5 year old sleep issues — The Bump
School-Aged Children

5 year old sleep issues

My 5 year old has been waking up every night between 3-3:30. He yells "Mom" and then won't go back to sleep unless I go into his room and either lay with him or stand their until he falls asleep again. We have white noise in his room, we have a night light, we do "monster spray". We are desperate for some advice. I know the "cry it out" stage is available for us, but at 5 years old it seems he will never stop yelling for me. Suggestions and stories of others experiencing this please :)

Re: 5 year old sleep issues

  • Hang in there, because I can almost guarantee you that this is a temporary stage.  If you have already established good bedtime routines and independent sleep, it's almost certain that he'll get back on track on his own, even if nothing else you do succeeds.  Time and brain growth will take care of it.  One nice thing about a 5 year old is that they'll work with you on things like this.  

    I would talk to him about what he's thinking about when he wakes up.  When he wakes up does he feel excited? lonely? scared? fidgety?  Try to get him to name what he's feeling.

    Remind him that there's a lot he can do at night without needing you.  He can go to the bathroom, get a drink (put a little cup in there for him), maybe even turn on a lamp/flashlight and look at a book until he feels sleepy again.

    I went through this with  my son when he was a little younger than 5.  He would call, and it was always something:  I need water!  My nose is stuffy!  I'm scared!  I finally realized that what I wanted was for him to be independent at night, but what I was doing by going in to him and solving every little problem was sending the opposite message.  Basically, it was telling him: you really DO need to call for me!  My husband and I talked to him about why he had a hard time falling back to sleep, then we gave him strategies for solving his own problems.  In about 3 weeks, he was back to sleeping through the night.   That might have happened without our strategies anyway, but it didn't hurt his independence and maturity to hear that message.

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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