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“Can someone please help me? I have an almost four year old and he has usually been easy to put to bed but, in the last two weeks it has been a nightmare.. He has been telling me that I have to sleep with him and to do what he says and that he is the boss! I don’t know how to make him realize he is a child and I am an adult. I have layed with him a couple of times until he falls asleep, and I have now decided that I have to be strong and tell him that I will not be sleeping with him! He gets hysterical and comes out screaming, it breaks my heart hearing him cry. He keeps telling me to do what he says, how do I deal with this?? I am feeling so upset, I don’t like my baby going to sleep crying” Do you have any tips for a 4 year old not going to bed by himself?

Posted by anon, 02/05/13

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  • Sounds to me he may be a bit scared to be left alone.
    Personally I think a good and clear bedtime routine works. My 6yr old (Down Syndrome) often doesn’t like to cooperate and doesn’t want to go upstairs. I made a social story about walking upstairs by herself changing in her pj’s then I take time for a book, song, bubbles and a drink before. I got her a training clock which is blue in the night with a moon and yellow in the day with a sun. I also have a music night light with a timer. When I leave my daughter always cries, I reassure her I’m still there just not in her room – but do leave the room. Her crying has become shorter, only for 10-30 seconds then she settles herself.


  • Try setting up a pre bed routine so it becomes more fun. Maybe a quiet board or card game followed by a story in bed


  • Oh dear reading this made me giggle my daughter who is 2 told me that I can’t tell her what to do!!! ARGHHHHH good luck!


  • try laying him in bed until he goes 2 sleep. :)


  • Hopefully just a phase that you can work through with him!


  • I think a routine and structure is the way to go and don’t give in. Dinner, milk, bedtime story and that it is it. You could also try telling him that everyone is going to bed and try that for a little bit too


  • How is he going now?


  • Is he managing to sleep by himself now?


  • You have to let him know whos boss, I guess it is just a phase, hope it does not last long.


  • Some great advice below – how is he going now?


  • Talk to him and find out why he needs you to sleep with him.Has he had a scare?I always let my kids sleep in bed with us when they were scared as it dosen’t last long.Make him a bed on the floor in your room but find out what is his problem then work out a solution.Maybe a night light?Good luck


  • I think he is finding his boundaries if you keep giving in he will keep it up,try buying a special tedy for bed time only and a night light


  • Sounds like he is testing u. Testing the boundaries.


  • The only thing that works for me is laying with my girl until she falls asleep. I don’t mind doing it but she starts school next year so I can see my life is going to get a bit busier and it would be nice if she started going to bed by herself. Hoping some of the suggestions here will be able to help.


  • He is testing the boundaries. Can u try settling him with a movie?


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