13 answers

Child Lock or Gate on Toddlers Bedroom Door to Keep Him In????

Hi ladies,

My 2 year old isn't the best sleeper, never has been. Now that he's in a twin bed its worse, he won't go to sleep at night without someone lying with him until he's asleep, he gets up at least once a night comes in our room and wants us to lay with him, he's not even awake when he gets out of bed but by the time he gets to our room he's wide awake. AND, he wakes between 5 and 6am very grumpy and tired but won't go back to bed on his own...we have tried everything hoping it was a faze but has been going on for months...only thing I can think of is to basically lock him in so he'll get some sleep!!! Has anyone else had this problem????


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My girlfriend locked her kids in and swears by that method. It did seem to work. I was never able to pull it off and did put up with months of getting up with one of my children. The one thing I can tell you is, if you can stick it out for about 7 days or so, the door locking thing does work. If you cannot stick it out then it will be a long time but he will eventually get it together and begin sleeping normally. It took my son until he was about 5. Just depends on what you can handle.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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My girlfriend locked her kids in and swears by that method. It did seem to work. I was never able to pull it off and did put up with months of getting up with one of my children. The one thing I can tell you is, if you can stick it out for about 7 days or so, the door locking thing does work. If you cannot stick it out then it will be a long time but he will eventually get it together and begin sleeping normally. It took my son until he was about 5. Just depends on what you can handle.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

exactly what my son did.
We didnt have round knobs to put the child-safety knob thing on the inner part of his door (as many folks do) so we had to just exchange the bathroom door handle which had a lock with his bedroom door handle.. that way we could lock his door. It was never malicious; you're not punishing the child. just keeping them safe at night.. I mean WHO would want their lil one wandering out the front door !?-- it could happen

aren't 2 yr olds fun? have you tried audio books or music? you would still have to get up to put in a CD, but then you could leave the room/ go back to bed.

We put a gate in our son's bedroom door when he was first in a regular bed. He would freak out if the door was closed all the way, but the gate allowed him to see out of his bedroom and not get scared. When he would get out of bed all he could do was stand in his doorway, and if he did that we'd go in, tell him it was time to sleep, and put him back in bed. No other conversation, kisses, talking, cuddling, etc. We wanted him to learn that getting out of bed and calling for us didn't get him anything other than being put back in bed. There were many times when he'd have an all-out meltdown at not being allowed out (mainly at nap time), but eventually he learned that he needed to stay in bed and now at 6 years old he's the best sleeper.

I would say to definitely try either a gate or doorknob lock (if you and your son are ok with the door being closed - I liked being able to peek in his room without having to open the door...). It will probably be a tough adjustment for him at first since he's so used to just walking in your room and getting you up, but it did work for us.

Good luck!

If you are insisting on him sleeping in his own bed it seems to me the safest and most comfortable solution would be a small bed or "nest" on the floor of your room. Locking him in his room, especially while you are asleep, sounds dangerous. If he needs you when he is falling asleep or in the night, responding to his needs teaches an important lesson in trust. I would not expect him to fall asleep and sleep through the night alone until he is old enough to be reasoned with, maybe four, but possibly older. My five year old slept in our bed until she was almost four. By that time she was excited to have her own bed and realized how comfortable sleeping alone could be! That said, she still loves for us to read, lay or massage her as she is falling asleep and when she is scared or sick one of us will sometimes lay and even sleep with her. It is also a big treat for her to sleep in our bed when my husband is out of town. We treated our thirteen year old this same way and I can assure you that they eventually outgrow this nighttime parenting. I truly believe that showing our children that we will be there for them, no matter what the reason or inconvenience, has formed them into the caring, mature and understanding people that they are!

We put a baby gate on the door. I think with my first, we put a baby door knob lock thingy on his door, but my second panics at the thought of being trapped, and a closed door means that he can't get to mommy. So we left the door open, but a gate on the door.
However, we put the gate on the door from the very beginning of him having a toddler bed, so we didn't have to deal with a loss of freedom. I don't know how you can spin it so he does'nt get mad that you're locking him in his room. My son did appreciate me telling him that when he got potty trained, we would take the gate down so he could get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. He liked knowing that he wouldn't always need the gate, and that he would earn a privelege when he grew up.

Was he a climber? If not, put his crib back up!

We used the handles on the door that you have to squeeze to open the door. That way, I could open it anytime I wanted to, but the kids couldn't! It worked wonders. I didn't like the iea of a gate because mine would have climbed it! LOL

Good luck - this too will pass!

My son doesn't fall asleep very well early and wakes up early too. We do have a gate on his door and I love it!! It keeps him in, and I know he's safe (I don't have to worry about him wandering the house w/out us knowing). We've thought about putting a door lock on the door so he can't open it, but I like the gate better because then I feel like he doesn't feel as trapped in there. He can still open the door to see what is going on or where we are, or to let us know that he's up/needs something (I don't feel like we're really locking him in). We ended up having to put the little gate holders up(?) in the door to keep it in place. He got to the point where he could push it out and get out. (He is also 2 by the way). Anyway, it works great for us. It also makes it easier for him to go to sleep w/out us. Sometimes when we leave after putting him to bed he cries for a little bit, but since he can't follow us he usually stops pretty quickly and plays or looks out the window, or on those lucky nights just goes right to sleep.

Anyway, good luck!

My son just learned to open his bedroom door so we have put the gate up just behind it for reinforcement. He's a quick learner so I'm hopeful that he will stop attempting to get out the door and we can remove the gate in the next few weeks. Good luck!

Well, I can tell you what our dr said to do (although she didn't understand what the problem was, she thought it was like what you're experiencing) for our - hmmm, 3 y/o at the time.
She said to make up a little pallet of blankets and a pillow on the floor of our room for him. If/when he wakes up and wants to come in our room he can do that, but he is NOT ALLOWED to wake mom or dad. He can lay down in his 'nest' so that he can be close, but mom & dad need their sleep.
Now, honestly, I have no idea how you can enforce the 'don't wake us' part of this idea. I imagine it can be done, and sooner or later he'll get tired of sleeping on your floor! :)
Good luck!

I like the gate idea. I may have to go down that road too... I have a 2 year old still in her crib, whom we are thinking about transitioning into a twin bed sometime this summer, when she's 2.5. But we may wait even longer. Here's why: our excellent, awesome, locally famous, super smart, old and wise pediatrician tells us kids shouldn't make the transition out of the crib (if it can be helped.. for example, sometimes kids are too big for the crib, so that's a different story...) until closer to age 3, for the exact reasons you're mentioning. It makes life so much easier to have those little buggers contained in a crib for the sanity and sleep cycles of mom and dad (and for themselves, quite frankly)... and having gone through what you're going through with our 3.5 year old, I couldn't agree more! It may be too late for you to put your son back into a crib... but maybe a bed with higher side rails that run the length of the bed, in addition to a baby gate at the door, may be what needs to clue him in to staying in bed or at least in his room until mom or dad says it's time to come out. Other tips you might try to entice him to stay in his room (we've had to try all of these for our 3 year old): a really cool night light (we have a turtle that lights up different endangered species onto the ceiling and we have a stained glass house that lights up too (it dazzles her), a white noise machine. Also, our pediatrician recommended giving her half a banana and a little milk before brushing teeth, to help with inducing sleep. He also suggested a very small amount of the herb melatonin, which promotes sleep. Now, with all that said, our 3.5 year old still wakes up around 6am and wanders into our bedroom, ready for us to get up and go for the day. Which is ok since daddy's working, but not mommy! But I'll take 6 am over 5 am any day, as that hour surely does make a difference.

Hi, Have you tried taking back your parental authority?? Get yourself a little switch and after explaining your bedtime rules to him ( for example, once you're in bed you don't get back up. And that you won't be laying down with him anymore, that he's old enough to get to sleep by himself) explain that you expect him to abide by the rules. There will be no more getting out of bed and the consquences for his disobedience will be a switch on the bottom. I'm betting you'll only have to play this game once or twice and if you are firm and consistent he'll decide it's nicer to sleep in till Momma comes in and gets him up then it is to get a sting on the bottom for not listening. Consistency is the key. But this is only the beginning of a child controlling the parents if you don't nip it in the bud it will grow to become larger issues. Take back your rightful authority and enjoy your baby. L.

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