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Parents of ADHD Children

Nine Yr old Doesn't sleep in her own bed

I have a nine that doesn’t want to sleep in her own bed..She is so scared of the dark that she sleeps with her sister then sneaks in our bed. She was diagnosed with ADHD Three months ago. Would like to know what to do to get her to sleep in her own bed.


My 12 son always wanted me as his comfort blanket.  I would sleep in his bed until I knew he fell asleep then go to my room. 

To this day, he has difficulty sleeping thru the night and always insists on having a bright light on in his room (not a nightlight).

There will come a day when they choose to sleep on their own but it may be a while (such as my sons case)

Posted by knrdodd on Mar 12, 2014 at 5:36pm

My wife and I received some great advice when it was suggested to us that we make a stand with out then 4 year old.  Our son wanted to sleep in our bed and after a few days that got old really fast.  Then my wife’s mother told us what she and my father-in-law did to my wife when she wanted to sleep in their bed as a child.
They let my wife sleep in their room if she wanted to but under no circumstances was she to sleep in their bed. Ever!
It took about a month of our son dragging his blanket to our room when he decided that it was easier to just stay in his bed,

Posted by MarkOden on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:16pm

We did the same thing as Mark - it took about three days before my son was tired of sleeping on the hardwood floor.  He even brought in my yoga mat to put down and was so uncomfortable he gave up!  Good luck.

Posted by Sporty on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:09pm

My 10 yr. old son just got his own room after co-sleeping with us while he was young and then sharing with his little brother from the age of 4.  At first he wanted to go back into his old room for various reasons, habit, bad dreams, liked to sleep with his sibling, too dark.  I decided that he needed to feel that the room was his own sanctuary.  I found a small lava lamp at Target that is turquoise blue.  We painted the walls colors he liked, blue and purple, and put some pretty posters of scenes from outer space on the walls.  That seemed to make it “his own.”  The lamp keeps the room from being dark and scary and if he can’t sleep, he can lay in bed and stare at beautiful photos of galaxies to relax.  It worked like a charm.  He loves his space and sleeps in his own room now without a problem.

Posted by Christennj on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:14pm

Children with ADHD are functionally one third younger than their chronological age.  Children with ADHD do not have the automatic skills to self sooth - meaning they cannot talk themselves out of being afraid.  So basically you are asking why a 6 year old without any ability to comfortably be alone in the dark wants to sleep with you.

So, you are focusing on the end result - the symptom - wanting to fix the symptom which is the not sleeping in her own bed.  But what if you want this symptom to get better you need to work with her on developing the skills to be able to do it.  You can model for her and help her to talk herself out of the fears her brain is grappling with.  Ask, acknowledge, and model.  “What’s going on that you don’t want to stay in your bed”  “I can see that makes you feel nervous”  “Let’s talk about something else for a little while and think about something fun” - like that, much the same as redirecting a toddler when they are heading for the electrical socket, yelling for them to stop only makes everyone anxious, showing them a more fun toy to pay attention to makes that socket less interesting and them less likely to go there again.

This is not such a big deal after all.  She will get there but you have to support her.  It is her brain not functioning the way it is supposed to so getting stressed or worried about it is not helpful.  She needs a bridge to be able to sleep in her own room, you need to help her build it, in hopefully a way that makes her feel secure and confident in herself.

Posted by YellaRyan on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:30pm

I went through this with my son when we moved.  His therapist worked wonders for getting him into his own bed. What worked for him was a night light and leaving a radio on all night.  Occasionally, as a special treat, I will let him sleep with me.  But there have been nights when he left my bed and went back to his own. 

I had to laugh when I read Christennj’s response.  I let my son pick out the decorations for his room, instead of soothing planets and soothing decorations, my son chose a 6 foot Optimus Prime fathead.  Certainly not soothing to me, but he loves it!

Posted by cmullen17 on Mar 13, 2014 at 10:16pm

My 10 year old son has never liked sleeping by himself, and we did the family bed for several years (I could never let him just cry it out as our pediatrician recommended - too much of a softie :- ).  I was finally able to transition him to his own bed in his own room when he was 8.  He still sleeps with a special blanket and a night light.  I think what helped him the most though was when we started letting our dog sleep in his bedroom.  He has a doggie bed next to my son’s bed and that helps my son feel more secure.  I know not everyone is a fan of indoor pets and this wouldn’t work for kids with allergies, but it’s what worked best for us.  Try to figure out what would help to reduce her anxiety about sleeping by herself, maybe with the light on or special toys in bed, etc.  My husband, who also has ADHD, says he slept with his favorite toys in bed until he was a teen.  I know it can be frustrating, but hang in there.  It will get better!

Posted by djch45 on Mar 15, 2014 at 6:57pm

I have a 13 year old that still sleeps with me…that being said, she started at 8. Up until then she refused to sleep with me. I have tried EVERYTHING….our psychologist has said that as long as it doesn’t bother me, that she won’t do it much longer. They never do. So I am just riding it out…I am a single mom so it’s not that big a deal at this point in life. My daughter also suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Severe Separation Anxiety.

Posted by BOGUSANNIE on Mar 16, 2014 at 9:47am

It’s good to know I’m not the only one struggling with this. My son is 9 and also has trouble sleeping on his own. We obviously avoid screen time, try to exercise daily, drink warm milk and he decorated his own room.

Since he’s also anxious I try to stay positive ....I tell him 3 things he’s done well during the day, we kinda pray which I would say it’s more like saying 3 things we’re grateful for and then I have him say 3 affirmations(I’ll be fine, God will take care of me and I’ll sleep profoundly throughout the whole night)sounds like a lot, but it takes about 5 minutes. Then he picks among the following…it depends on his mood….1.some silent sound like ocean waves 2. a visualization exercise in which he concentrates on his breathing and imagines his own story to dream about 3. as a reward for writing his homework I give him a 10 min massage. He loves it! 
Sometimes I have to do all 3 or sometimes only the massage….
I would sleep with him, then I have gradually moved out. I take 2 steps towards the door each month…and it’s worked. Someday he’ll be fine with me out of his bedroom.

Posted by Ale on Mar 16, 2014 at 3:30pm

This probably isn’t the answer you wanted either, but I have two boys who needed us to sleep in their room when they were little and eventually, started sleeping in a sleeping bag in my room.  In order for us all to sleep better, I complained quietly.  I also thought it would never, ever end.  Both boys are four years apart and by middle school, they were both back in the room without bribing, tears or begging.  They are older teens now and I still in disbelief when I say goodnight when I’m ready to go to bed and they magically put themselves in their room at a decent hour and go to bed on their own.  I used to tell them they have to find a wife that didn’t mind sleeping with her in-laws!  This too shall pass, and I have to admit, I sometimes miss talking until we all fall asleep.

Posted by Nemo on Mar 17, 2014 at 6:37am

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