Don’t be surprised or worried if your 4-year-old wants to sleep on the floor rather than in bed. It’s not an uncommon behavior but there could be several reasons why your child is preferring to sleep on the floor he may be feeling more comfortable on a firm surface or want to be closer to the ground to feel secure.
Though it is quite normal it is important to find the underlying cause just to see if there is anything serious or if he is just doing it to explore it.
Why does a 4-year-old want to sleep on the floor?
Following are the possible reasons why your 4-year-old might want to sleep on the floor:
1- He is not comfortable in his bed.
Sometimes children prefer to sleep on the floor because they might feel uncomfortable in their bed. They may prefer the feeling of support or find it easier to regulate their body temperature when sleeping on a cooler surface.
2- He feels more secure on the floor.
Some children prefer to sleep on the floor because they might find it comforting to sleep closer to the ground. Either they feel secure and protected on the floor or they might have fallen from the bed which makes them sleep on the ground.
3- He is showing his independence.
If your 4-year-old is preferring to sleep on the floor and keeps insisting you let him be, then might be a way of showing independence or feeling proud to show his preferences.
4- He is exploring/Curious to sleep on the floor.
Children are curious and like to experiment with their environment. Sleeping on the floor could be a new experience that your child is curious about, and they may enjoy sleeping on it.
5- He might have a nightmare on the bed
It’s a possibility that your child had a nightmare on the bed, or he would have seen a horror clip that makes him fearful to sleep on it. So that’s why he is preferring to sleep on the ground to feel protected.
Is it harmful to a 4-year-old to sleep on the floor?
No, it is not harmful as long as you make sure that the surface of the floor is clean, safe, and comfortable.
But it is good that your 4-year-old sleep on a comfortable, firm, and supportive mattress as sleeping on the floor can cause discomfort, stiffness, and neck and body pain in long term.
Also, if the child sleeps directly on the floor may increase the risk of catching colds and allergies. It can also expose the child to small insect bites like ants.
Moreover, it is important to find the underlying cause that why is he preferring to sleep on the floor, does it have something with discomfort or anxiety or it is just that he is having an experience?
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How can I make my 4-year-old sleep on the bed?
Follow these tips to convince your 4-year-old to sleep on the bed instead of the floor.
1- Talk to your child:
The best way to know the underlying cause and to work on the right point is to talk to the child and ask him the reason why he prefers to sleep on the floor.
Moreover, whatever reasons your child has, always explain to the child why it is important to sleep on the bed.
Emphasize that the bed is more comfortable in terms of posture and good sleep and much safer than the floor.
2- Make his bed more attractive than before.
If your child is not sleeping on his current bed, try to change some settings and make it more appealing. First of all, make sure that the bed size is appropriate for his age.
Try putting some fairy lights, his favorite cartoon character bedsheet and blanket, and some of his favorite stuffed toys on the bed.
I have a great fairy lights suggestion that is plugged into twinkle stars. You can easily put these twinkle lights around the bed to make the environment more cozier and happening.
This soft and cozy bedding set includes a pillow cover, comforter, fitted sheet, and a flat sheet.
The bedding set comes with a surprise, it features a fun reversible comforter and reversible pillow case so when you want a new look, simply flip both of the things to find the different cartoon character on the other side.
3- Encourage daytime naps on the bed.
If your child is used to sleeping in the daytime, encourage him to nap on the bed. This can help them get used to sleeping on the bed at night as well.
4- Allow your child to make his bed his own way.
No matter how much effort you put into making up your child’s bed, he will be comfortable with his settings.
So allow him to make his own bed, and ask him what he wants to add or subtract from the bed.
Ask him what bothers him or makes him uncomfortable so that he chooses to sleep on the floor.
5- Set up a consistent bedtime routine.
Make a consistent and same patterned bedtime routine which includes, bedtime stories, cuddles, lullabies, etc. Stay with your child in his bed until he sleeps.
6- Let the storybooks influence:
Stories have a great influence on kids’ thinking. 4-year-olds typically love listening to stories and they take them very seriously. Get some good storybooks that make them love sleeping on their bed.
Some storybook suggestions are
I Sleep in a Big Bed by Maria van Lieshout is a great story for children who struggle to transition from a young independent preschooler to a toddler. This story emphasizes the importance of sleeping on their bed.
Sleep in Your Big Kid Bed by Amanda Hembrow is a great pick for children who do not like to sleep in their beds. This book is simple yet its illustrations give a living essence of how a toddler has to transition to his own bed.
Few more good storybooks are:
What if my 4-year-old still insists on sleeping on the floor?
After all the efforts if your 4-year-old still insists that he wants to sleep on the floor, then I guess you can’t change his mind rather you can set up some arrangements for the floor.
1- Make a cozy setup on the floor.
If your child has rejected his bed for some time, it’s better that you make arrangements for a cozy setup on the floor. For that, you would be needing a foldable mattress that you can put on the side in the daytime. Put a comfortable bedsheet on the mattress and give him a cozy blanket so that there would be no direct contact with the floor.
This superior-quality playmat features a firm foam core, offering a perfect balance of comfort and support for your child who prefers to sleep on the floor. It gives the comfort of the bed and also fulfills the desire of your child to sleep on the ground.
This foldable rest mattress is the most feasible option if you have a small bedroom for your child. ECRkids premium folding rest mat can be placed anywhere in the room and cheery on top it can be used during potty training as it is waterproofed.
2- Dress him appropriately according to the floor you have.
If you have a floor that does not have carpet or a rug on it then it is important to keep the child warm in the winter. But if there is a carpet on the floor then dress him appropriately according to the season.
3- Ensure all the sockets, sharp corners, and drawers are baby proofed.
Please be mindful that all the sockets, sharp corners, and drawers are baby proofed so that if your child sweeps away from his mattress he is safe by all means.
4- Fumigate the house if any insects crawl on the floor.
Make sure you get the fumigation done in the house if you have any creepy crawls around.
5- Check the child in the middle of the night.
Whether your child sleeps on the bed or the floor, keep checking the child at night to make sure he is fine. In this way, your child will have a safe feeling that his parents do check on him and it also gives you the satisfaction that your child is soundly sleeping.
4-year-olds are known for their new experiments. They would try out new things and then move on. If your 4-year-old wants to sleep on the floor, this could be one of his new experiments or maybe he is seeking safety from something.
Try to convenience your little one to sleep on his bed as it is more comfortable and secure. If not, try to arrange secure bedding on the floor. Let your child sleep on the floor, then later on put him onto the bed when he is asleep.