Curious behavior from my 4 yr old

Anyone trouble shoot this behavior.

3 kids. #1 boy is 8, #2 girl is 4, #3 girl is 1.

I go in and tuck everyone in before I hit the sheets and over the last 30 days I have found my 4 yr old camped out under the 1 yr old’s crib. About two nights a week. Anyone understand this?

The 4 yr old is the rebel of the 3 and spends a good portion of her time being lectured. Which I have told my wife we need do less of. In addition I am spending more 1 on 1 time with her as she gets short changed for obvious reasons. Is this just a middle child thing?

Peace Eric

is she jealous of the little one perhaps?

I’d guess she is feeling displaced by her little sister who is now the baby and sleeping in her old crib. I am assuming she sleeps in a bed and probably used to sleep in that crib where her baby sister now sleeps. Have you asked her? Is she asleep under there or just hiding when you find her? Probably shows that she has not fully transitioned to the new family dynamics with her as the middle child and no longer the baby.

My daughter was 4 when our son was born. She too loved being near his crib.

Maybe she just wants to be close to the “baby”. She may feel protective or have feeling of closeness she can’t explain to you. It is true that it is better for her to sleep in her own bed, but if it is an issue of love and being well intentioned than don’t be too hard on her. :wink:

There may also be a special bonding to her new sister. I have two sisters and we were/are so incredibly close.

If it were me, I’d put a sleeping bag or blankets and a pillow under there. If she’s asleep, what’s the problem??? :wink:

I agree—as long as they are sleeping :thumbsup: , they could sleep in the bathroom if they wanted (no, not really!:smiley: ). She just probably wants to be the “little mommy”! How sweet!

I have a 4 yo girl as well and she is our only (so far). It is possible this behavior has nothing to do with the one yo. My dd LOVES to build little forts and hidey places and will often fall asleep in them. Some kids just like a cosy tight spot. I can remember doing the same thing as a kid. I think Dr Sears even talks about the “nap nook” in one of his books.

maybe 4 yr old wants to protect the baby from imagined dangers, or is herself has night fears and this is a security thing.

maybe 4 yr hold knows she is pushing your buttons and has chosen this as a confrontation with parent and is waiting for your next move because, like many 4 yr olds, she enjoys the battle.

if as OP sounds parent has already perceived the source of part of the problem, that could be addressed–for a week, no lectures, ignor provocative behavior that is not actually threatening or harmful, and make only good positive comments (no matter how much you have to stretch), and make a conscious effort to give here some quality one:one daddy and mommy time each day.

That was going to be my suggestion! Make it into a fun tent!

Hmmm… maybe “middle child syndrome” is starting to shine through (I really have no knowledge of all that “middle child psycology”… but you never know!)…
Maybe it has something to do with feeling left out or unimportant (not the “oldest” not the “precious new baby”, etc)…

Or, it could just be a moody 4-year-old-girl thing!

Good luck!

I think it’s just your little girl acting like a child. My 4 year old niece used to like to get out of bed and sleep in the hallway or whereever she plopped back down, maybe it was the freedom of not being in the crib anymore, she stopped after a few months, my sister and her husband never made a big deal about it, just picked her up and put her back in bed.

I have a 4yo. My first course of action would be to ask her about it to see if she can answer your question without you having to be a detective. If you awaken her to move her back to bed, ask her then. Ask her in the morning if she remembers and ask her why she does it. If she doesn’t remember, leave it at that, don’t bother her with it again - you don’t want to upset her by making her think she’s doing strange stuff when she goes to sleep.

Maybe your child “has a job to do” and is sleepwalking because of it. Let me explain:

My dd was sleepwalking about a year ago. We had just taken the safety gate off of her bed, and she had fallen out a few times. Not enough for us to think the gate HAD to go back on. But I was reading Dr. Ferber’s book “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” at that time (for other reasons), and took note of one of his points. He suggested that sometimes when a child is afraid she is going to wet the bed, or fall out of bed, she goes to sleep knowing that she has to be careful not to let that happen. In the child’s mind, she “has a job to do” and she doesn’t let herself just fall into a completely relaxed state. This actually can affect her ability to move through the stages of sleep smoothly and the result can be a sleep disturbance like sleep walking. In my daughter’s case, her “job” was to keep from falling out of bed. It apparently stressed her out enough that she sleepwalked. One night, we put the safety gate back on her bed, and she never sleepwalked again.

See if there is some change that has happened in her life that is giving her a “job to do” when she goes to sleep. Did you remove the safety gate? DId you move her to a different room? Did she just stop wearing pullups at night? Did something happen to make her feel like she has to watch out for her safety when she goes to bed? If she does “have a job to do” then you just have to figure out how to remove that job from her responsibility.

God Bless,

Don’t you remember using sheets to make tents under tables and hiding in nooks just for the fun of it? Under the crib sounds like a cozy hideout to me. Sort of a canopy bed on the floor. Play along, let her camp out. She will get tired of it after a while. I say they are great candidates for bunk beds in a few years!

Hey folks, thanks for all your replies. I reckon I have have a normal little girl. Someday I will remember fondly those nights she had her little campouts.

Peace Eric

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