Is your 4-year-old not ready to sleep on his bed?
Does he crawl back onto your bed at night?
Is your relationship with your spouse affected by this?
Getting peaceful and continuous sleep is an essential part of life to function properly the next day. But for parents, having 8 hours of sleep is a luxury. Ever since they have become a parent, they complain of sleep deprivation.
Once the child grows up, parents wish to make him sleep on his own bed to have some sound sleep the whole night. Secondly, making a 4-year-old sleep in his bed is also a good habit for him. But the struggle behind this transition is real.
In this article, we discuss why a child does not want to sleep in his bed, followed by some tips to handle a 4-year-old refusal to sleep alone.
Is it normal for a 4-year-old to sleep with their parents?
It’s normal for a 4-year-old to want to sleep with their parents for various reasons. Some parents do not mind sleeping with their kids as they get into a habit of sleeping with them since they are born.
Naturally, children like to sleep with their parents because they feel protected and safe. Secondly, they want to address this need for co-sleeping as they address their daily needs.
So, a 4-year-old sleeping with parents is not a problem, but shifting the child into his own bed as soon as possible is also a good idea.
Why would a 4-year-old want to sleep in their parent’s bed?
Before we jump onto the tip of making a 4-year-old sleep in his bed, let’s find out why they resist sleeping alone before pushing your little one to his own bed.
1- Just a habit
It becomes a habit of a 4-year-old child to sleep with his parents because this is what he has been doing since birth. You cannot change the routine overnight. So if he resists and throws a tantrum while you put him to his bed is entirely normal.
But nothing is impossible; try every day until he makes a habit of sleeping alone.
2- He is a bad sleeper
Some kids get up at night with minor sounds. They find it weird to stay alone in bed and miss mom. So they try to sneak into their parent’s beds to find comfort.
3- Night terrors
Some kids wake up with bad dreams or nightmares. Then, once they get up, they visualize the scene again and get terrified. If you have experienced a sudden crash in your bed, this could be the possible reason.
3- He feels insecure
Sometimes when kids do not sense their parent’s presence beside them, they feel insecure and wake up. You must have seen your child waking up and calling you or your partner.
4- Jealous of a little sibling sleeping next to mom
Some 4-year-olds get jealous of their little sibling sleeping beside mommy and demand to sleep with them. They would not listen and do not understand that the little one needs mommy more than him.
The 4-year-old will get into a long argument, so parents find it easy to give up.
5- Can not get over the warmth of his parents
Once you have crossed the correct age of weaning a child to his own bed, get ready for all the emotional blackmail.
For example, sometimes kids complain that they cannot sleep well as they cannot feel the warmth and presence of their parents in bed.
6- Going through a trauma
Sometimes as a parent, we find things very random, but for a child, it could be a big thing. For example, he may have heard the news about someone being killed in the city on the news, or sometimes parents who fight in front of the child make them emotionally weak and think that his parents could leave him while he’s asleep.
7- The child is ill
When a child gets ill, he becomes emotionally and physically weak. However, kids of age 4 still are little souls. So due to the illness, he might be craving your full attention and skin-to-skin contact.
8- He is not comfortable in the new bed
As a parent, we get excited about our kids’ new furniture and go overboard while selecting the design. However, parents’ beds are usually comfy and large, so sometimes a child may find his new bed uncomfortable in terms of design, capacity, and comfort.
Should I let my 4-year-old sleep with me?
Of course, you should let him sleep with you for comfort and bonding if you can. However, all children eventually move to their room, your child might still need to be ready.
If the bed space is small, try dragging his bed into your room if that works for you. Let him fall asleep on your bed, and then you can shift him to his bed while he is sleeping.
Once your little one is comfortable sleeping in his bed, you can move his bed to his room.
How to take help from your partner during bed transition?
In some cases, dads are impatient during the transition phase of the child to sleep on his bed. They want it to be done overnight and as easier as possible.
So before you plan to make your child sleep in his bed, communicate with your spouse that we might face some terrible nights, but it will be worth it. Once you are done settling the child onto his bed, you and your spouse are all.
To all the dads out there, hang in there, this too shall pass, and you will be happy to be a part of this transition.
How to get a 4-year-old to sleep in his own room?
Here are a few tips to get your 4-year-old to sleep in his own room.
1- First of all, make the transition Smooth
By age 4, you’ve had transitions like weaning, breastfeeding, potty training, and joining the school. You must have understood that no phase is easy.
So, remember to do it smoothly when you plan to move your child to bed or room. Never impose it on the child as a punishment.
If you plan to move the child to a new room or bed, talk to the child and involve him. Ask about his preferences for wall paint, furniture, and carpet. Make his bed or room cozy and comfortable.
After settling things, tell him you are going to sleep here. Tell him that we will sleep in your room on weekends.
Make him sleep in this room during the daytime nap routine so that he gets used to his bed and space. Then, at night, if he insists, sleep with him in the initial days and move out slowly.
2- Be calm and ready for crying sessions
While sleep association becomes a habit by this age, 4-year-old kids do not understand the healthy side of it. Also, when a child turns 4, he has to start school, which makes them more anxious, so they become extremely sensitive and full of emotions.
So during this phase, be calm and get ready for the waterworks. Your child will cry rivers, but it is not harmful since you will be present, active, and responsive. You may feel bad about your child, but your actions would be more noticeable for a child.
If you scold him during this phase, he might listen to you but would not get a sound sleep.
So, if he resists sleeping alone, stay with him in the room until he falls asleep. Then, continuously reinforce this by telling him that you are just sleeping in the next room and will come in seconds if you want me.
3- Be consistent
Consistency in parenthood is the key. You must be patient and consistent as a parent. Try and try again.
Even if you are on the verge of leaving the transition, I suggest you keep trying because it will be worth it.
4- Never ask him to go to bed himself
For a child, bedtime means cuddling and chitchatting with the parent who makes him sleep. So before bedtime, Allow your toddler to choose a book, pajamas, and a stuffed toy as part of the routine. Keep the lights low and your voices quiet as you approach bedtime.
Do some chitchat about the day and say night prayers together. Then ask the child to sleep while you sit beside him in his bed.
5- Properly feed the child at night
A well-fed child before the bedtime sleeps thoroughly through the night. So before bedtime, feed him a good dinner followed by a warm glass of milk. If the child does not get up for a washroom visit, he will probably sleep all night comfortably.
6- Bath before sleep might help
It’s an old grandma tip to mommies to give baths to the kids before bedtime.
It relaxes the body and helps kids and adults fall asleep fast. It also helps in peaceful and sound sleep.
The water should be warm no matter what weather it is because the body temperature lowers at night.
7- Keep his bed comfortable
Since the child has been sleeping in his parent’s bed from birth, he finds comfort in the same bed.
Try to figure out what kind of mattress your bed has, then get the similar one for your child’s bed. Give him the same blanket he wears in your bed.
These details might sound normal, but every little thing matters for a kid.
8- Take him to the toilet before he gets up by himself.
Closely note his washroom visits at night when he sleeps with you. Then, when you shift him to his bed, take him to the washroom at the usual times and put him back to sleep. In this way, he will not get up on his own.
9- Make a reward chart
Reward chart encourages positive behavior in children.
For example, make a weekly reward chart and give your 4-year-old a sticker for every night he sleeps in his bed. Give him some extra stars if he stayed in his bed all night and did not wake you up.
10- Deal with crawling into bed at night calmly
During the bed transition, you might experience your child crawling back to your bed at night. This frustrates the parents as it disturbs everyone’s sleep, but remember, if you put him back to bed forcefully or scold him for waking you up, he might have anxiety. Calmy tackle the situation without making a huge deal out of it.
11- Take him back to his bed despite being tired
One of the best ways to tackle bed crawls is to take the child back to his bed and put him to sleep. It may sound difficult for the night, but this is the best way to enforce the healthy habit of sleeping alone.
12- Don’t separate him during a transition
We suggest not starting any new routine for the child if you or he is going through a transition phase. Such as starting preschool, the arrival of a new sibling, potty training, traveling, or shiting to a new house. Instead, always pre-plan the bed routine before anything significant has to happen.
For example, if you want your child to sleep in his own bed when you are expecting the baby, try to start the practice 4 to 5 weeks (or maybe a few months) before the new baby’s arrival.
13- lastly, never show him horror movies/news channels to avoid nightmares
Usually, children of this age complain that they cannot sleep alone in the bed or room because they feel afraid at night.
Never show children horror movies or news channels where they can hear something that might disturb them at night. Also, never make them afraid of ghosts or creatures.
A 4-year-old will want to sleep in their parent’s bed because he gets comfort and warmth. If it’s possible for you, then let him sleep there. All kids eventually start to sleep in their own room. Your child might not be ready yet.
Still, if you want to train your child to sleep alone, start gently. Get him a comfy bed and stuffed toys. Be with him when he goes to sleep. Gradually reduce the time spent in his room.