How I Got My 4-Year-Old to Stay in Her Bed in Just a Week
The Goodnight Fairy
this post may contain affiliate links.
Our daughter started sneaking down to our room around 12:30 in the morning, every morning. There were nights she came down even earlier, crying and begging us to let her stay. Sometimes I’d be lucid enough to take her back up, sometimes I wouldn’t discover her until morning. She can be pretty quiet when she wants to be. Sometimes I just gave in and let her stay.
For a while, my husband and I didn’t mind. She is growing up so quickly and we want to savor all the time we can with our babies. We didn’t even mind on the nights she came in to our bed earlier in the night. My husband and I usually watch t.v. for a few hours before going to sleep, but the light and noise never bothered our girl. She would be asleep before she hit our pillows. Those were the nights she used to talk in her sleep. It was hilarious! One night, she sat straight up, looked me in the eyes, screamed “PURPLE!”, laid right back down and was out like a light.
I have also been informed that cats are afraid of frogs, and I was set straight about daddy not being a party pooper. I could go on and on just about the funny conversations I’ve had with that sleeping beauty.
Then came the human wind-milling. Our daughter went through a phase in which she just could not be still. She’d twirl and spin, flip and flop, kick and elbow. All three of us were waking up exhausted, two of us very bruised.
Something had to give.
My husband and I tried taking her straight back to her room as soon as we heard her coming. That was a big battle. She would cry and try to wrench herself out of our arms. All that fight for her just to come right back after about 30 minutes. And we were consistent, she came in, we walked her right back. Every. Time. All. Night. We did this for a couple weeks before we just couldn’t function during the day. I had to come up with something different.
The Tooth Fairy must have some relatives, right?
She has a cousin, The Goodnight Fairy.
The Goodnight Fairy visits all little children who are having a hard time staying in their beds at night. Sometimes, she leaves a little present and a note under pillows when these little children stay in their beds all night long.
Now, a few nights after telling my daughter that The Goodnight Fairy was watching all the little children, that good old fairy left a wonderful note of encouragement for my little sleeping beauty…
I’ve never seen that kid so excited! “She came, she came!” we heard that morning. My husband and I made sure we were just as excited and curious about that note.
All through the day, my daughter mentioned The Goodnight Fairy. She wondered if the fairy could see her during the day and if she would be back that night.
Bedtime rolled around. After reading a couple stories, I talked about TGF and reminded my little restless one that TGF was watching and was hoping she’d stay in her bed all night long.
With eyes wide open, my little girl promised she’d try her best.
2 a.m. Here she comes down the stairs. I was able to hop up and meet her in the doorway. I scooped her up and up we went to her bed. I laid her down and reminded her about The Goodnight Fairy. I had to lay with her for a few minutes, but she drifted back to sleep.
6 a.m. Time for me to wake up. There’s an extra lump in the bed.
I told you she was quiet.
Two more nights of this. Then two nights of only wandering out of her room once. The Goodnight Fairy visited once more that week to encourage my little girl to stay in her bed. There was even a little glitter from the fairy’s wings on that note. OOOOh, how exciting that was!
We had an all-nighter!!
By 5 a.m. I realized she wasn’t coming down. She was really sleeping in her own bed.
And what’s this? My ribs don’t hurt? I feel rested? Weird. But triumphant. Triumphant is a big feeling for this, but after so long of feeling like she’d just have to grow out of it, triumphant fits.
I had to act quick or I’d have one disappointed and disenchanted little girl on my hands.
Purple pen, notebook, glitter, and a Shopkin. (I had an extra pack in my drawer for our post-it scavenger hunt prizes and our flash card clue hunts.
I cracked my ankles at the bottom of the stairs. Because, seriously, the stealthier I try to be, the more my ankles crack. Nothing wakes up a sleeping baby like a momkle… (mom ankle).
I laid the note and the Shopkin right on top of her pillow and out I crept.
Not only did we all get a restful night’s sleep in our own beds, my daughter slept 3 hours past her normal wake up time. I couldn’t believe it.
Please, please, let this be our new normal.
You would have thought it was Christmas morning when that child woke up! The look of excitement on her face was just so stinking adorable. And on top of that, she was so proud of herself for sleeping in her own bed. She even said she “sleeped like a log”.
Bam. High five for this mom. And that Goodnight Fairy.
Every three or four nights, the fairy would leave a note and a coin or just a note for my daughter. The excitement never went away.
After about a month, The Goodnight Fairy wrote that she’d be gone for a while but she would come back to check on my little girl very soon. She explained that she had other little children to look in on who needed help staying in their beds at night.
With total understanding and a very mature tone, my daughter said she was very glad The Goodnight Fairy would visit other children because then they could get surprises and get good rest all night long.
I’m glad, too, kid, I’m glad, too!
So, that is how I got my 4-year-old to stay in her bed all night long. We all get a good night’s sleep and are as happy as can be.
She still sneaks down every so often, but when she says “I just want to snuggle with my family”, how can we say no?
I’d say we’d start working on getting her to sleep with the light off now, but why ruin a good thing? Ha!
Any other tips for keeping kids in their beds at night? I don’t know that The Goodnight Fairy is going to have any influence with our boy.
Oy, that boy…