Hi, I’m Kim West, the Sleep Lady. Today, I’m going to answer Emily’s question:
“Hi. My daughter is 4 years old and due to a family break up, we have had to share a room and sometimes the bed having moved home several times. She’s always gone to sleep with no problems. But now she wakes screaming like a baby. I’ve tried several sleep training methods: comforting and putting her back, no conversations, lots of cuddles, but she still ends up hysterical clinging to me, jumping into my bed all hours and not letting go of me. As a single parent, I find it extremely hard to function with no sleep. I was tempted to use a lock on the door as a final option. I did use a child gate when she was a toddler but she would climb over it now. Please help.”
There’s a lot of information here that I don’t have that would allow me to really be helpful for you. Fist of all, I want to say I’m sorry about your family break up. That is incredibly stressful and your daughter is very young. This is a tough time, and I really think you should do what works right now.
Until you are settled into a place where you are going to live for a while, I would do what works to help her sleep. This time is probably very stressful for a 4 year old who can’t really understand what’s going. If that means that you sleep with her for however many months it takes until you can figure out where you’re going to live on a longer term basis, then I would go ahead and do it. Do not punish yourself over this, just let it be. You can eventually start to put her to bed at bedtime and say “Sweetie pie, mommy’s gonna be on the living room and folding laundry or whatever, and I’ll come back to bed later when it’s my bedtime.”
If that’s too much of a jump, you can start sitting next to her bed at bedtime, and then in the middle of the night, join her in bed. You can read more about this here: Teach Your Co-Sleeping Child How to Fall Asleep. You didn’t tell me is where she’s starting her night, so I’m not sure where it all comes into play with locking the door and a gate.
I’m also not sure whether you’re sharing a room or not sharing a room. So if you’re sharing a room, I would just continue to sleep with her for now. You could even have a little bed next to you but it sounds like that’s what you’re doing and she’s just getting out of bed a lot anyway, and if that’s the case, I would leave it alone. Again wait until things are more settled and then you could do some sleep coaching with her.
I hope that helps you. Hang in there.
The Sleep Lady
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