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Pediatrics/Won't sleep in own bed


Hi, Dr. Olson: My almost 3 year old granddaughter will not sleep in her own bed. Her father moved out in January 2014 and she has not slept in her own bed since. She had been sleeping by herself since July of last year. I assume it goes along with him leaving the residence. Question is what to do about it. Should anything be done? Some kind of incentive program? Will she just outgrow it?

Appreciate your thoughts on this.

Hi, Cobie,

Does she live with her mother?  If so, she needs to be on board with whatever strategy takes place, for you giving her suggestions generally won't work.  

Nothing intrinsically wrong about sharing a bed, but if she has been doing this for over a year, then this is getting tiresome for whomever is sharing the bed with her.  I would stress that she is a big girl and needs to sleep in her own bed.  I like to have a parent do a card, that the child can hold and give to the parent one time to get out of  bed and visit.  Once the card is used, the parent keeps it for that night and she can't get out again.

She is unlikely to just outgrow it, for it is human nature and animal nature to like having a warm body to sleep with.

Good luck, D.r Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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