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My daughter is 4 and will not go to sleep by herself at night. This has been going on since she moved into her big girl bed at 2. My husband is totally to blame as he stays with her until she falls asleep. It’s now become a huge problem as she won’t let anyone else put her to bed and most nights it takes anywhere from 20 mins to 1 1/2 hours to get to sleep. Hubby is trying to break the pattern but to no avail. Any help would be great.


Posted anonymously, 12th March 2014


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  • Reading your story I think your husband in his good intentions created the situation whereby you daughter is dependent from him/you to fall asleep. Now you have to go through a less pleasant period to break this pattern and teach her to fall asleep on her own (independent).
    I think a certain routine or ritual is good and helpful to give attention but set limits to that. For example: brush teeth, go to toilet, read 1 story in bed, sing 1 song in bed, have 1 big kiss, 1 big cuddle and go to sleep….then be consistent in your routine (1 story shouldn’t become 3 stories for example, 1 kiss shouldn’t become 20 kisses etc). Explain to her that you’re not going back into her bedroom after that.


  • Does she have a cuddly toy in her bed as well. We trained our first daughter totally wrong , but our son was a breeze. He loved his toy elephant that was given to him from birth and slept with it a long time. he used to suck his trunk to sleep and gave him that security . Please start early otherise it will be tougher if you leave it too much longer. Maybe ask your childhood nurse for advice as well.


  • My son was the same, you or your husband just need to put her in bed, give her a cuddle and kiss, tell her that mummy and daddy are going to bed and will see her when she wakes up in the morning.
    Took me a week or so, but now my boy goes to sleep without any hassles :)


  • Kids are young but once. I wonder what your husband’s viewpoint is? I enjoy putting Miss 3 to bed and having the time to relax and meditate as she falls asleep.


  • Wow… maybe leave her door open have a night light and reassure her that you are close by. but you must be strong… stronger than her.


  • Some nights might 3.5 year old wants me to stay and sit on the bed. Whether I can leave depends on how tired he is, if a bit wound up and excited from the day, I might stay a while till he is more sleepy or if he’s tired and asks me to stay, I say ” just for a little bit , but then I’m going to kiss you goodnight while you are still awake and leave the room”. If he gets upset when I do go to get up I say “mummy needs her rest too but I’ll be back when you’re asleep to tuck you back in and give you a kiss before I go to sleep”. If I leave and he gets out of bed I just put him back and repeat that I need to rest too, I come back every night while you’re asleep to kiss you again, I promise. I’ve repeated that a few times, but by the third he usually stays in bed and it is rare he gets out now. We just stay consistent. Good luck!


  • just put her to bed and shut the door, if she gets up tell her your watching tele and she needs to be a big girl and go to sleep


  • i find going to bed half an hour before you want to go to bed gives them time to settle


  • say if shes sleep ago she will get a lollie tomorrow


  • there are some good comments here


  • Maybe start a whole new big girl bedtime routine, bath, books, songs etc whatever works but is different from before. Then put her in bed and leave her, first staying outside the room and then moving further away as she gets better. But most important if she gets up don’t talk to her, just put her back in bed and walk away. Guarantee she will be sleeping by herself before two weeks.


  • Ohhhh Sandra – Its almost time for her to start having sleep overs at her friends so Time to get Tough! I would talk to your GP, see if they can put you in touch with someone.


  • For my son, we just had a few late nights. I would put him down, 10 minutes he would be up, i wouldnt say allot just “Back to bed, time for bed ext” walk him back, walk out. Of course it wasnt as perfect as that every night, some nights i would end up sitting in there, after i was too tired to fight anymore. My husband and i would take it in turns. For us it took about 2 weeks with some easy wins, but some late nights aswell. Maybe set some time for a nap (for you) so you have the energy and motivation.


  • I addition to my last post – I ahve gone the extra mile from day one to make her room the prettiest room in the world. There are so many things she lieks looking at and so many poeple comment as how gorgeous it is. It’s such a pity she doesn’t enjoy it that much and I knwo deep down inside she really wants to sleep theer but just feels so very scared to do so.


  • Gosh I need help in this area as well. I started off thinking I was doing the right thing by giving my baby a breast feed before sleep at night where she would afll asleep in my arms. This led to her not being able to fall asleep without me next to her and now that she’s 9 she still wants me there to the point that she’s in my bed every night. Don’t get me wrong – I love her dearly – but I need my space and I want her to love HER space. My night times are me times where I can read a book before I sleep. This has all been lost and now it’s just turned into this ugly routine where she has to be with me to fall alseep. I want my little girl to grow into an independant and confident little person but am at my wits as to how to break this cycle. Any comments or help will be gratefully received.


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