 1-2 nights a week. The last 7-8 months they haven’t slept through once. They are waking me up on a good night 2-3 times a night, on a bad night 4-6 times a night and I’m completely burnt out to a crisp. I don’t know what to do to get them to sleep through, I’m barely functioning at work and at home. I have no energy for anything and I’m so incredibly depressed.

    • Holly says:

      Oh no! Hang in there. It will get better. It seems like a habit now and I’m sure they’re cranky too. Try calling your doctor because I’m sure they know some good tips.

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