Preschooler refusing to sleep with separation anxety

My 4 year old is refusing to go to sleep at night because she says that she misses me too much and never gets to see me. She is only sleeping about 8 hours a night and every time she wakes up she cries and screams until I go and see her and see tells me how much she misses me. What can I do to break this cycle?


Hi Ericka
You are right to be concerned. Preschoolers need 11- 13 hours of sleep. A lack of sleep could cause moodiness irritability and tantrums in your child and decrease her ability to function and enjoy life. 

Breaking such a s cycle would require you saying no to her sleeping with you. Often with children who present with this problem, I encourage parents to set up a behavioral chart with rewards at the end of each period of successfully preforming the requested task. Because she is indicating she misses you, you could use special one on one time with her as the reward.

I would encourage her to sleep in her own bed, or go back in her bed if that's the first step, with the reward of "if you can do this like a big girl three days in a row, we will do something special together."

Good luck in dealing with your child's disruptive sleep pattern. It takes so much energy and strength these days to juggle all that we need to in order to make ends meet, and I can image it pulls on your heart strings to hear your child say she isn't spending enough time with you. Don't let that be the reason to give in to that behavior of sleeping with you!

Good Luck
Kristen McClure

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