Got Questions? We've got answers from experts and parents who've been there.
What's happening is that you've turned into your child's personal masseuse and allowed her to rely on the warm, fuzzy feelings this affection produces to fall asleep. As hard as it is (snuggling with our kids can be so blissful, we know) you're going to have to stop the back rubbing. Start at bedtime first. Go through your whole bedtime routine up until the back rub and then say goodnight and leave the room. If she protests, explain that she's a big girl who can fall asleep on her own (your confidence in her will go a long way). For a while she'll probably call for you and cry, but you should continue to comfort her with your voice and nothing more. Eventually (after about a week) she should catch on and fall asleep independently. And once she can put herself to sleep alone at bedtime, she'll also be able to fall asleep at naptime and fall back asleep on her own in the middle of the night.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.