Locking my child in his bedroom at night?!?! Are you out of your mind????

Jennifer - posted on 10/11/2010 ( 139 moms have responded )

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So, my son is 3 years old now and he has taken it upon himself now to climb over his baby gate in the mornings when I am still sleeping. He's very stealthy about it too, and end up in the living room with the tv on (though he has no clue how to change the channel) or he comes into my room and tells me good night and gives me kisses. I know the last part is cute, however waking up yesterday am to figure out that he was once again in the living room with the tv on and I walked into the living room and he had gotten the markers off the top of the fridge and was proceeding to draw on the wall!! Oh my lord!! I have installed the eye hook and latch on both the outer screen doors since he also likes to just open the door and venture outside and that has stopped that, however I need to figure out a way to keep him in his room in the mornings.

My mother told me to put another eye hook and latch on his door and lock him in his room at night once I go to bed. That way he can't get out unless I unhook the latch. WHAT?!?! Am I the only one that finds this insane? What would happen if there is a fire or other problem and I can't be woken up and he can't get out?? He's trapped in his room. I looked at my Mother like she had lost her mind. I seriously can't fathom locking my son into his room at night. I just can't figure out how to keep him in his room in the mornings. He used to stay in his room playing until I woke up or he would call me to get up for him.

Not anymore.... now he just climbs his gate and goes on his merry way. I have most of the dangerous stuff locked away and even put locks on the pantry now because he will dig through there for chips and cookies in the morning. I also have locks on the fridge and have added one to the freezer now as well because he likes to get out the popsicles... lol. Oh my... and the markers that were on top of the fridge? Yeah, he used the chair pushed to the fridge, climbed onto the counter and then was able to get the markers of the fridge.

What do all you mom's do to keep your kids in their rooms in the morning if they get up before you do? Or do you set your alarm so that you can wake up before they do? My son has a varied schedule of waking up... This morning it was a little after 6 am (but that was because he pooped which is a potty training issue..) ::::: Sigh ::::: Any Moms here have some advice?

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Bj - posted on 08/21/2011

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get a bed alarm or place chimes on the bedroom door. Perhaps, he is young enough to put him in the bed with you. I have three beautiful dogs who will bark when my son makes an attempt to leave the home. Also, I have made him sleep in my room and placed chimes on my bedroom door. God bless you

Talitha - posted on 08/14/2011

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Is it possible to move the gate up in the doorway so it is not flush with the ground? That way you can have it a little higher so he can't get over it, but not high enough so he can get under it

Candace - posted on 08/13/2011

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So everyone talks about getting sensors for the door, how about something that is no way as expensive. Jingle bells! they are cheap and effective. Just hang them on the doorknob outside his bedroom door. If he opens the door or tries to turn the doorknob you will her it. That way you can get up or tell him to come and watch tv in your room. Try this inexpensive solution before you but a sensor. $20 doesn't sound like much but it is compared to $1.

Brandy - posted on 08/13/2011

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my daughter is not afraid of a door. she actually prefers them shut, i think that we all need to keep in mind that all kids are different and react differently to things, thats why there are so many different parenting techniques. its unfair to say that its cruel or insane to lock a childs door, maybe for your child but i would never lock my child in her room as a punishment. when i lock her door at night it is to protect her, she isnt scared, she doesnt cry and bang on the door hysterically and because its a hook latch if she really wants out she can pull on it a couple times and it unlatches but its loud enough with a baby moniter that i can hear it, she is not in danger and anyone on here who repeatedly suggests otherwise is insulting me as a parent, i am a good mom and i love my child

Mary Renee - posted on 08/09/2011

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I agree with your mother. I think your logic about "What if there is a fire" is a little off. I mean, think about it. When you have a baby you put your baby in a crib or a bassinet to sleep. It's not considered inhumane even though essentially you're doing the same thing. What is the difference between closing a door and closing a baby gate? Before he was able to climb the baby gate, weren't you "locking him" in his room with that? You aren't locking him in like Rapunzel, he's a toddler and you are closing a door for his safety, just like using a safety gate.

One idea is this. My parents, when I was 2-4 (before I started sharing a room with my baby sister) cut the door in the middle about three and a half feet up. They had a small lock (like the kind on a restroom door) that could "lock" the two pieces of the door together, and then another lock on the bottom piece, to lock it closed.

When they started having trouble with me going to bed once I could climb in and out of bed, they closed the bottom half of the door, and left the top half open. That way they could come by and check on me to see if I was in bed. And it never felt like I was "locked in" because the top half was open, I could see out and I knew my parents could hear me and I could hear them in case of emergency.

But I don't think what your mom is suggesting is as cruel as you're thinking. At this age I would think of it as the same as "locking" a baby in a crib, or "locking" a baby out of a stairwell. You're just closing a door for safety. How could they get out of a crib if there was an emergency? They couldn't. That doesn't make a crib a cruel invention. That's kind of twisted logic.

Still, that said, there is a limit to locked doors, in my opinion. For example, closing a bedroom door to prevent a two-four/five year old from getting out and into something dangerous unsupervised is one thing. Locking a ten-year-old in their bedroom is another thing. I think there is an age limit to this, and eventually you have to teach them "play in your room, the refrigerator is off limits" and trust them to know that whether you are present or not. A closed door is just a safety measure until you can trust them not to hurt themselves.

Another idea is maybe to keep a few soft safety toys on a bottom shelf, so if your little one wakes up before you he can entertain himself in his room safely until you wake up.

Kelly - posted on 08/08/2011

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i think its crazy 2 lock a child into their room, it would prob scar a child for life, figure something else out seriously....

Leah - posted on 08/08/2011

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Hello, I have a 4 year old son and a 3 year old daughter, their bedrooms are at the other end of our small home. they have been getting up at all hours of the night for about 2 mos now. We started with the you come and wake us up, but at 3 am this just doesn't work. I refuse to plug my children into the tv. We tried the reverse door handles but they were cheap ones and my kids figured out how to stick somethin in and unlock them, we then tried the eye hook locks and when my mother found out she had a fit. I'm the type of mom who believes in teaching, not restricting, but we tried everything, rewards for not comming out and making a mess, didn't work, took away toys each time they got up, didn't work. They would get up and get into food and smear it all over the house, get into markers, toothpaste, lotion on my desk, anything. We put a lock on our refrig and my son dug in the drawer and found a screwdriver and pried it off. They got into my husban ds birthday cake and smeared it all over my sons bed and carpet. I usually have very well behaved children and get compliments on how good they are all the time. They don't talk back, they are polite, and, this behavior is really out of character for them. The truth is at this age they are not thinking, is this ok, they are just thinking, hey this looks like fun. We just went to Menards a week ago and bought the sensor alarms that have been mentioned in earlier posts. So far they have really done the trick. They make a loud alarm when the door opens so you can react right away. When the kids hear the alarm they just shut the door again. Now they don't even try to get out when their door is shut. I wouldn't stack gates, we did that and if you have a climber they could get hurt, when/if the upper gate comes loose from the weight. I see nothing wrong with locking the door, like others say, how is it any different from double gates which would actually take longer to take down in case of fire. But we felt like bad parents locking them in their rooms. Plus they would shake the doors or bang on the doors. These alarms have been heaven sent. Now at 3 am I hear an alarm for a few seconds and then nothing until around 7 or sometimes 8. They just go back to sleep. HALELUJAH! I hope this keeps working. Good luck to all you parents out there!

Tina - posted on 08/04/2011

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I agree with you locking a child in there room is insane and dangerous .... I work long hours and by the time i get home cook clean up bath the children and get them to sleep i am ready for bed myself and on the rare occasion that i could sleep in my four year old would leave the safety of her room and head to the down stairs to get into what ever her heart desired .. So i came up with a solution i have told her when she wakes up to come to mommy's room i have a tv and it is always set to her favorite shows i have put a lil rocker in my room and she comes in sits quietly and turns on the tv she is safe and i am able to catch a short sleep in good luck

Fran - posted on 07/30/2011

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I think you could set your alarm for around 4 and then go out to the couch and finish sleeping there till he gets up. That is what I would do.

Corinne - posted on 07/27/2011

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You could just use a baby monitor to hear when he gets up. They have moniters that are inexpensive that sense the slightest sounds and will light up. (hence your stealthy 3 yr old ) Locking him in his room at night will hinder his potty training routine and won't help him understand .

Aicha - posted on 07/27/2011

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Bells put bells on his door so when he opens it it makes noise and you will wake up that's what I had to do

Dottie - posted on 07/26/2011

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You can always put the door chimes, and latch hooks on the main doors. My problem was never in the morning, it was night time, and getting him to stay in bed. I tried everything, I would sit there as we were both crying holding the door shut, I felt like the worst mom in the world. That lasted for awile, and I had hooks on all of the main doors just in case. I work nights, 6am til 3am, I don't get home until 4am. So I have my kids on a later schedule than most. Therefore, I can still get up before them. Best of luck to you, the alarm clock and door chime is the best! We now have a 6 month old and she is way quicker with everything than our son. So, these ideas will help me here soon.

Dottie - posted on 07/26/2011

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You can always put the door chimes, and latch hooks on the main doors. My problem was never in the morning, it was night time, and getting him to stay in bed. I tried everything, I would sit there as we were both crying holding the door shut, I felt like the worst mom in the world. That lasted for awile, and I had hooks on all of the main doors just in case. I work nights, 6am til 3am, I don't get home until 4am. So I have my kids on a later schedule than most. Therefore, I can still get up before them. Best of luck to you, the alarm clock and door chime is the best! We now have a 6 month old and she is way quicker with everything than our son. So, these ideas will help me here soon.

Brianna - posted on 07/22/2011

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how is locking the door any different than locking him in with a baby gate (before he new how to get out that is). also he is 3 years old therefore he is smart enough to no what hes doing is soo wrong and i think u need to be very stricked with him and punish him if he leaves his room in the morning.

Stacey - posted on 07/21/2011

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Its not bad or against the law to low your chikd in their bedroom, if fact some docors recomed it to parent of children who won't sleep in their beds by themselfs or for those whose young children get up in the middle of the night..if it were harmfull in anyway doctors wouldn't recomend it...I myself haven't had to use this method but don't nock it till uve tried it

Kelly - posted on 07/20/2011

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I am in total agreement with all the moms that said Dutch Door or nursery door. That s the best of both worlds, you can lock them in, they can't climb it and yet you can still see them and they can see that they are not completely cut off. I am against locking a regular door, but this alternative seems like a genius solution.

Celia - posted on 07/19/2011

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and as far as gates vs door i think about what the child thinks. if its a door they cant get out of it may freak them out, but if they can see through the gate they may not freak out as much. and if you lock the door they have to stay in their room, but if you put up gates you have a lil more of an option and can allow them to some areas such as a bathroom or your room and deny them access to other areas

Celia - posted on 07/19/2011

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oh no, i would def not lock him in his room. i think that could cause him to panic and it would freak me out. try putting another baby gate on top? my 3 year old use to come in our room and wake me up, i would get her some dry cereal or poptarts, turn on cartoons and go back to bed for an hour or so. now she only does that half the time. if i dont put the gate up to keep her out of the living room she will turn on the tv and play with daddy's toy (ipod touch) or she will turn her own tv on and watch cartoons. but if the gate is up she wont climb it, but i think it helps that i only block her from the living room. she still has access to bathroom and my room with it up.

Jane - posted on 07/18/2011

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The alternative, as you mention, is to be up and awake before your little one is. If you can do that then no locks are needed. However, you may be running up one heck of a sleep debt.

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I disagree with this, I think theres nothing wrong with it,
I've tried gates she kicks them down, usually when she gets out of her room she heads upstairs which is pretty unsettling for me, seeing as she knows how to unlock the front and back door. I'd rather lock her in then take a chance at losing her.

Heather - posted on 07/14/2011

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they do have the tall (I think 38 inch ) gates the the up and down bars nothing across to step on to climb over .

Jane - posted on 07/13/2011

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If you have a child like mine, who has periodically suffered from psychosis, you do indeed lock him in at night, fire risk or not. We reversed the lock on his door because he has threatened to kill me while I sleep, has threatened me with knives, and has set fire to the house, once while I was asleep. I woke up because of the orange flickering light and was able to put out the fire after breaking down his door because he locked it from the inside.

However, when he and his sister were little I simply childproofed any areas they could reach and put a lock way up high on the front door. The back door I left unlatched because we had locked gates and a six-foot cedar fence so they wouldn't get far. In addition I used baby monitors in several places in the house and trained myself to wake whenever they reported any noise.

It meant that for a number of years I went without sleep (and have permanently changed my sleeping habits) but we had no escapes.

Meagan - posted on 07/11/2011

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Hi! Our son gets up before us too and sometimes he wanders at night before he's sleepy enough to lay down and go to bed. So we turned his bedroom door into a nursery door. With the bottom part closed securely so he can't get out, we can peek in on him with no problem. It also gives him the sense that he's not completely isolated and alone. We plan on keeping the toddler door for as long as possible. Hope this helps! :)

Brandy - posted on 05/27/2011

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im confused by the moms who disagree with locking the door but suggest two stacked gates. especially regarding fire safety. how is removing two gates any easier than unlocking a door? and why would you give them the option to climb two gates rather than closing a door that they cannot climb? how does this make any sense at all?

Bevely - posted on 05/26/2011

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When my son was not quite 2yrs old he was put to bed one night, about an hour later I checked on him and he was sleeping. Maybe 30 minutes later I checked on him again and he was gone. We started looking for him, called the neighbors, they came to help, called 911 to report him missing and the operator tells me that my son is there. Apparently he woke up and somehow got out of the front door and in the yard. A lady found him walking down the road and picked him up, not knowing where he lived she brought him to the sherrifs office in town. Thankfully, I got him back safely. Of course OCS had to come and interview me, the social worker didn't press any chargers or hold anyone at fault, but she did suggest I get an alarm system, and she told him that I should reverse the door knobs on my son's room so he could be locked in at night if he continued to escape.

I understand some of the fears people have about, "what if there is a fire?" that was my primary concern. But honestly as long as you have smoke detectors in every room, don't give your kids lighters, and don't leave them alone in the house the risks are minimal, compared to what could happen if they get outside. At least in the event there is a fire you know where your child is and can get to them, instead of risking your life searching all over the house trying to find them. I don't think that anyone would recommend locking a child in a room unless there was simply no other alternative.

Mastoora - posted on 05/26/2011

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You could try stacking 2 safety gates on top of each other? I wouldn't lock my child in his/ her room either...it seems a bit cruel to me.

Heather - posted on 05/26/2011

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Not trying to sound rude here, but frankly, if ur child is awake, you should be as well. My daughter doesnt have a crib, and doesnt have a locked door at night. She wakes up, come to my room and wakes me up if i am not up. MOST if the time i am awake though. There is no reason that you should still be asleep if ur child is awake. I have a baby monitor in her room so i can hear if she is asleep or not, and if she gets out of bed, opening and shutting her door wakes me up over the monitor. so, my advice: baby monitor, and then also set an alarm in YOUR room for about 1/2 hour before u think he will be up, then just get up and do something (house work, whatever) until he wakes up. It wont hurt u.

Annabelle - posted on 05/26/2011

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Do you maybe still have a baby monitor? I would put it in the living room, and your bedroom before bed time. Then when you hear the TV go on you'll know he 's up!

Carly - posted on 05/25/2011

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I'd either put a 2nd gate on top of the first gate or put a childproof handle cover on his door knob on the inside. I wouldn't call that locking him in but I'd put his baby monitor back in so you can hear what he's up to. You don't want to end up on the news "3 year old found wandering alone on busy highway" or something. I'm so glad my son hasn't starting climbing out of his crib. He tried, fell, and hasn't tried since. But I know I'm going to be in your boat soon enough.

Amanda - posted on 05/25/2011

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I can't be to much helpful cause my son just turned 2 in April & Is still in a Crib but I can tell you what my Sister did with My Nephew...My Nephew was able to unlock the baby Gates at 2 she ended up stacking 2 baby gates on top of each other & That seemed to help for awhile anyways & Front doors she put a lock on it so he couldn't open it....I am all against locking a child up in there room at night

Lisamarie - posted on 05/25/2011

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Never lock ur child in their bedroom, like you mentioned, serious fire hazard! Although, I had the same problem with my 4 yr old, so we put locks on the kitchen, bathroom and livingroom/lounge doors, so she can wander freely and safely in the hallway and her bedroom and mine of she were to need me. Most of the time however I do get up with her! :-)

Jennifer - posted on 05/24/2011

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@ Amanda. Well, I could say that I have pretty well behaved children as well. They have their moments and all children do. I don't see how this has to do with whether or not her child listens or behaves as she made no mention about his behavior at any other time of day.
But, I really would be careful about saying things like that because once they go to school they start picking up all sorts of habits and behaviors that you'll have to deal with! And as they grow older children just love to test the limits.
I was just wondering if you realize that after saying that you would never lock a child in a room for anything (including safety) you then told us that you simply put your younger one in a bouncer, which basically confines him just like a crib, gate, or a door would, with one exception. One day he might be able to make it tip over. I've heard of it happening before. Bottom line is when it comes to confining a child to an area with a door there isn't a difference to you putting your infant in a bouncer to make sure he doesn't go anywhere.

Amanda - posted on 05/24/2011

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I would never lock a child up in a room for anything. As for me, right now i have a bouncer i put my son in and my 4 yr old will sit on the couch and watch cartoons if i want a few more minutes of sleep or i will fix her cereal and lay back down...i am blessed to have kids that are well behaved and listen (most of the time)

Melissa - posted on 05/24/2011

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What about teaching him that he needs to come and wake you up before doing anything. If he doesnt give a consiquence..like take away tv time for the day.

User - posted on 05/24/2011

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My son is 2 and we still have the baby monitor. We close his door at night because he like it to be completely dark. Im not against shutting his door, its no different than if he were still in a crib. Either way you would have to physically go into his room. The monitor allows me to hear everything going on, and it works great.

Jennifer - posted on 05/24/2011

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Like a small bunch of others already pointed out there is no difference between a crib, playpen, baby gate, a taller baby gate, or a double stacked baby gate, or a closed door before the toddler is able to open it, than a locked one. As all of them have already pointed out, the purpose of all these things is to either restrict them from going into an area or to keep them from getting out of an area. It's the same thing. There is NO difference! If you're trying to keep your child in his room whether it be by crib or baby gate or a locked door, bottom line, you're trying to keep the baby in the room. But with any of those things a baby monitor in the room is definitely helpful.
I was pretty lucky when it came to my first born. There was a night when I didn't hear my older daughter cry in the night and the person I was with at the time did. I didn't believe him until I went towards the door and kept going until I reached it and only when I reached it did I hear her cry. At the time her cry wasn't that strong and she was right around the corner from the bedroom. It freaked me out that I didn't hear her so I went out and bought a baby monitor the very next day. From then on there was a baby monitor either in her crib or when she went into a toddler bed like she's still in now I put it on the side of the bed between the wall and bed and she never knew it was there. I could hear her get out of her bed and before she was able to open my door she would either try to turn the knob or knock at my door (which I slept with closed) and I would get up and open the door for her. The baby monitor eventually became useless as she started being able to get out of bed without any noise and suddenly my door would open (after she'd learned to open it lol). One morning when she was between 3-4 she tried to walk in before 7 a.m. (keep in mind my daughter was usually up around 7:30-8:30 and this was 6 something in the morning) and I looked at her, looked at the clock, and said, "Oh, hell no, go back to sleep. It's not time to be up yet." She backed out and closed the door and I woke up and opened the door and she was asleep in her bed again lol. She knows now that she's not allowed to get out of her bed before I call her.
I took the baby gate down a few months ago because my now 20 month old daughter acquired the ability to climb over it at that time and so I really didn't see the point anymore. Right now she sleeps in my room in her own toddler bed until she has learned that she has to stay in her bed at night even when she doesn't want to go to sleep yet before I put them in the same area.
As for fires, especially if your place is run by a landlord or such I'm sure there's smoke detectors in your place. We have one. And when they're 3, it's true, they're still very dependant on us when it comes to fires and the like, anyhow. When my now 5 1/2 year old was 3 she couldn't open my front door herself, even if it wasn't locked, and she did try to. Someone had pointed out that what's the difference in a fire between a locked bedroom door and a locked front door?
Personally, yes, it is all about what's comfortable for you. I noticed this was posted last October. How's he doing now?

Cindy - posted on 05/24/2011

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try one of the things you put around the door handle that makes it so kids can't get out, unless he can turn those. I would be too scared if there was a fire to use latches cause you may not unhook it in time. I always think about the worst when thinking of my daughter.

Leslie - posted on 10/18/2010

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I mean be in the minority here, but I see nothing wrong with her advice. Do you have a monitor in his room..if so, you can hear if something is wrong. If there is a fire, would he really know what to do anyways?

I never had issue with that. My 1 year old is still in his crib, and my now 4 year old always came in to my room to wake me when she woke.

But like I said, I don't see your mom's advice as that bad really.

Kimberly - posted on 10/18/2010

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instead of putting a lock put a child proof thing (can't think of what they call it right now) on the door knob so that he cant open the door. You can get in but he may not be able to get out

Amy - posted on 10/17/2010

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IF you shut the door, you could like get a bell above the door, when he opens it it'll make noise *hopefully your not a sound sleeper. * Something that you would hear when he opens the door. Or put a door bell by his bed, and have the other part by your bed, and when he wakes up have him ring it, but tell him not to leave his room until you come over? i know the hole stacking another gate ontop, most likely won't work. I tryed that ome, my boys almost 3 can climb over them lol . He also knows how to unlatch doors when their locked, so be careful. Them door knob things so that they can't get out, he knows how to work them as well. Good luck! Boys are tricky lol, or the children are getting way to smart for us. heh. But anyway good luck

Chrissy - posted on 10/17/2010

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I bought the plastic door knob covers for the inside of my sons door so he can't get out of he room. He's two and 1/2 years old and we have a large doggy door so we were concerned he might go outside by himself. We also have a video monitor so we can see when he's up, the video monitor is the greatest thing ever!

Becky - posted on 10/17/2010

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I have a baby monitor so I can hear my toddler get out of bed...that way I can get him in the hall way

Grace - posted on 10/17/2010

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Just a suggestion, how abt having a small TV in his room so he can engage by himself when he wakes up?

Ashley - posted on 10/17/2010

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Locking him in his room is not acceptable. In fact, my mother pointed out to me that making it impossible to leave the house is very dangerous. Her house has a very hight old type bolting system on the front door we always used to use when I was a teen. When I was home recently she said they don't use it when the grandkids are there because they couldn't get out the front door in a fire (heaven forbid we somehow couldn't get to him and he could get to the front door on his own). But I understand that your son also needs to not go out the front door and be unsafe.

The only advice I have is to get up before he does. I know it sounds mean. I hated having to start doing that. But I did eventually have to start doing it. My son started some of the same types of behaviors and I just didn't feel safe with him up and about by himself. If he normally gets up by 7, get up by 6:45. Who knows, you may even come to enjoy that little bit of wake up time to yourself. Now I even try to wake up before him and take a shower so I can have the morning to do things.

Melissa - posted on 10/17/2010

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I'm guessing you tried the standards, night light, checking for monsters before bed, etc. The only other thing I would suggest is spending as much time during awake and playtime hours in your sons room playing with him as you can. It's hard to be scared of some place that's associated with such good feelings and memories. You might also want to try sleeping in there at night with him. See if there's a funny shadow or a strange noise (like heating duct or neighbors) he can hear in his room that you can't hear in yours. My sister used to be terrified of "the man in the wall" and my parents finally figured out that she could hear the neighbor when he came home and they couldn't.

Sarah - posted on 10/17/2010

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wow my 3 yr old has started the "monster in my room/' routine so he comes running in to our bed at all hours of the night and early morning. it would be a blessing for him to quetly get up, watch tv, get his own breaky etc lol. on the other hand i guess i'm lucky he wakes us up instead of destroying the place lol. Any advice on the "i'm scared in my own bed" issue??

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