My daughter refuses to sleep in her bed. She doesn’t just cry a little or throw a slight tantrum – she throws herself against the door and cries until she’s sick. We have tried staying with her until she falls asleep, but she always wakes up. We also let her decorate her room and watch a movie to calm her down. Most of the time she runs to our room, and it hurts out feelings that she’s crying so hard. She doesn’t even sleep in our bed – just on the floor in a sleeping bag. We’re expecting a baby soon. What should we do?
You certainly have tried a number of tactics that can help. However, I sense that you and your husband are big softies. You end up giving in, which only teaches your daughter that she needs to fuss more the next time to get her way.
For starters, look up the articles I have written about bedtime problems for this website. You can also read my book, “Wimpy Parenting From Toddler To Teens.” Wimpy parents are wonderful parents who have a hard time asserting themselves with their children. I think you and your husband fit this description. My book includes a chapter on solving bedtime problems, by the way.
Your difficulties may well get worse with a new baby, so I’m going to suggest you consult a child psychologist to help you develop a plan for training your daughter to sleep in her own bed. I do this in my own practice. I’ve even made house calls to show parents how to follow through with their plan!
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.