Is it common for a 4 year old to need to be rubbed to sleep every night?
I have a 4 year old son that I rub to sleep every night. I am having another child soon and am beginning to wonder if this is something that is normal. If a 4 year old should be able to sleep on his own, how can I transition him into sleeping on his own?
The rubbing sounds like a sleep association, much like co sleeping, using a dummy, feeding, being driven and rocked - and all the other ways in which parents need to assist their child to go off to sleep.
If he can't go to sleep without you doing this and you're wanting to stop it then this needs to come from you. He's highly unlikely to want it to end but if you feel that doing this is going to be unsustainable when your new baby comes then it's reasonable to implement some changes. Make sure he goes to bed awake, follow a regular pre bed settling routine, tell him what you'd like him to do eg "lie down and go to sleep" and make sure you leave the room before he's fully asleep. It's fine to give him a little back rub or soothing and reassurance but ultimately, if you need to do this until he's asleep then he's not learning how to settle himself to sleep and unless he has the opportunity to do so, then he'll continue to rely on you.
Check the Huggies site for Toddler Sleep management https://www.huggies.com.au/toddler/development/physical/sleep and also http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=122&id=1899
27 Aug 2014