creators home
creators.com lifestyle web
Dr. Sylvia Rimm

Recently

Powerful Child Needs Patience Q. I have a 5-year-old son with some behavior problems. He's always been easily frustrated, even though he picks up new skills easily. He reads well and seems naturally athletic. If he feels he can't do something, he'll get angry and put very little …Read more. Bring Dad Into This Talk Q. I have a strange, even uncomfortable question about my 16-year-old daughter. I've always been a conservative dresser, and I question the choice and style of clothes my daughter wears. I don't know the best way to suggest to her to "tone" down her …Read more. Avoid Battles With Picky Eater Q. My youngest daughter is 4 years old and a very picky eater. She won't try a food if she doesn't want to, which includes just about every vegetable, no matter how it is prepared. She'd rather go to bed early than eat even a bite of something I've …Read more. Top 10 Tips For University Success Each year at this time, a new group of students heads off to the exciting and challenging experience of pursuing their university education. The first year can be a difficult adjustment. They?re faced with more independence, more challenge and more …Read more.
more articles

3-Year-Old Won't Sleep Alone

Comment

Q: My 3 1/2-year-old son protests about going to sleep and refuses to sleep in his own bed. He reads to himself at night. Any suggestions?

A: You haven't mentioned where your son prefers to sleep, but I assume it's with you and your husband. While I think that co-sleeping with parents is acceptable on an occasional basis and that families can certainly cuddle together in the morning, I do believe that children should and can learn to sleep alone. Your son's love of books can easily help you accomplish teaching him to sleep independently.

When you put him to bed tonight, explain that now that he's almost 4, he's a big boy and can sleep alone in his bed and you'll be proud of him. When he protests, ask him why he doesn't want to sleep alone. Most likely he'll say he's afraid of something, perhaps ghosts or "bad guys". You can reassure him that he is as safe as can be, and he may keep his light on until he falls asleep and you'll turn it off, except for a night-light, after he's sleeping. Tell him you're happy he enjoys his books (Is he actually reading or is he more likely looking through them?), and he's welcome to read them in his bed for half an hour and you'll set a timer to give him plenty of time to do that. Then stay with the plan. If your son comes out of his room, place a gate at his door so that he understands he can't come out.

He may call you at first. If he has a concern, you can come and reassure him once or twice, but after that, explain that you won't be coming back until he's asleep.

Give him a final kiss good night and be prepared for the tears and possible tantrum, but don't answer them. Eventually he'll fall asleep. The first night will be most difficult. The second night will be much easier and thereafter, he'll understand that he has no choice about where he sleeps. Once the new habit is established the entire problem will disappear, and then you can always welcome him back to your bed for a night if there's a frightening thunderstorm or a horrible nightmare.

Another possible alternative plan exists if he has a younger or older sibling. Sometimes sleeping in the same room as a sibling allays fears for both children, and there's no harm done by having siblings in the same room. They often enjoy sharing a room and that helps them cope with their fears until they mature enough to prefer their own room.

Finally, there is great potential in keeping a child in his room if his cat or dog sleeps in the room with him. They feel comforted by their loving pet or at least believe that their barking dog or meowing cat would scare a stranger away.

For free newsletters about raising preschoolers, and/or teaching children to sleep in their own bed, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for each newsletter to address below. Dr. Sylvia B. Rimm is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the author of many books on parenting. More information on raising kids is available at www.sylviarimm.com. Please send questions to: Sylvia B. Rimm on Raising Kids, P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI 53094 or srimm@sylviarimm.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Dr. Sylvia Rimm
Aug. `15
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month