Can we talk about something relatively controversial? I want to talk to you about the importance of having a lock of some kind on your child’s bedroom door. Recently I was reading a post in a Facebook mom group (yeah yeah I know) where a mother was asking for a way to help keep her 3 year old in his room. She said he keeps getting up and running around the house in the middle of the night. I suggested that she put a lock on the door so he no longer had that option. In classic mom group style, I was dog piled with comments saying “Are you actually suggesting that she lock her 3 year old in his room?” and “What kind of mother does this? How traumatizing!” First of all, if you know me, you know that we don’t “mom shame”. That’s not allowed on my page and in my life. You do you, and I’ll do me. This mom ended up turning comments off even more confused than before.
WHY DO YOU NEED THIS?
Especially in this scenario, it is so important to have a way to keep your child safely in the room throughout the night while you sleep. When you transition your baby or toddler to any bed that gives them free range of the room (toddler bed, montessori floor bed, etc.), you have to take the necessary precautions so that they are kept as safe as possible.
Why are these necessary? Well look at it this way. Would you leave your child unattended for hours normally? No! Because a child, especially one as young as an early toddler, does not have the capacity or impulse control to keep themselves safe alone. In the same way, we keep our babies in cribs through the night, even after they can walk, because it is the safest option for them. As parents we know that even if every drawer, door, and cabinet is baby proofed, those kids will still find a way to get into something they shouldn’t be in.
That 3 year old that I mentioned previously was probably having the best time of his life because he could roam freely about the entire house however he wanted. The problem is that now he’s not sleeping because he’s got all this freedom to play and do whatever he wants without mom being there to stop him. No sleep leads to crankiness, decreased appetite, increased stress levels, etc. He needs every opportunity to get the best sleep he can so that he can continue to function and grow.
BUT WHAT IF...
Hear me when I say that I’m not saying this to try to scare you or start a fear mongering trend on this. That is NOT my intention. What I do want, though, is to plainly and bluntly explain to you the truths of why this is the safest option for your child. A great question that was raised in the responses to my comments was, “What if there’s an emergency and my child needs to get out of the room to come to me?” This is an excellent and very valid question. Yes, there’s a chance that something could happen where your child gets hurt or needs you immediately. The chance of your child getting hurt outside of the confines of his safe, secure room is much higher though. This is something you must weigh the pros and cons of on your own. My advice would be to make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (check them every month!) and get a baby monitor. There are excellent monitors that are very inexpensive that will give you a bird’s eye view of the entire room throughout the night. Simply plug it in, turn the volume up, and set it by your bed. If something happens in the night, your child will cry out for you. Then you can run to them as soon as you hear it.
You might also be thinking, “What if they need me? Or need to go to the bathroom in the night?” My response would just be to ask what did you do when they were in the crib and called out for you? Did you go in and soothe them back to sleep? Then continue to do that. Did you sleep train through that? Then keep doing that. As far as needing to use the bathroom in the night, if your little one is potty trained at night, I would put a potty training toilet in the room and clean it out in the morning. Alternatively, I did have a client whose 4 year old’s room was attached to a bathroom. In this case, I’d leave that door open so that your little one can use the potty and nothing else. Chances are though that your 4 year old won’t be completely nighttime potty trained for a while, so it will be okay. Make sure any other doors leading out into the house are baby proofed.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?
There are a few options you can take to do this. You can get a door knob cover (typical knob style or handle style) , a door monkey, or simply put a baby gate on the outside of the door. Depending on the style door you have and your little one’s age, any of these options will work. (Links to these in the hyperlinks)
A door knob cover would be good until they figure out how to get around it. The door monkey is a tool that goes at the top of your child’s door and allows it to open only an inch or two. Think baby lock on a cabinets in your kitchen. It works the exact same way. The only negative is that your little one could smush their fingers. The last option is a baby gate outside the door. This would be great for your older children because it will allow them to open the door and see out of the room, but it will not allow them to have access to the entire house. The might eliminate the feeling of being trapped if that is a concern.
Overall we are all just trying to do our best as parents and raise our children to be healthy, happy, thriving members of society. I’m just here to try and help you do this the best way possible. What are your thoughts on baby proofing the door? Have you done this, or will you do it? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Have a toddler escaping the bed or room in the night? Contact me today so I can help you begin to get some peace ASAP!