Locking kids in their room until they go to sleep?

Jennifer - posted on 08/30/2011 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Ok, so I have read alot of posts about the subject of locking your kids in their room. I will admit that I have done it because my twin 4 yr olds will NOT stay in their room. They are too concerned with what else is going on. As soon as I know they are asleep, I unlock it and crack the door open. My concern has always been will it instill fears in them from being locked in? But if they wake up in the middle of the night and/or morning they are free to come out of their already opened door. Thoughts?

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User - posted on 02/10/2012

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Yes, Ive locked my daughter in her room until she falls asleep! She throws massive tantrums when the word "sleep"and "nap" are mentioned. Of course there is no reasoning with a 2 yr old. She falls asleep eventually (usually for 2 - 3 hours) during the day. I dont see a problem with this. As long as there is nothing in her room thatll jeopardise her safety, (including shutting the window completely). I dont think she'll be traumatised by this. I dont care about what the ëxperts"say about this issue. She needs her sleep, as it helps with her brain development.

User - posted on 02/11/2012

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To each, their own. There are parents in this world who apply their certain methods of parenting. However, in the end until your child grows up you wont know if your parenting has been adequate enough to raise a decent, productive, human being. I have met people who think that theyre "decent" parents. Decent, to whose standard? There are parents who treat their animal pets better than their children. So, if locking my child (for the purpose of getting her to sleep, to benefit her developement) is the worse thing i will ever do to her....we will be the two most luckiest mother-daughter in the world.

Joyi - posted on 12/21/2011

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I think Shelby is being a bit harsh, as I think that some kids are practically freaking Houdini. I am the oldest of six girls and have gone through intimate time with my nephews and (of course) with my own children at toddler age. Of the 10 kids that I have been a big part of supervising, raising, etc... two of them were especially hard to keep in the house at night. We are talking multiple locks, etc, and still we were scared to death to fall asleep, in case the baby woke up and started stacking things or whatever and undoing the locks. Just when you think you have gotten every possible danger out of their way and you have keyed locks on every door, etc... these are the kids that find the one thing you missed. So, while locking your child in at night is NOT ideal, I cannot say that it is wrong in all situations.

However, if you are locking the child in their room in order to force them to go to bed, then I think you need to try a different approach. Basically you need to put your child in bed, and then sit in the room, with your back to the child - near the door. When your child gets up, you put them back in bed - the first time you gently remind them that it is bed time, but after that you do not say one word... you simply pick them up and put them back in bed. The first few nights - plan on a good two hours of going through this routine, but within a week you will only spend about 10 or 15 minutes doing it.

The first two to three nights are HARD, and you will not think it is going to work, but if you give it one week - I am positive that you will see the results you are looking for, and you will not feel like you have to lock your child in their room until they fall asleep. The idea is to avoid engaging the child except to physically put them back in bed... not talking to them is important. I used to read a book or do my crosswords.

Another big thing, though, is to have a very set bedtime routine... I set reminders on my phone - for after dinner on so that bath time, story time, etc. all happen in the same way every night so that the entire evening is prepping them for bed. I also use lavender bath soap and lotion - especially good if your kids are still hyper after dinner - to help calm them down. If my kids are especially bouncing off the walls, then I will massage them after their bath or tell them a story vs. reading one... and massage them during the story - they LOVE getting a massage and it does seem to really calm them down a lot.

I think you should not lock a child in their room UNLESS their is an actual safety issue that cannot otherwise be handled by putting on hall locks, or keyed entry locks, etc... children at that age are just too prone to night terrors or just plain getting frightened and they need to be able to get to you at all times. Not to mention, what if - heaven forbid - there was a fire or something?

Renee - posted on 10/27/2011

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We did something similar when our oldest was younger. He would not stay in his room. He would make his way out of his room and upstairs to us. I would lock his door, and then grab a book, or my laptop and sit outside his room so that he wasn't alone, and so that I was close, and made sure he knew I was close if there were any problems. As soon as he was asleep, we'd unlock his door and then leave it open about halfway so that we could hear him if he woke. He never developed any fears about being locked in, and now he won't sleep unless his door is completely closed. Which I like, because our house burned down a year ago, and I know that he's safer with the door closed in case of another one. We don't have this problem with our youngest (born March 2, 2009). He won't even get out of bed in the morning unless I come into his room and ask if he wants to get up.

Rachel - posted on 09/07/2011

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At 21 months we switched my now 30 month old from a crib to a toddler bed, he began climbing out of the crib. As soon as he was used to the toddler bed we put a child door knob guard on the inside of his door so he could not open the door and come out. We still had the monitor in there so we could always tell if he was okay. When I went to bed and was sure he was asleep I would open the door so if something was to wake him he could always come out. It worked great. After a couple of weeks he stopped trying to come out and just stayed in his bed. Every once in a while he will throw a fit but we just go in and remind him it is bedtime and we are done playing. I don't see any harm in it. I don't think it traumatizes the child, he or she just spent more than a year trapped in a crib with no escape, I don't see this being any worse.

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[deleted account]

If u think locking a child who doesn't understand wat being locked in a room even means to help her "development" then u need help! There's no way lockin a kid in a room helps there development! How bout someone locks u in a room til u develop properly and learn that locking a kid in a room is CHILD ABUSE!!!

Heather - posted on 02/10/2012

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When we had moved into low income housing we were told by our landlord that we could not put locks on any of the doors inside the house. Hud and child services would consider it child abuse. Even if it was for their own safety. He said he had a family that had done that to keep their child safe because he would get up in the middle of the night and go outside. But they got in trouble for it. In my oppinion their should be no reason why you should lock your child in their room. Desipline is whats needed. A good bedtime routine also helps. I had trouble with my son and he quickly learned to stay in bed. I leave the door open he is not afraid then and I put a night light on and some soothing music. He likes to have all those things. When he kept getting out of bed I told him he would lose his privelages of having music, a light and the door open. When he got up I turned of the light, music and shut the door for a couple of min. I let him cry and then went back in and asked if he was ready for bed and he said yes. He was two at the time and I have not had a problem since. Their is reasoning with a two year old if done properly. I do think it is wrong to lock your child in, they are not animals. Their are other ways to get your child to go to sleep.

[deleted account]

U can't say that u doubt it will instill fear cuz no body knows what could instill fear in a child! But locking a child in a room for whatever excuse u can think of Is NOT right!! And a simple solution for stairs is spend 20 bucks and buy a baby gate!! No reason at all to ever lock a child in a room! The only door u should be closing to lock a child in a room is the front door of ur house!!! Not their BEDROOM!

Kimmy - posted on 02/03/2012

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I doubt it will instill fear in them. On the inside of my son's door on the knob I put one of those door knob locks so he can't open it but I did it for safety reasons. My son and my oldest dog don't really get along so it helps keep them separated during the night when no one is suoervising and my brother has friends over often and they often forget to shut the door to the basement. So i figured it is a good thing to make sure he cannot get out of his room in the middle of the night and accidentally fall down the basement stairs. I always have the monitor on and when he fusses I go in and check on him and make sure that he doesn't have to go potty or that he isn't thirsty or anything like that.

Tara - posted on 01/19/2012

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shelby I agree. I do the same thing with my daughter. I wouldn't even think of giving her medicine to sleep.. that's just wrong. I had problems with trying to get her to sleep until I realized the bedtime routine for her was not fun and was not beneficial for her. If you tire them out and make bedtime fun with books and even lullaby CDs which I do, it makes the time around bedtime more kid friendly to them.



And like Shelby says, they're your children .. there's no need to lock them in their rooms. You have them, then make sure you're there for them.



My suggestion is just making bedtime fun. tire them out. any of that. don't lock them up like they're prisoners.

[deleted account]

Its just not right no matter what to lock a kid in a room!! First of all it is different then putting a child in a crib because when u put a kid in a crib u don't lock the door when u leave...or u shouldn't be!!!! And also I don't agree with giving kids "medicine" to go to sleep, unless they are diagnosed from a doctor that they have autism or such, not just because the child is "hyper" Just saying...

My son has been out of a crib since he was 18 months(will b 3 in two mths) and every night he gets out of his bed, but I still won't lock him in his room! I read him a book, lay with him, keep him up a extra twenty mins and play him out!

Tara - posted on 01/18/2012

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Well, when you lock them in the room are they crying to be let out?

I feel it's important to comfort your children and let them know you are there for them. Don't make them feel they are alone.



I suggest switching around their bedtime routines? An hour for bed start getting ready, bedtime stories, tv goes off, showers, etc whatever your routine is. Let the twins calm down before bed.



Do they have nightlights & a good bedroom atmosphere?

Keep all of those things in mind. If you're feeling doubts about what you're doing just think everything through.



Hope this helps :)

Cheryl - posted on 01/11/2012

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i use a dog gate on my sons door this is because i have a climber 20 month old who will climb on window ledges into the bath ect ect i have even had to put a baby gate on there bedroom window.



i also have a son that insists on emptying draws warrdrobes ect, to the point where i have had to take both there chest of draws and a wardrobe into my room to stop him driving me insane.



if they could get out of the bedroom at night or early hours of the moning my youngest would get hurt and the oldest would cause me so much washing its unreal

Terra - posted on 12/22/2011

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Feel free to go into any fire department and ask your local fireman their thoughts on locking your children in their rooms at night. I guarantee every single one of them will tell you not to do it. It is incredible dangerous. If your child is unable to escape the house in the case of an emergency because you locked them in how would you feel? The amount of time it takes a fireman to break through a locked bedroom door to get your child out could be the difference between you child making it or not. Why take the risk? Night time parenting is very, very hard as everyone involved are so very tired. This time only last a very short period in the grand scheme of things and this time will pass before you know it.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/26/2011

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Just sounds like a bad idea. What if they develop night terrors? When my 5 year old was 2-3, I sat next to his toddler bed on the floor for sometimes an hour or more until he fell asleep. Not ideal by any means, but much less worrisome than having him locked in his room. Once alseep, we used a baby monitor.

Ruth Anne - posted on 10/03/2011

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We turned the knobs around on her bedroom door once she learned to open the door on her own, now the lock is on the outside. Most of the time we don't need to use it, but we're in a spurt now where we do. Our daughter has always been pretty good with her bedtime routine and knows that it's time for sleep when the big light goes out, but some nights has a harder time than others settling herself. She knocks on the door if she actually needs something - we hear her trying the handle sometimes, but unless she actually needs something she doesn't knock. We always unlock before we go to bed so she's able to come out if she needs us.

Kimberly - posted on 09/04/2011

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Some children like my daughter can take melatonin and it do nothing for them. My daughter is very hyper all day and hardly ever stop. My daughter got to where she was having to take 15 mg of melatonin which is way over the amount allowed for her age so i had to take her to a child phsycologist and they prescribed her another medicine that works really well. just saying.

Katherine - posted on 09/04/2011

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Okay so I've heard about melatonin a natural herb to get them to go to sleep. Not sure how you feel about that but it might work. A lot of doctors prescribe it for autistic children and so far I've heard nothing but good things about it.

Locking them in their room does bother me. It can be traumatic for them. Maybe they are not ready for bed?

I make sure I wear my kids out during the day and they are exhausted by 7pm. Just an idea.

Kimberly - posted on 09/04/2011

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You could always do what a friend of mine did. Her kids' rooms have the kinda thin doors. Her husband cut the doors in half and left the bottom on and then put latches on the outside of the doors so they cant get out but she can still look in there. And as for the the waking up thing i really dont know what to do about that.

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