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Since we moved, our kids won’t sleep in their beds
Q: I have three children ages 8, 5 and 2. We moved into a new house about 11 months ago. The only child who sleeps all night is the 2-year-old. My 8-year-old and 5-year-old come into our room every night and either crawl into bed with us or just sleep on the floor. About once a week they will sleep all night in their own beds. We have tried just about everything to get them to sleep in their bedroom, but they always end up in our room.
Amy Elsie
A: This is interesting, Amy. I would have expected the 2-year-old to be the one with the bedtime problems. From what you tell me, I suspect you have been too lenient and patient with the older children. An 8-year-old and a 5-year-old are perfectly capable of sleeping in their own rooms, and 11 months is plenty of time to adapt to a new home. I suggest you stop feeling sorry for them and set some limits. Start by placing something next to your bedroom door so when your children try to sneak into your room, they will bang the item and wake you up. Then, get up and escort the children back to their rooms with a mild scolding. This is not the time to be sweet and playful. You want to show them that you need your sleep and they have interrupted it. They get full service from you all day long; you need the evening hours to rest. This approach usually works after a couple evenings, when the children finally figure out you mean what you say. You and your husband can take turns, sharing the responsibility of getting up to take the kids back to bed. This will make it easier on both of you and show the children that you are in agreement that they sleep in their own rooms. Good luck!
Kenneth N. Condrell Ph.D Child Psychologist