I know in the area where I live any type of locking a small child into a room is considered a violation by DCFS. There have, sadly, been cases of kids locked into rooms and even cages, and as fires are not uncommon this time of year, the idea terrifies me. Not to mention any emotional damage it is possible to cause in the child.
I would always lie down with our toddlers when they moved into a "big girl bed" and we never had much problem with wandering. If, of course, they needed something, to use the bathroom, because they were scared and wanted Mama or Papa to hold them, if they wanted to get into bed with us, of course they were free to do so. I don't understand locking children into rooms, that's something some people do to...... dogs. Not to children.
One of mine was a sleep walker, but my Mama senses always caused me to wake up. Also, our house was baby proofed and our children were taught to go up and down the stairs before they could walk, AND we had dead bolts well out of the reach of small children on exterior doors, so there were little or no danger to my LO wandering downstairs and then falling asleep again on the couch. But, as I'm a light sleeper, I'd always wake up. Every sound wakes me since I had children.
A motion detector alarm is not expensive and can be utilized if a child is a "wanderer" and, for some reason you don't wake up. Put it in the hall right outside the child's room and if the child wanders in the night (and you, for some reason have a problem with that) the alarm will wake your butt right up. There is NO reason to lock children into rooms, ever.
I once had an issue with one of mine (not my wanderer,) she didn't want to stay in her big girl bed around the age of 3. She wasn't scared, she just wanted to hang out with the adults... long after she was exhausted. We did an exercise one night where I calmly and quietly simply put her back into her bed, I think at least 15 times, no comments, nothing, just the first time saying, "You're really tired. You really need to let yourself go to sleep." Then I just picked her up and moved her back into her bed again and again.....,. it was miserable evening, but she never got up unless she really needed anything ever again. I don't know if that will work with all kids, but this was, by FAR my most stubborn kid. The key is staying calm, loving and basically neutral. Talk very little, place the child back in bed, kiss and hug the child, and then leave the room. When she gets up.... 4 minutes later, do it again.. and again.... and again. I've counseled many parents on this technique and as long as the parents don't get emotional, it usually works.
The idea of locking a child into a room is anathema to the way many parents lovingly parent and many child protective services in many areas agree. I'm glad they do.
Edited by MaggieLC - 12/28/13 at 7:10am