How to deal with 1 year old who won't sleep in their bed

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JesusIsLord

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi guys my bride and I are having a difficult time with our one year old. Ever since he got sick 3 months ago (really bad cold) he hasn't been wanting to sleep in his own bed. He will wake up around 3-4 am and cry at the top of his lungs until picked up and put in our bed. We have tried just leaving him there but he will literally cry for 2 hours straight and we fear that he might faint from exhaustion. We have tried to discipline him and lay him down on his bed but this gets very exhausting for us since its in the middle of the night and I work the next day. We are really hoping for some advice that would help. I'm not sure if anyone has experienced this at all. Thanks guys
 

Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
Typically, when one of our children won't sleep on their own, it's because they are ill or in pain or else going through some kind of phase. Tylenol or Motrin if the child is not feeling well. Hugs and holding if it's emotional, and we might stay up and listen to music or watch TV with them, until the child is sleepy enough to be put in bed again. For us, if this happens one night, it's an isolated thing and will correct itself by the next night. Not sure what I would do if it became chronic.

I also recommend having lots of children close together, so they can share rooms and not be so dependent upon Daddy and Mommy each night for bad dreams, etc.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hi guys my bride and I are having a difficult time with our one year old. Ever since he got sick 3 months ago (really bad cold) he hasn't been wanting to sleep in his own bed. He will wake up around 3-4 am and cry at the top of his lungs until picked up and put in our bed. We have tried just leaving him there but he will literally cry for 2 hours straight and we fear that he might faint from exhaustion. We have tried to discipline him and lay him down on his bed but this gets very exhausting for us since its in the middle of the night and I work the next day. We are really hoping for some advice that would help. I'm not sure if anyone has experienced this at all. Thanks guys
1 year old, how many months?
When he was sick, he slept in your bed?
Does this happen every night?
What time does he go to bed?
What about picking him up and rocking back to sleep in his own room?

He may have night terrors and simply need you to calm him down. Although 4am, that's a time they may be too awake to go back to bed. Could be a tooth breaking through and Tylenol will help. Definitely don't let him sleep in your bed anymore or it will be harder for him to quit.

Did you sleep train to begin with? If so, you may have to do it again. Let him cry 5 minutes, go in and rock back to sleep. A couple nights later 10 minutes, then go in. 15, 20. Although man, 2 hrs. That's a lot. I don't know if I'd let him go past 30 minutes.
 

Paul1976

Puritan Board Freshman
You will get a lot of different advice from parents. My personal opinion is the main reason is that every child is different and responds differently. Advice that worked perfectly for one child may not work for a sibling, much less someone from a different set of parents entirely. So, take the advice that seems the most reasonable to you. Odds are that's your experience with your particular child telling you what will work and what won't.

Let me give you some general advice, and then I'll share a specific incident that might help. Consistency is HUGE. If a child cries and gets what they want once, they will expect that a sufficient amount of crying at a sufficient intensity will get them what they want again. If they are crying for some water or a diaper change, obviously you should give it to them. If they are crying for something else, you need to decide if it's something you're prepared to let them have.

My guess is your one-year-old wants to sleep in your bed, and, since he knows this is possible, is going to cry until he gets what he wants. If you eventually give in, it teaches him that if he cries long/loud enough, he'll eventually get what he wants. If you don't give in, he will eventually give up and forget about sleeping in your bed as an option. Since it sounds like, over three months, he's learned he can get into your bed if he cries enough, he will keep doing so until he is taught it isn't an option. I think, if you are firm that sleeping with you isn't on the table, he will eventually learn. It's hard, but it's probably best for him in the long run.

I'm not saying to just ignore him. Going in and offering things you are prepared to provide when he cries (our 16-month-old is allowed water during the night) lets him know that you're there and aware of the situation, but not prepared give into sleeping with you. Comforting (songs, talking with him, maybe picking him up and rocking him) may help. You don't want him to think you're not there for him. You just need to let him figure out that he isn't going to get what he wants. He will learn.

We had a somewhat similar situation that might help. We trusted my mother and sister-in-law with a 1-year-old's nap, and the monitor somehow got turned off. She was in a crib by herself for 120 minutes, and she typically napped 90. When we returned, they had JUST checked on her a few minutes before. She was visibly very, very VERY upset (so was I, as a matter of fact). She had probably woken up something like 30 minutes earlier, started to cry a bit to let us know to get her, and panicked for however long it took them to finally check on her. From the traumatized look on her face, it was a significant amount of time.

She settled down, but refused to nap for the next three days. Specifically, she was terrified to be left alone in the crib. My opinion was, considering what she had been through, it was unfair to her to make her nap. So, we didn't, and had an overtired girl to deal with all day. At night, she would pass out from a story and nursing and fall asleep in the crib (to my surprise). But, she would wake up at 2:00 AM for the next three nights, presumably with a nightmare related to being left alone. We could calm her down, but she became very upset if we tried putting her back in the crib.

Our approach was to calm her down, and hold her (which worked), and to put her back in the crib when she calmed down. She REALLY hated being back - presumably it brought back the fear from what woke her up. But, she needed to sleep. So we moved her crib in our room and sung to her for an hour or two each night. She cried that long, but eventually passed out. It took three days, but she eventually got back to normal. It was hard, but I really think that was the best approach for her overall. I did feel bad since she had good reason to be afraid of the crib that I couldn't explain to her, but I still think this approach was best for her. Also, after 3-4 days, we had to drive for 3 hours, and she took a car nap. After that, she was OK in a crib for naps again.
 

StephenG

Puritan Board Freshman
he will literally cry for 2 hours straight and we fear that he might faint from exhaustion.
That sounds intense. I wish I could help you out but sadly, I am not a parent :oops:. From experience as a child, however, I can say that my mother used to rock me and sing "O Love that Will Not Let me Go" until I fell asleep. That's my earliest memory, in fact. Basically, singing = good.
 

Edm

Puritan Board Freshman
Our first would do that. I remember days driving 200 miles with an hour of sleep the night before because of it. He would wake because he lost his pacifier. We would sprinkle the crib with them...that helped some. When he was 2 I told him " when you wake up don't call us to tell us about it, roll over and go back to sleep" he looked at me and said " without calling you?" I said yes. That solved that. I very well know the feeling of just laying there awake, tired, while the baby cries, wishing they would stop...and trying to wait him out. Know it very well.
 

JesusIsLord

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you all for the great advice, I feel really encouraged by you guys and will post later on with some feed back.
 

Beezer

Puritan Board Freshman
I'll be of no help to you unfortunately. While I do have kids, a 7 y/o daughter and a 3 y/o son, my wife and I have never "sleep trained" them or made them sleep in separate bedrooms from us. However, this subject is a fascinating one, which I've discussed on multiple occasions with my wife and others. My wife was born and raised in South Korea during a time where it was not uncommon for entire families to sleep on the floor together in a single room, on a single mat, with a single blanket that was shared. I on the other hand was raised in the U.S. by parents who had me sleeping in a crib in a separate bedroom the first day out of the hospital. So we both have completely different perspectives. When our kids were babies they each slept right in bed with us. At first it took some getting used to, but I soon enjoyed the closeness/intimacy of it all. To this day if one of them wants to sleep with us we're okay with it. When I'm out of town for work it's likely both kids will be in our room sleeping with my wife. No big deal. I guess my only advice would be to not let it stress you or your wife out too much.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Can't you just let him sleep with you?
I agree with this advice.

Everybody has to decide on their own but something occured to me a few years ago that it's generally a luxury in human history that kids have their own rooms. I stopped worrying about my kids sleeping in their own beds.

We worried about it with our first kid and would let him cry things out. Of course, we also decorated his room and he had matching furniture with a crib and a changing table.

From about the third child on our kid slept with us either near the bed or with a "co-sleeper" (basically a little barrier to keep us from rolling on him in our sleep). It made nursing very convenient with more sleep for mom and dad.

Our fifth kid had no crib or changing table. He's a bit of a nomad and even when we had him in a play yard our 5 year old would climb in and sleep with him in it. The older child's weight actually broke the play yard and the two of them actually prefer to sleep on blankets on the floor. The youngest will sometimes want to sleep with his sisters on their floor and a crisis ensues because his now 8 year old brother is distraught because he doesn't want to sleep alone in his room and so his sisters let them both sleep on the floor of their room.

Frankly, I don't like sleeping in my bed alone. I'm so accustomed to the companionship of my wife that I don't sleep very well when I'm in a bed by myself. I generally don't like kids in my bed because they end up rolling all over me so I make sure to create big pillow barriers on the rare occasions they end up coming into our room in the middle of the night.

What's my point?

I don't think it's a bad thing that your child wants someone nearby in the dark. I would let him sleep in your bed.

Have more kids and then when they get older they can share a room and they won't be lonely in the dark.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Can't you just let him sleep with you?
I agree with this advice.

Everybody has to decide on their own but something occured to me a few years ago that it's generally a luxury in human history that kids have their own rooms. I stopped worrying about my kids sleeping in their own beds.

We worried about it with our first kid and would let him cry things out. Of course, we also decorated his room and he had matching furniture with a crib and a changing table.

From about the third child on our kid slept with us either near the bed or with a "co-sleeper" (basically a little barrier to keep us from rolling on him in our sleep). It made nursing very convenient with more sleep for mom and dad.

Our fifth kid had no crib or changing table. He's a bit of a nomad and even when we had him in a play yard our 5 year old would climb in and sleep with him in it. The older child's weight actually broke the play yard and the two of them actually prefer to sleep on blankets on the floor. The youngest will sometimes want to sleep with his sisters on their floor and a crisis ensues because his now 8 year old brother is distraught because he doesn't want to sleep alone in his room and so his sisters let them both sleep on the floor of their room.

Frankly, I don't like sleeping in my bed alone. I'm so accustomed to the companionship of my wife that I don't sleep very well when I'm in a bed by myself. I generally don't like kids in my bed because they end up rolling all over me so I make sure to create big pillow barriers on the rare occasions they end up coming into our room in the middle of the night.

What's my point?

I don't think it's a bad thing that your child wants someone nearby in the dark. I would let him sleep in your bed.

Have more kids and then when they get older they can share a room and they won't be lonely in the dark.
:ditto: As someone with seven soon to be eight children, this is great advice that will save you from some headaches and heartaches.
 

DeniseM

Puritan Board Freshman
We also have seven, soon to be eight, and I also recommend that you don't make a big deal out of this. A child sleeping with you really isn't the end of the world. In a few years, you'll probably miss these days, when your child wanted so much snuggle time with mom and dad.

Two of our kids were especially difficult to get to sleep at night, and to train to stay in their own beds. Both of them ended up having allergies and/or reflux problems that we didn't know about at the time. Don't necessarily assume that this is a child just being willful.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
While I don't necessarily disagree with those advocating children sleeping with their parents, this must have certain limits and precautions. If having children in the bed as a matter of course, interferes either with the parents getting their needed rest or with their intimacy together as husband and wife, it can be harmful.
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm sorry for the sorrow you feel when the little one weeps - there really is no worse experience than when our children are sad/hurt/lonely/scared. I have 2 comments;

1. I say have the family sleep together!!! How happy to wake up to your sniveling child and dear wife!

2. If the above isn't desirous, then (this is what we did), I recommend having the child sleep in its own bed and you stay in the bed with them the entire night for a week, and then the next week go to your own bed once it is asleep (but have its bed right next to you)!

Anyways here is one of a thousand suggestions - I hope you guys find solutions.

God bless fatherhood!!!


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