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Locking a toddler in her room at night

post #1 of 177
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I need advice biggrinbounce.gif! Sorry, but a bit of background info, first: DD is 29 months old and is somewhat unusual in that she has almost always preferred sleeping in her crib *without* me being in the room. If I'm there--or, god forbid, attempt to co-sleep with her--she thinks it's play time. And she's like the energizer bunny--you know--and she does NOT eventually crash from exhaustion. Needless to say, going on vacation and sharing a hotel room with her has always been hell and I've never enjoyed traveling, ever since she was born.

 

So...this morning, I finally saw what I've been dreading for months. She's finally grown tall enough to get her foot up the side of the crib and it's only a matter of time before she attempts to climb out. Which means, I guess, that it's time to plan for the toddler-bed transition.

 

I have two questions. One, of course, is about locking a child into her room. I don't want to be talked out of it--I think :). I feel, considering DD's personality, that it's the best solution. But I'm wondering about practical things, like how to lock a kid in (oh dear, that sounds wrong). We are currently renting a place, and the doors don't use knobs but lever-type handles--so we can't use door-knob covers, as I've read about elsewhere on this forum. Also, do I need to invest in a video monitor, so I can make sure she's not doing anything dangerous in there?

 

Second question: We already have a mattress on the floor of her room, and I was hoping to just use that. But I know DD rolls around a lot in her sleep, and I was curious if there is anything out there that can be used as a barrier around the mattress.

 

Thanks so much in advance.

 

 

post #2 of 177

I would not lock her in her room. The thought actually turns my stomach. That could be very hard on your DD. Maybe this will help:

 

My DH has always put  DSS (32 months) in his own bed. DSS has NEVER co slept with DH,  bio mom, etc. I can literally count four times in his life that he fell asleep  cartoons in our bed for nap time. My DH had a lot of trouble when DSS was your daughter's age with bed time. The best thing that I found is to make bed time seem fun. If you put her to bed at say 8:30, play with her hard for the hour before. I would run and play with DSS for an hour or so before bedtime. Then, change into a clean diaper, get some water for bed time, go to the bedroom with him and read a story. Lame as it sounds, read to the kid. At first I read every night for a week at least 3 books. But I was patient. Slowly he got to where he didn't ask for a book. Sometimes he puts himself to bed. Like tonight he told DH he wanted to go to bed. So he did. This was six months ago. DH and I have full nights of sleep, unless DSS is sick and even then he refuses to co sleep. He loves his toddler bed and the fact that it is HIS space. Now yes there are nights where he doesn't want to go to sleep but that is a normal toddler and it is nights like that that we are patient. We read, we take turns walking around, etc. I personally co slept with my parents until age 6 but my DH has definitely let me know that we can bond and have a good nights rest.

post #3 of 177
Thread Starter 

I totally respect your feelings, but to be honest, I don't see the difference between a locked room and a crib--well, the former is larger than the latter--which is where my daughter has happily slept all her life, until now. I definitely would never lock DD into her room while she was awake. Our room is right next to hers, and she is used to calling (loudly) for me, whenever she wants me. I'm also thinking of the dangers or having a child able to roam freely around the home, while I am asleep in my own room at night.

post #4 of 177

What about a baby gate at the door? That would allow her to see out and call you in case of need. It would be easily unlatched in an emergency, but it would prevent her from wandering the house. If you have an audio monitor, I don't think that you'd need a video one. A toddler climbing out of a crib isn't exactly silent.

post #5 of 177

I think the mattress on the floor thing works well.  If she does roll off / fall off the bed, it's not a far drop.  We didn't even put cushions around the mattress for my DS.  It looks a bit ghetto, but toddler beds seem like a waste of money to me, and twin beds have the roll off danger.  

 

We shut (it does sound so much nicer than "lock"!) DS in his room at night.  No video monitor.  If you can hear activity, chances are they are up to no good so you might as well go in there.  I agree - it's like a big crib.  I don't want my son wandering around in the house where he can get into trouble or get hurt.

 

And they do indeed make door knob handles for the lever handles.  Google "child proof door lever handles" and you will get lots of hits.

 

Good luck!

 

 

post #6 of 177
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

What about a baby gate at the door? That would allow her to see out and call you in case of need. It would be easily unlatched in an emergency, but it would prevent her from wandering the house. If you have an audio monitor, I don't think that you'd need a video one. A toddler climbing out of a crib isn't exactly silent.

 

The thing is that DD is used to the door being closed, so it is not a scary thing, to her. She is used to calling out for me, when she wants me to come get her. And our poorly constructed--and very small--apartment means I can hear every murmur and whimper from her and go to her right away.

 

I figure if she can scale her crib, it's only a matter of time before she can climb over a baby gate. Also, it wouldn't take much for her to figure out that she could stack up toys and books to give her a boost over--and this seems dangerous to me, as well.

post #7 of 177
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsFortune View Post

I think the mattress on the floor thing works well.  If she does roll off / fall off the bed, it's not a far drop.  We didn't even put cushions around the mattress for my DS.  It looks a bit ghetto, but toddler beds seem like a waste of money to me, and twin beds have the roll off danger.  

 

We shut (it does sound so much nicer than "lock"!) DS in his room at night.  No video monitor.  If you can hear activity, chances are they are up to no good so you might as well go in there.  I agree - it's like a big crib.  I don't want my son wandering around in the house where he can get into trouble or get hurt.

 

And they do indeed make door knob handles for the lever handles.  Google "child proof door lever handles" and you will get lots of hits.

 

Good luck!

 

 


Heh, yeah, I realized after I posted that my post-title looked rather like a red flag being waved.

 

Thanks, MsFortune, for the tips!

post #8 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by sobamom View Post

I totally respect your feelings, but to be honest, I don't see the difference between a locked room and a crib--well, the former is larger than the latter--which is where my daughter has happily slept all her life, until now. I definitely would never lock DD into her room while she was awake. Our room is right next to hers, and she is used to calling (loudly) for me, whenever she wants me. I'm also thinking of the dangers or having a child able to roam freely around the home, while I am asleep in my own room at night.



Well, if she is sleeping, why bother to lock the door?  I don't understand.

 

If she sleeps when you are not in her room, and she wakes and calls for you, why do think you will need to lock the door?  Does she sleep walk?

 

If you are worried she will wake up and not call for you, or wander the house, I think it might be better to have a baby gate you can block the house off with, or maybe an alarm system that would wake you if she left her room, but not terrorize her?

 

DS transitioned to a big boy bed at the age of aout 18-20 months.  We just stuffed pillows under the open side of the bed and laid the inflatable mattress on the floor in case of rolling.

 

He still called for us when he woke up even though he could have gotten up himself until he was about 3.5

 

 

 


Edited by hakeber - 5/21/11 at 1:46pm
post #9 of 177



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sobamom View Post

 

The thing is that DD is used to the door being closed, so it is not a scary thing, to her. She is used to calling out for me, when she wants me to come get her. And our poorly constructed--and very small--apartment means I can hear every murmur and whimper from her and go to her right away.

 

I figure if she can scale her crib, it's only a matter of time before she can climb over a baby gate. Also, it wouldn't take much for her to figure out that she could stack up toys and books to give her a boost over--and this seems dangerous to me, as well.



so then how will she be able to get out and "wander the house" while you are sleeping?  Won't you wake up if you hear her walking around?

 

post #10 of 177

Personally I never liked putting my child in a crib, it felt too much like a cage. So we co-slept. I realize your kid is like the energizer bunny so you resorted to these type of restraints. All kids are different. I accept that some parents use this as a safe/sanity device so I won't comment too much on that. I used to put our daughter in a bouncer right next to the shower while I washed my hair ... so i get the need for conveniences such as this ...

 

But hear me out on this point:

 

Using a restraining device is appropriate in certain circumstances like driving in an automobile and providing a safe spot so mom/dad can sleep, shower, etc if need be. It isn't the best option but if spare hands or conscious minds aren't available it is acceptably resorted to. However, when a child reaches certain milestones they must be granted additional liberties. For example I now shower with my child in the bathroom with me, but she is free to roam around with toys on the floor, no more bouncer. Yes she has slipped once or twice and completely unwound a roll of toilet paper but she got over it, as did I. It wasn't fun having her tear up the bathroom but that is kind of what kids do. She didn't do it after a few times. By locking your daughter in her room at night you are only delaying the inevitable escape and communicating a sense of mistrust.

 

We currently co sleep with our 16 month old daughter on a mattress laid out on the floor. When she started walking it was tough convincing her not to dash out of bed and run around the bedroom but in the end i just laid down with open ears and let her go. She eventually wandered into bed with me and now it is not an issue. She knows she can get up and run around whenever she wants, so the thrill is gone.

 

The best advice I can give you is to secure your exterior doors but leave the interior as it is during the day. Your child needs to learn how to wind down and be able to self regulate her sleepiness. Eventually she will realize that a dark living room is boring and wander back to her sleeping place or just pass out on the floor. Consider that it may be your agitation that fuels her late night excitement.

 

I would alternatively suggest that you get a chime of some sort hooked to her door so you know she is up and about. Let her roam but keep your ears and eyes open and act like you are just very very sleepy. Perhaps lay down on the couch and gently supervise for a night or two but don't interfere. It may be hell for a few days but you provide your child with a sense of dignity by treating her as a human being and teaching her about how everyone else decides to go to sleep.

 

Please reconsider locking your child up at night.

post #11 of 177
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

Well, if she is sleeping, why bother to lock the door?  I don't understand.

 

If she sleeps when you are not in her room, and she wakes and calls for you, why do think you will need to lock the door?  Does she sleep walk?

 

If you are worried she will wake up and not call for you, or wander the house, I think it might be better to have a baby gate you can block the house off with, or maybe an alarm system that would wake you if she left her room, but not terrorize her?

 


DD is one of those kids who needs time alone to wind down before sleep. We have our routine together, which ends with a nursing session, but *she* is the one who tells me she's ready to go into the crib and for me to get out :) I've heard her singing and talking to herself for as long as 30 minutes after I stepped out of the room. She may be just a little thing, but I respect that she, too, needs some alone time. If I stay in the room with her, she simply will not fall asleep. If the door is open and she can see me outside doing things, she will not fall asleep. She's also a super-light sleeper, who needs total quiet and darkness to sleep and stay asleep. I've already explained above why I think a baby gate wouldn't be a safe idea and I think an alarm system would drive us and the neighbors totally batty :) !

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

so then how will she be able to get out and "wander the house" while you are sleeping?  Won't you wake up if you hear her walking around?

 

I don't think DD is the only child capable of mischief without making a lot of noise :) I once shared a room with her while staying at my in-law's house and after a rather long, physically painful (imagine books and other solid objects slammed into your face, while you try your best to keep your eyes closed), and torturous session of me pretending to be asleep, I woke up a little later to find her clawing and peeling HUGE strips of the wallpaper off our room wall. I won't go into a lengthy description of why it isn't possibly to make our entire apartment completely safe for a toddler to explore at night without adult supervision, but I do feel it is safer and more practical to make her room completely safe and keep her in there. Okay, one example: We have a rather large shelving unit in our kitchen that isn't secured to the wall and that DD has attempted to climb more than once. If I weren't there to stop her, she'd pull the entire thing down on top of herself and it would cause her considerable injuries. I'd also have to nail every chair and stool to the floor to prevent her from climbing and reaching things she isn't supposed to. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovepickles View Post

Personally I never liked putting my child in a crib, it felt too much like a cage. So we co-slept. I realize your kid is like the energizer bunny so you resorted to these type of restraints. All kids are different. I accept that some parents use this as a safe/sanity device so I won't comment too much on that. I used to put our daughter in a bouncer right next to the shower while I washed my hair ... so i get the need for conveniences such as this ...

 

But hear me out on this point:

 

Using a restraining device is appropriate in certain circumstances like driving in an automobile and providing a safe spot so mom/dad can sleep, shower, etc if need be. It isn't the best option but if spare hands or conscious minds aren't available it is acceptably resorted to. However, when a child reaches certain milestones they must be granted additional liberties. For example I now shower with my child in the bathroom with me, but she is free to roam around with toys on the floor, no more bouncer. Yes she has slipped once or twice and completely unwound a roll of toilet paper but she got over it, as did I. It wasn't fun having her tear up the bathroom but that is kind of what kids do. She didn't do it after a few times. By locking your daughter in her room at night you are only delaying the inevitable escape and communicating a sense of mistrust.

 

We currently co sleep with our 16 month old daughter on a mattress laid out on the floor. When she started walking it was tough convincing her not to dash out of bed and run around the bedroom but in the end i just laid down with open ears and let her go. She eventually wandered into bed with me and now it is not an issue. She knows she can get up and run around whenever she wants, so the thrill is gone.

 

The best advice I can give you is to secure your exterior doors but leave the interior as it is during the day. Your child needs to learn how to wind down and be able to self regulate her sleepiness. Eventually she will realize that a dark living room is boring and wander back to her sleeping place or just pass out on the floor. Consider that it may be your agitation that fuels her late night excitement.

 

I would alternatively suggest that you get a chime of some sort hooked to her door so you know she is up and about. Let her roam but keep your ears and eyes open and act like you are just very very sleepy. Perhaps lay down on the couch and gently supervise for a night or two but don't interfere. It may be hell for a few days but you provide your child with a sense of dignity by treating her as a human being and teaching her about how everyone else decides to go to sleep.

 

Please reconsider locking your child up at night.


I think your argument makes a lot of sense, but I also believe that every freedom we grant a child should come at the right time. When that right time is, of course, is probably something that will never receive a unanimous vote. Look at legalized drinking, for example. Some kids are definitely ready earlier for certain freedoms than others. Truthfully, I only intend to use a lock on my daughter's door for the time it takes her to grow comfortable with her new sleeping arrangements. But I think an important thing to remember is that, as mothers, we probably know our own children and what they can and can't handle. 

 

I've received tons of criticism for things like continuing to breastfeed my daughter on demand, using a carrier with her when we're out and she doesn't want to walk, not putting her in daycare even though I'm told that what she "needs" is to be with kids her own age. I think, on this forum, it's great that people are comfortable and frank with their opinions--and I totally appreciate that everything that's been written has been out of concern for the welfare of my child--but I also hope people will try not to be so quick to judge and also assume that just because something works for them that it should for every other family and child. 

 

I do love hearing all the varying opinions, but I hope we can keep this thread friendly and open-minded!

post #12 of 177

You're right, you did explain about the gate.  I missed that before posting....

 

Can't you just shut the door without locking it?

 

I understand that a child can get up and make very little noise, but YOU said that the house you live in was poorly made and you can hear "every murmur and whimper from her  "  Obviously your parent's house is not as poorly built, right?  You seem to have decided that you can both hear her every move but also cannot trust yourself to wake up if she is up and about...which is it, ya know?  You have contradicted every argument you have made for locking her in her room with your own descriptions of your living situation, your daughter's own declaration of being ready to sleep on her own with the door closed, and your keen hearing. I'm trying to point out that subconsciously it seems something inside you knows this is...questionable.

 

It sounds very much like you came here merely to get confirmation that this was a good idea, regardless of logical fallacies riddling your reasoning for doing so, but I simply cannot wrap my head around how locking a child in her room is ever okay.  You have already decided it is...so why did you post this? 

 

Close the door to give her space, yes.  Install a door in the hallway (you can get those sliding track vinyl folding doors to install in a hallway for like 40 bucks at Home Depot) that allows safe access between her room and your bedroom, but locks off the rest of the house, sure, but lock her in a room ALONE so she cannot get out and more importantly get to YOU...at the age of TWO?  Are you sure you know where you're posting this?  This is an ATTACHMENT parenting board...if a child needs space to sleep I have no qualms with that.  I don't think AP means mandatory co-sleeping.  BOTH of my kids were like that, DD needing her own space a LITTLE later than her brother.  After stories and songs and snuggles I close the door and they settle in to sleep, but I have never locked the door to keep them in, and when they are fully asleep I open the door so I hear them better.  I guess I just don't understand what sort of answers you were expecting to get on a board that promotes AP.

 

It would be great to have an open-minded discussion about this, but you are not really open to other ideas or solutions, it seems.  You seem to just want confirmation that it is "okay" to lock the door of your child's room, which apart from presenting issues of safety (complete and total fire hazard!) is not in keeping with the tennets of AP, respecting a child's personal freedoms, and giving them a loving environment of trust and safety. If that is not as important to you as the knowledge that your child cannot escape her room and must wait for you to come get her in the morning that is your choice, and a valid one, but I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for people here to condone that. 

 

Good luck!

post #13 of 177
Thread Starter 

Hi Rebekah, 

 

If you read my original post, I actually started this thread to ask about rather practical information (locks and low boundaries around a mattress set on the floor), not to receive approval or affirmation. I actually learned about door-knob covers through this forum and I know for a fact that there are moms here that use them to keep their children (safe) in their rooms at night. I've only taken the time to answer your and others' questions because I appreciate the concern and want to assure you I'm not making these choices without valid reasons.

 

So while there are many here who may agree with your opinions, I think it is...wrong, I suppose, to tell me that I shouldn't be on this board because one of my decisions isn't one you approve of. It is an AP board but I'm pretty sure not every single parent here does every single thing the same way or follows every "rule." 

 

Sincerely, 

Rachel

post #14 of 177


What hakeber said.  thumb.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

You're right, you did explain about the gate.  I missed that before posting....

 

Can't you just shut the door without locking it?

 

I understand that a child can get up and make very little noise, but YOU said that the house you live in was poorly made and you can hear "every murmur and whimper from her  "  Obviously your parent's house is not as poorly built, right?  You seem to have decided that you can both hear her every move but also cannot trust yourself to wake up if she is up and about...which is it, ya know?  You have contradicted every argument you have made for locking her in her room with your own descriptions of your living situation, your daughter's own declaration of being ready to sleep on her own with the door closed, and your keen hearing. I'm trying to point out that subconsciously it seems something inside you knows this is...questionable.

 

It sounds very much like you came here merely to get confirmation that this was a good idea, regardless of logical fallacies riddling your reasoning for doing so, but I simply cannot wrap my head around how locking a child in her room is ever okay.  You have already decided it is...so why did you post this? 

 

Close the door to give her space, yes.  Install a door in the hallway (you can get those sliding track vinyl folding doors to install in a hallway for like 40 bucks at Home Depot) that allows safe access between her room and your bedroom, but locks off the rest of the house, sure, but lock her in a room ALONE so she cannot get out and more importantly get to YOU...at the age of TWO?  Are you sure you know where you're posting this?  This is an ATTACHMENT parenting board...if a child needs space to sleep I have no qualms with that.  I don't think AP means mandatory co-sleeping.  BOTH of my kids were like that, DD needing her own space a LITTLE later than her brother.  After stories and songs and snuggles I close the door and they settle in to sleep, but I have never locked the door to keep them in, and when they are fully asleep I open the door so I hear them better.  I guess I just don't understand what sort of answers you were expecting to get on a board that promotes AP.

 

It would be great to have an open-minded discussion about this, but you are not really open to other ideas or solutions, it seems.  You seem to just want confirmation that it is "okay" to lock the door of your child's room, which apart from presenting issues of safety (complete and total fire hazard!) is not in keeping with the tennets of AP, respecting a child's personal freedoms, and giving them a loving environment of trust and safety. If that is not as important to you as the knowledge that your child cannot escape her room and must wait for you to come get her in the morning that is your choice, and a valid one, but I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for people here to condone that. 

 

Good luck!



 

post #15 of 177



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sobamom View Post

Hi Rebekah, 

 

If you read my original post, I actually started this thread to ask about rather practical information (locks and low boundaries around a mattress set on the floor), not to receive approval or affirmation. I actually learned about door-knob covers through this forum and I know for a fact that there are moms here that use them to keep their children (safe) in their rooms at night. I've only taken the time to answer your and others' questions because I appreciate the concern and want to assure you I'm not making these choices without valid reasons.

 

So while there are many here who may agree with your opinions, I think it is...wrong, I suppose, to tell me that I shouldn't be on this board because one of my decisions isn't one you approve of. It is an AP board but I'm pretty sure not every single parent here does every single thing the same way or follows every "rule." 

 

Sincerely, 

Rachel

 

1) You said; "I don't want to be talked out of it--I think :).  " the latter two words of which I took as a clear invitation to debate the validity of this choice.  If you did not intend that perhaps you should clarify in your OP. :)



2) you said "I think it is...wrong, I suppose, to tell me that I shouldn't be on this board because one of my decisions isn't one you approve of. It is an AP board but I'm pretty sure not every single parent here does every single thing the same way or follows every 'rule.' " This is very interesting on two counts, one because I never said you shouldn't be on these boards, I just think you need to consider the reactions you are going to get when you ask for advice on how to basically go against the very fiber of everything most of the mother's here stand for.   That is why this community was formed to help OURSELVES make better choices as parents and to redirect one another when we lose our grounding.  Secondly, you are quite right.  There are thousand solutions to every problem.  Some of them are in keeping with the values of this community and some are not.  When people here see something in a post that they think is wrong, expect them to argue with you and ask you to back up what you have to say with clear logic and coherency.   This is how we learn here.

 

Furthermore, most of the mothers HERE that I know who use the door knob protectors use them for the outside doors, and bathroom doors, or for rooms the children should not have access to.  Those who do use them for locking children in their rooms tend to get similar criticism from many mothers on this board. That being said, just because people criticize and judge your decision as wrong doesn't mean you have to stop doing it.  You as a parent have the right to choose your own priorities regardless of what others think.  If it is your conviction that it is okay to lock your child in her room at night, go for it.  I believe it is both unsafe and unnecessary.  But ya know...it's your kid. 

 

Most genuinely, welcome to the boards, and I hope you get a lot out of your participation here.  Lord knows over the years these women have helped me see inconsitencies with my philosophy and choices and desires for who I want to be as parent.  It has always stung a little at first, but being able to converse with experienced mothers who have ultimately the same goals as I have in terms of the relationship I want to have with my kids really has helped me find better and better ways to parent.  Good luck! 

 

ETA:  it is also not MY point of view alone.  I did not make up the concept of attachment parenting and nor am I the AP police.  I am merely pointing out the glaring inconsistencies in your argument for doing this and in your insistence of asking for advice on how to do this from a community of parents who would rather ask why it is necessary at all.


Edited by hakeber - 5/21/11 at 8:01am
post #16 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
 I am merely pointing out the glaring inconsistencies in your argument for doing this and in your insistence of asking for advice on how to do this from a community of parents who would rather ask why it is necessary at all.


I did not realize that you spoke for all the parents on this board.  Or that there is a mandatory requirement that all posters follow AP as defined by some of the parents of this board.

 

I actually thought that a lot of the parents on here get judged for their parenting choices so they would be more supportive of the choices that other parents make...  ?

 

post #17 of 177

I just wanted to check about the doorknob cover usage here, and so I did a quick search and the first 20 results for Doorknob Cover (I didn't look past that) were all inquiries about using them on outside doors, office doors, living area doors, basement doors or bathroom doors.  Not one, apart from this thread, was asking about how to lock their kids in their rooms. 

post #18 of 177

I see a lot of defensiveness starting up here, and I just wanted to say that I don't think hakeber was trying to speak for everyone on this board or be the "AP police" or whatever.  But it seems pretty obvious to me that a thread on locking your child in their room would not be very well received on an AP board.  

 

Apart from that, I tend to agree with everything hakeber said.  

post #19 of 177

Wow, the thought police are out in full force today

post #20 of 177

No need to be snarky, I was just giving my opinion.  As I can see you aren't receptive, I won't engage you further.  Good luck!

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