Three-year-old son sleeps only in our bed

I have a three-year-old son, Monty, who has been climbing out of his crib for several weeks now and only wants to sleep in our guest bedroom, which has a twin bed. So we figured it was time to replace his crib and got a toddler bed for his room.

To make it fun, we went and bought him Mickey Mouse Sheets and Diego Sheets and a new blankey just for bedtime. The first night he slept no problem. The 2nd and 3rd nites he came out about 50 times each, we used positive reinforcement for the 1st 15 times and after that, we threatened taking away toys. Finally, we took all the toys out of his room. And then he finally fell asleep.

The next morning, I decided to try and make a chart for the days of the week and each morning if he stayed in his bed, he'd get a sticker and then we'd do something on the reward list. So he stayed in his bed for 1 nite and then we went to Chuck E Cheese as a reward, but that following night, again he was out until all hours of the evening until I finally said to my husband, let's put him in our bed, and he fell asleep right away.

I am not the type of mommy to have kids stay in my bed; I am not a softy at all! We're trying everything, we stopped napping him so he'd be tired for bedtime, but that is turning out to be a disaster because he is a wreck by 2pm. I even put on some lullaby music and that put him to sleep, the next night, but failed to work last night. My son, husband and myself are exhausted and need sleep!

Hi Monty’s Mom,

When I read this letter, it made me feel dizzy. One minute he was in the guest bedroom, then he was in a toddler bed, then in your bed, then he was going to Chuck E Cheese and then he was up all night. Now, you’re giving him a concert with music and he’s wondering what else you’re going to give him the next time!

It’s because there’s no consistency. You want it to be on your terms that he falls asleep and you’re not in control of the situation right now, so you keep trying other things. But the reality is that you haven’t committed to one technique and stayed with it.

What I suggest is this: make up your mind that you’re not giving in, one way or the other. I would put a bedrail on the side of his bed so he doesn’t fall out of it. I would create a proper bedtime routine for him so that he doesn’t feel like he’s being rushed to bed. I would read stories, come out of the room and continue to do the stay in bed technique and STAY WITH IT. No technique takes longer than seven days.

I bet Monty is the same as him mom and that it’s a battle of the wills. He knows that now he has you wrapped around his finger. And right now, he doesn’t have one thing consistent and it’s hard for them to have that. He slept in the big bed because it was new and different and mommy left him in there. Trust me, Diego sheets aren’t going to get him to go to sleep, but a consistent response is. It doesn’t matter how many times he comes out, you have to be consistent with your response.

I’ve just put a three year old, still breastfeeding (who has never been in her bedroom) in bed with the stay n' bed technique. It took an hour and forty-five minute the first night and the second night it only took three attempts. The third night, she just went in her bed and stayed in it. He’s going to keep pushing unless you stay consistent. Children like routine and consistency; it makes them feel safe and secure. He will go to sleep if you follow through!


Jo x

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