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Bonnie
Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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HOW CAN I, WHAT CAN I DO, TO GET MY 11 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER TO

Customer Question

HOW CAN I, WHAT CAN I DO, TO GET MY 11 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER TO SLEEP IN HER BED IN HER ROOM. SHE IS AFRAID OF THE DARK AND IS TERRIFIED TO BE ALONE. WE HAD HER LATE IN OUR LIFE AND HER SISTERS AND BROTHER ARE MARRIED AND HAVE THEIR OWN LIVES. WE HAVE TRIED ALMOST EVERYTHING TO GET HER TO SLEEP IN HER BED BUT NOTHING WE'VE TRIED HAS WORKED. SHE IS IN COUNCILING.

SINCERELY, ANDY
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for consulting JA (and your in the right category now)

Your goal is a good and appropriate one. She is at an age where she needs to be sleeping in her own bed and in her own room.

You need to tell her that it is just time and the change must be done in 2 months (arbitrary). Develop a plan and include her in the planning. Here is a sample but adjust it to fit your family and life style.

1st week:
One night, mother will not sleep with her;
Let her have a light on; let her read herself to sleep; mother should be close by (one room away); If all goes well with minimal getting up: reward her with something (i.e., $2.00 to spend on weekend: adjust this amount if it is too little or too much;)

2nd week: Two nights, mother will not sleep with her; (same as above except reward her with $4.00 to spend on weekend).

3rd week: Three nights without mother: $6.00
4th week: Four nights without mother: $8.00
and so on;

When she is sleeping every night in her own bed ($14.00), you can continue to give her 14.00 per week and call it her allowance for keeping the rules of the house. You can begin to take away money ("pay a fine") for breaking rules (just like we must if we break a law).

This is a variation of a behavior management strategy called token economy. You can search using these key words to find other variations.

Regarding mother being in next room, that too can be gradually changed.

You should praise her greatly for her ability to be in room alone, let her have light on and let her read or listen to music. Also, give her lots of encouragement.."I know you can do this."

I hope this gives you a new direction and that it works for your family. Good luck.