Locking toddlers in their room at night - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 12-09-2013, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A cousin was complaining about her 2-year-old getting up over and over again after bedtime, and my mom chimed in with the suggestion that my cousin lock the kid's room at night after he's been put to bed. She did that with my siblings and myself and it was great, she said.

I was stunned! I guess it couldn't have hurt me too badly or I would have remembered her doing this.

What do you think? If I don't remember it doesn't seem like it could have been such a trauma, but on the other hand it's on the list of things I can not imagine ever ever doing.

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#2 of 26 Old 12-10-2013, 10:04 AM
 
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Following, I've been thinking about this too as we are considering switching our toddler to a regular bed soon, but we tried once before and he just kept getting up and coming out of his room crying.  I don't think I could ever do this but was reminded of how back in my babysitting days I knew several (otherwise AP-oriented!) parents that did this with their kids and even at the time I thought it was a little messed up...

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#3 of 26 Old 12-10-2013, 10:53 AM
 
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Hmmm we just switched DD (2yo) to a big girl bed last month and at most I considered putting up a baby gate across her doorway and only if she started to wander into the main area of the house (tiny ranch, nowhere she can really go) and only if by wandering down there she was getting into trouble.  And actually because our bedroom is directly across from hers I could gate it so she had access to our room but not the main living area.  I know when I was little, 4 or 5, I used to get up at 5 or 6am to "Mousercize" in my tights and bathing suit on a bath towel in the living room (LOL) and my parents were just happy I didn't wake them up!  I've been watching DD closely only because she can open doors, but can't get the dead bolts, so that might be an issue down the road.  But in general her routine is pretty set, it's the same as it was when she was in her crib - once she's awake for the morning, she hops into bed with us (or just me if DH is working) to nurse and to watch some mickey mouse clubhouse while we/I finish off sleeping, just now we don't have to go and get her!  Last night she woke up around 2am, and quietly climbed into bed, tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "mommy, booby time pees". :love  I love that she can come to us if she needs to.  I know there were kids I babysat for who's parents insisted I close them in...backfired when one started to climb out of her crib and come running down the hall and would just crash with me on the couch.  It never felt right though, closing her in.  I guess it could go either way in terms of being a non-specific or traumatic memory! 

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#4 of 26 Old 12-10-2013, 06:06 PM
 
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I could never lock my kids in :/ I shut the door only do they don't get woke up. Did your mom mean actually locking in?

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#5 of 26 Old 12-16-2013, 05:59 AM
 
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My parents did this to me as a small child. The one time I can see doing it is if the child is a wanderer. I used to have a child in my daycare who would get up and wander at night and the parents would sleep right through it. Another friend of mine had daughters that would go for the front door! In those cases I think locking the door (or at least putting a loud door alarm on a closed bedroom door) would be the safest solution for the children if they are sleeping in their own room. 


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#6 of 26 Old 12-16-2013, 01:53 PM
 
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We have an old house with old, sticky doors and old, hit or miss doorknobs. In fact about a year ago, the doorknob broke off in my hand in DD1's room. There's a stub I can turn but 32 month old dd can't work it. I guess it's the equivalent of locking kiddo in. I always have the monitor with me and as soon as she needs me, I'm in there. In the meantime I'm secure in the knowledge she's not falling down the dark stairwell. She's never confined and not responded to.
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#7 of 26 Old 12-16-2013, 10:14 PM
 
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We do, 3yo is a wanderer so Im not going to risk it.


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#8 of 26 Old 12-17-2013, 09:51 AM
 
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Yea, I don't know about locking the door because the child gets up over and over again. I'm envisioning this was done because the child didn't want to go to bed? That doesn't sit well with me. I can't see doing that with my DS. I always make sure he is sleeping before I leave the room but then again, that might not be an option for everyone.

But if the child's waking and wandering around the house that's a safety issue and a whole different ball game.
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#9 of 26 Old 12-18-2013, 05:20 PM
 
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We lock the twins*(2yo) at night. They are wanderers and have done terrible things at night. They never are not responded to when they call. There is no issue as far as I can see, its a lot safer.


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#10 of 26 Old 12-18-2013, 07:42 PM
 
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I never considered locking either of my children in their rooms at night. Then again, they weren't wanderers. They slept pretty well.

 

Even if you lock the door, you don't know what kind of trouble a tired, scared, bored toddler can get into in their own room!! I would keep a monitor on, just incase. I like the baby gate idea a lot better. 

 

When my son was about 2 he climbed out of his crib a couple of times, once landing on his head, so we put him in a toddler bed. He got up in the middle of the night once, which was rare. I heard him get up. Then it got quiet. My instinct kicked in...it was unusual for him to get up. I didn't hear the front door open, but I still knew something wasn't right. Sure enough, he wasn't in his bed. I panicked and started looking around (luckily we lived in a small apartment at the time, so it didn't take long to find him). He fell asleep behind the couch. There was about a 1-2 foot gap between the couch and the sliding glass door. He must have been sleep walking. 

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#11 of 26 Old 12-18-2013, 08:36 PM
 
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I'm just not comfortable with locking the kids in.  I never have been.  Even if they're wandering at night, I'm okay with it.  I can see situations where parents feel otherwise, but I will not lock my kids in.

 

NOw, a lock on my bedroom door, that's a different story.

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#12 of 26 Old 12-18-2013, 09:16 PM
 
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I think locking your kids in their room is seriously messed up, UNLESS the reason you are doing in is because they may sneak out in the middle of the night while you are sleeping and harm themselves. If you're doing it to enforce a "don't get out of your bed" rule or to enforce a time out and your kid is in there screaming and crying then I think that is pretty cruel. My husband's parents did that to him and he is still angry about it. I don't think it's very respectful of the child as a person.

But the folks who are doing it to keep their kids safe and who are still responding to them, I think that's totally fine.
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#13 of 26 Old 12-19-2013, 07:35 PM
 
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Isn't this a fire hazard?

I'd be much more comfortable locking everyone in together in one area.
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#14 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 07:23 AM
 
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Can be fire hazard, all depends  If the kid(s) knock something over and block the door and a fire does break out, causes a problem for the firefighters who go in to do primary search.  Also depending on age of home and state, not all homes have bedroom smoke detectors and not all have hard wired detectors that all go off if one is triggered.  CT law now mandates that ANY home improvement project being done will warrant the updating of all smoke/co detectors before the project will be signed off by a building official as well as homes not being allowed to be occupied during any major interior demolition.  I work for a building dept and DH is a firefighter, so we obviously think of these things!

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#15 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 07:36 AM
 
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I've never been comfortable with either. I've known multiple families that did lock their kids in at night, it just doesn't sit well with me personally, mostly from a fire hazard standpoint. I do have a child that wanders, he has autism, night time wandering is something we've struggled with for years. We've tried all sorts of things but what I've settled on is just sleeping with him. Even that took a lot of trial and error because he is like a mouse at night and would get around locks, bells, etc... without waking me up. Now I have him and I in a full bed up against the wall so he has to crawl over me to get out. The bed is small enough that I instantly wake up when he moves to get up. Of course that solution isn't for everyone and he is very gradually learning how to wake up me nonverbally which is a huge part of his night wanderings, he actually wants/needs something but he doesn't know to communicate that when I am asleep because he doesn't understand the concept of sleep or waking someone. 


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#16 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 11:56 AM
 
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I don't because my children can get into stuff on their own. If I need my kid in his room, we have a baby gate. However, we've found we sleep best all of us if we do the family bed thing. but my kids are still really little yet. 


 
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#17 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 06:39 PM
 
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I never thought of the fire hazard thing. Very good point!

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#18 of 26 Old 12-27-2013, 09:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

 If I don't remember it doesn't seem like it could have been such a trauma

 

 

 

Not necessarily true.

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#19 of 26 Old 12-27-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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Locking in seems like a safety hazard, but we do latch our daughter's door in the early part of the night, in the (perhaps futile) hopes that if she gets out of bed and can't get it open she'll get back in bed. If it's really a problem she starts knocking on her side of the door and we can let her out. We open it later at night so she can come into our room when she wakes up in the morning. 

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#20 of 26 Old 12-27-2013, 11:56 AM
 
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I think it's cruel and ridiculous! As parents, the job description itself would say something about great sacrifice. Teaching a toddler in the middle of the night safety and TRUST ( that you'll always be there) may require parental sacrifice.
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#21 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 06:54 AM
 
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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.


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#22 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 11:56 AM
 
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We transitioned DS to a "regular bed" (twin mattress and box spring) with futon cushions on the floor next to it at about 15 or 16 months. As I recall, we just started with the mattress on the floor, but I was worried about molding. He, too, "got up" after bedtime A LOT, kind of like he was celebrating the fact that he wasn't trapped in a crib anymore! First I tried putting him back in bed every time and probably said something like "it's sleepy time and we stay in the bed." He definitely fussed about it, but eventually he got the picture. But didn't really like doing it that way. I felt like a hard-ass and it was a lot of work, so I decided to lie down next to him until he fell asleep. Now he is getting used to the idea of "playing" in bed with the night light on by himself until he falls asleep. I don't really think "training" a kid to stay in bed has to come from locking a kid in a room. I like to make sure he is comfortable and feels safe at bedtime, and likes the idea of falling asleep in his bed. I don't mind setting some limits (like not sleeping with really hard objects that get lost). It's crazy, though, how limit-setting turns into lock your kid in the room all night. I think no matter what, though, as soon as you get to the "regular bed" part, your kid will get up out of bed, sometimes exuberantly. So you have to find your own way of dealing with that. Listen to your instincts, obviously! And yeah, you turned out fine, right? But what matters more is that you parent the way that feels right to you! You get to decide that based on how you feel, not just what the facts say or don't say.
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#23 of 26 Old 12-30-2013, 09:21 AM
 
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Seems to me that if a young toddler is still waking multiple times at night and wandering the house, (scary thought!) they should still be sleeping in mom and dads room.  They can still have their own bed, but at least they'd be safe.  I am a firm believer in co-sleeping, and even though my toddler still wakes at night, I'm glad she is safe and secure next to me <3  IMO, parenting DOES NOT stop just because its night time.

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#24 of 26 Old 12-30-2013, 08:14 PM
 
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We don't lock the door, but my DD hasn't figured out how to open it yet. she will soon be moving to a room at the top of a Steep staircase, and she will have a child-proof thing on her door knob. We always answer when she calls/cries, etc,but the risk is too big. But, yes,locking is a fire hazard.
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#25 of 26 Old 12-30-2013, 09:08 PM
 
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I'm not really bothered by stairs.  I dunno, DD started climbing up them around 9mos and down by 11mos.  We're in a ranch with a walkout basement, so there's one long set of stairs off the deck along with a short set, and inside the only stairs go to the basement.  We do have a gate, top only, but I've never been obsessive about closing it.  In fact DD will often go over and tell me she's closing it for me when I forget!  She's never played on them and knows to use caution so even if we had a 2 story home, I think a gate in the stairs would be enough for me. We also do a lot of Montessori styled stuff so she does know how to open doors (she finally got it down just before her 2nd bday) and DH just showed her a trick to use one of her hangers to turn the light switch on/off in her room...but closing doors wouldn't work for us.  When she does wake up at night the only place she goes is up and into our bed with one thing on the mind - boob :rotflmao

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#26 of 26 Old 01-04-2014, 11:57 AM
 
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Locking doesn't sit well with me, although I totally am sympathetic to safety concerns with wandering the house. My DD is not a wanderer, but her doorway is right at the top of the stairs, and I am very nervous about what might happen if she did get up in the night and it was dark and she was confused, etc. So we do put up a baby gate in her doorway, but keep the door open so she doesn't feel too cut off from us (her room is directly across from ours). Sometimes we shut the door if it being open seems to be winding her up, which happens occasionally.


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