Learned to Open Doors - Bedtime? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 02-07-2013, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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My DS is 21.5 mos and last night, right at bedtime (impeccable timing, as ever), he learned how to open the doorknob on his bedroom door.  So I'm in a state of "what do I do now?"


Background: After a wakeful infanthood, he transitioned from co-sleeping to the crib in his own room very peacefully around 11mos, and he dropped his last 1-2 wakeups and started sleeping through the night.  Aside from the 18-month sleep regression (6 weeks), he's been a great sleeper ever since.  He climbed out of his crib at 19mos, and we transitioned him to a twin mattress on the floor, which he loves and does well with.  He has put himself to sleep - first with a bottle of milk, then with a bottle of water, now with just himself and his blanket - since he was about 12 mos.  We have a consistent bedtime routine, and at the end, Daddy takes him to bed, sings two songs, and then daddy says "night night" and leaves the room.  DS plays for 5 min-20 mins, then rolls over and goes to sleep. 


Until last night.


Last night at bedtime, we attempted the "every time he gets up, just put him back in bed" technique.  We made it for two hours before mommy and daddy were simply exhausted (DD has a cold and mommy has been nursing all night long for the past 4 days).  Daddy finally decided to bring a pillow and blanket in and sleep with DS, who then just wanted to play with Daddy.  DH tried to sneak out when DS was sleeping, but DS woke up screaming.  Needless to say, DH did not have a good night.


I suppose we could gate the door or disable the knob with a sock or a childproofing device, but my instinct is to not do that.  We got advice after he climbed out of the crib to put him in sleep sacks so he couldn't move his legs or to buy a crib tent so he would be trapped inside, and that sort of approach just seemed so backward to me.  Like a regression into babyhood instead of a step forward toward "big kid." 


But I'm not sure we have the stamina to do the "every time he gets up, just put him back in bed" thing 1000 times for half the night.


Thoughts or advice?

Wife to DH hat.gif (8/1/09), Mom to DS jog.gif (4/28/11) and DD energy.gif(6/16/12).


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#2 of 4 Old 02-07-2013, 02:42 PM
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Personally I'd childproof the doorknob. I'm sure you respond to him if he needs anything and if bedtime was great (I'm sooo jealous btw) I would not mess with it. He can have lots of practice opening and closing every other door in the house to refine his skill and work on his independence. Maybe only put on the doorknob thingy at bedtime (make it part of the routine) and have it off all day so he has his freedom to come and go. I'm "lucky" to live in an old house with old doorknobs and the knob inside DD's too came off in my hand one day. It's still functioning but DD can't get a good grip and open the door. I sleep with the baby monitor and go to her every time she needs something so she's never trapped in her room. But her door is right next to the ungated stairs and I'm very happy not to worry about her falling down in the dark. Just my two cents.
Seriously though, I'm so jealous lol. My DD is 22 months and needs 30-60 minutes of nursing to fall asleep and is up1-3 times a night. We are expecting #2 in July and I'm a little anxious about how she will adjust and what nights will be like.
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#3 of 4 Old 02-07-2013, 03:40 PM
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Well, my one tiny piece of advice is to focus on keeping him in his room, not in his bed. It gives him a but more freedom, so ideally he won't resist so much. My DD is easily bought by attention, so I can just say that I will only come in when she's in bed and ready to sleep. That keeps her in her bed most nights!
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#4 of 4 Old 02-07-2013, 04:13 PM
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When our son was at that stage (and still) we put an alarm on his door. That way if he gets up in the middle of the night he sets off the alarm and that wakes us up. So if he decides to go downstairs or flood the bathroom or climb the hall bookcases in the middle of the night we'll be up.

But that only helps with the safety issues, not keeping him in his bed at bedtime. For that, we stay in his room til he's asleep. It goes like this:
Story time
he says "I want water" or uses other stalling tactics
I say "back to bed, lights stay off"
We go back and forth some more
Then finally he goes to sleep

Sometimes it's easier than that (actually most times its easier nowadays) but you get the idea. It's frustrating. He gets out of bed, i put him back in bed, he gets out again, etc. Just stick to your guns.
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