Getting My Daughter to Sleep in Her Room

Tonya - posted on 04/01/2014 ( 72 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 5 years old and I am still having issues with getting her to sleep in her own bed in her own room instead of with me an her dad every night .

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Jodi - posted on 04/05/2014

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My daughter often woke at night and came to my room. It was generally due to nightmares and fears. Rather than be super strict about it, I actually ended up setting up a small mattress beside my side of the bed with a pillow and blankets and she just came in and curled up beside me without disturbing anyone. She felt comforted just being near me. She did outgrow it after a while, but I am quite happy that we did it that way. I didn't want to force her to face her nightmares alone at that age. It was a good solution because everyone got the sleep they needed without any middle of the night angst.

Anyway, I would consider the reasons she doesn't want to be alone. If it is about nightmares and fears, forcing her is only going to enhance those fears.

Diana - posted on 05/28/2014

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Hello everyone, I am a sleep specialist and I would love to give you guys some pointers!

Bedtime is non negotiable, children need limits and boundaries and bedtime is no different. You need to set the rules for bedtime and nap time just like you would for anything else. Each situation is different and there are many factors that go into adjusting a situation where a child refuses to sleep in their own room, but you do not want to lay in their bed in order to get them to fall asleep. When you do this, you are creating a sleep crutch. Your child then thinks that they need you in their bed in order to fall asleep, that's why when they wake in the middle of the night, they cry and call out for you or wonder into your room, because they do not know that they are capable of falling asleep on their own.

Yes, positive and negative reinforcement can be used, but it needs to be done carefully and depending on the age of the child there are certain ways to use it.

You can use a baby gate and put it in the doorway of your child's room, I would not recommend locking them in their room.

If they are afraid of the dark, use a night light or take them to the store and have them pick out one of those stuffed animals that lights up. That way in the middle of the night when they are afraid, they can just reach for the stuffed animal and it will light up and provide comfort. Stay away from using a television, children should stop watching tv and using electronics at the very least one hour before bedtime. The brain needs time to settle and prepare for sleep, a television stimulates the brain. In essence, you are contradicting yourself by putting your child in bed and telling him to go to sleep and then turning on a TV which stimulates his brain to be awake, so to say the least it causes confusion. (Same goes for a mobile in a crib)

There are also special alarm clocks for toddlers that if they wake up before morning (never consider anything before 6:00am morning) they must wait for their alarm to go off before going into Mom and Dads room.

Hope this helps, let me know if I can answer any other questions!

Elaine - posted on 04/04/2014

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This worked for me really well. I told my son that story time was happening at 8pm in his room whether he was in the room or not. So I started reading the story with no one in the bed and he got in there so fast. He wanted me to start again from the beginning but I said no and that story time was at 8pm and that he had to be there or he would miss the beginning. So the next night he was in there right on time. I occasionally let him sleep in my bed when Daddy is away but he considers it a treat.
I think it is really important for you to set the schedule instead of the other way around. Kids are really pushing for limits. when you start this process early on it sets the tone. Later as kids get older you can include their input and give them choices which will help them develop self regulation.

Stephanie - posted on 04/04/2014

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My daughter finally started sleeping in her own room. Partly my fault because she only recently got her own room. She always slept with me. But once she did get her own room, I let her pick out the decorations and everything.

She falls asleep in there, BUT she always wakes up in the middle of the night and comes in there with me. I read her a bed time story and pray with her before she goes to bed. She just won't stay in her bed all throughout the night. I can only remember two nights that she hasn't gotten up.

I don't know the solution, but I think it will take more time! My daughter tells me that she is scared. But I leave a dim light on and she leaves the door open. Not sure what she is scared of, but, I figure one day she will get over her fear.

Margarett - posted on 04/06/2014

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Sticking to bed time routine hard core and not wavering. ..is what has worked for me...I lock my bedroom door and so when the kids get up in the middle of the night they have to knock on the door...and I get up and walk them back to their bed and tuck them in...now after 4 months of doing this my door stays open and they stay in bed unless it's something serious. ...
Now in the beginning to make them stay in their own bed was hard...but consistency paid off...I put them in their bed and if they get up , I had to put them back...even telling them they would lose privileges if they didn't obey....good luck...I know it's hard now but it pays off later

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Lillian Angela - posted on 04/17/2015

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Well I have a son named Kayden and he sleeps in his crib he's 2 and he usually crawls in with me at night at like 2 am so me and his dad (Jake) have a cuddle time (you know what) and he asks mom your but is showing I say Kayden Joseph get in bed and he does UT he heard me going mm mm when I try to get dressed it doesn't help...

Chelsa - posted on 04/08/2015

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My daughter is 4 and this is the same exact problem that I am having. I tried a nightlight, glow toys, and glow teddy bears. I even promise a gift the next day but nothing seems to be working!.

Sri - posted on 03/21/2015

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Hello,
I am a parent coach. It's typical at this age for children to be scared about monsters and other things. You could make monster spray (water in a spray bottle) and have her spray it on her bed and in the closet. You can also buy her a stuffed animal that protects her.
I happy to answer more questions. Sriparentcoach.com

Amanda - posted on 02/23/2015

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Thank god!!!! I'm not the only one. My son is 3 and I can hardly go into another room without him saying he's scared. This is a happy, loving, and safe house. I don't know why or what to do. I know he should be sleeping in his own bed. I was actually able to Python down awake when he was 10 months. Then once I wasn't home. He whined and Dadda ran right up and put him in our bed... Now we can't get him out let alone sleep in his own bed/room. Any tips or tricks?

Aliya - posted on 01/08/2015

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Stephanie the way you should help your child is
if she is afraid of zombies.etc you should try putting 2 things beside hers like to teddy is left and right corner so she feels that her teddys are supporting her have a try and it works complity good with my 3 years old

John - posted on 12/04/2014

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Yeah no its important for a growing child to be comfortable in their own room. The longer she lets it go on the more likely she is to develop a psycological needfor her parents to be in the bed with h? Say they need to leave her with a babysitter or relative? How is she gonna sleep then if you allow the behavior?

John - posted on 12/04/2014

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Is she uncomfortable in her own room? Does she need a new bed? Does she believe in silly monsters under her bed or in her closet? Just get her a nightlight and a stuffed animal. Also storytime is a good way to get children tired before bed. Also when she comes to you at night don't let her sleep with you guys I know its tempting to give in since you have work in the morning and are tired but bring her back to her room maybe ask her whats wrong.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/02/2014

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Our family had a similar situation to yours. My son was 13 weeks early and spent 2.5 months in the NICU. When I bought him home we placed his bed in our room, he didn't leave our room until he was 3 years old. We used the method the Nanny used. We would lay him down in his room and leave the room of course he got up numerous times but all we did was redirect him back to his room. After a couple of weeks he saw that we weren't giving in, he finally settled in his own bed. He did experience night terrors but as my pediatrician told me he will be ok and he was. Now I can't pay my son to come sleep in our room, haha!

Rosey - posted on 11/26/2014

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Oh dear how awful. I can only imagine what you're going through. My daughter Neb has a similar issue.

Lorraine - posted on 11/21/2014

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We also have a well set out bed time routine for my 8, 4, and 2 year old. After dinner one of them each have a chance to pick a book which is read to all of them. I would stay in their room (yes they share a room) until they all sleep. But almost, every night they will one by one wake up and walked overy to our room. Sometimes all three of them will manage to walk over or maybe just one!! We used to take turns to take them back to their rooms but this process has proven to be tiring as we always wake up so tired. So now if any of them find their way to our room they just snuggle in and we simply continue sleeping! We call it the exodus!!!

Persephone - posted on 11/11/2014

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Let the child sleep in your room as long as she wants.

In your bed?

Okay, in your bed. All sleep together.

It is one of the most life-affirming things that can happen. And it doesn't happen to many of us, less and less as time goes by, especially in our benighted Western society.

Soon the child will be grown and gone and you'll never have the chance again.

There's few things - there's none, I think - more beautiful than a sleeping child in your arms or simply by your side. Purely incredible. Purely real.

It dissolves the terrors of the day, the mysteries and hurts of the day, for the child. It makes all good again. It puts beneath the child a solid and very firm foundation of togetherness with it's parents.

The lack of that is the foundation of so much that is wrong with our people today.

We have done this with our children from the beginning. They didn't get hurled out into cribs and their own rooms as soon as possible. They were willingly and happily 'allowed' (what an awful word to use in this context) to be with us.

There is a clear motivation behind the 'put the child away' thing in our society and it makes perfect, but terrible, sense: teach from the beginning that you are on your own, that you are weak and worthless and totally dependent upon the whimsical mercy of your 'guardians', those remote figures of power.

I refute that concept.

Our children are now 8 and 11 and neither sleeps with us any more. They left of their own accord, happy and curious and pleased to go to their own beds.

'I love you' is a meaningless phrase over and over again. Given hurt at just that wrong moment a child sees that and it goes deep into their psyche and takes root and cripples their full growth for ever.

A hug - when the child wants a hug, acceptance - when the child wants to approach, these are the basic primate manifestations of love and that's simply a fact.

In our world now too many of us (Western world, Western world, we think we're the whole world but we're not) have been blighted by this already, we were brought up like that. Many of us have never even sucked at the breast. We know now nothing of love and are afraid of it and don't know how to give or receive it.

We think it is a phrase. We think repeating that phrase makes it true. We're mad.

Don't be mad. Love your children. Let the little children come unto you. It's a buzz.

Persephone - posted on 11/11/2014

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Don't make her sleep in her own room.

Let her come to you. Let her be with you.

A 5 year old child? For Christ's sake.

In this horribly insane world there's just about nothing better, nothing more beautiful, nothing that makes more sense, nothing that's more therapeutic, nothing that's more human and natural - than sleeping with your children.

It won't last long and then it'll be gone, never to return. It's passing opportunity.

Time may well come when you'll lay alone in your bed and remember a small, warm, trusting, loving figure, still with the smell of baby, laying by your side, turning into you, touching you for reassurance in her sleep.

And you'll cry.

We don't know what love is any more. We are insane. 'I love you' is the phrase which we use as a hollow counterfeit token for it. They're just words as every child realizes sooner or later when they are not backed by the practice of love.

Our children have always slept with us since birth. We never forced them out into a crib or a room of their own. Never.

And we profited mightily. The boon they brought to our lives is/was immeasurable.

We are not two distant, elevated, mysterious, authoritarian, falsing figures - we are two bigger, older, human beings of the same stuff as our children is how they see it. We humanize humanity and our artificial, mechanistic, false, plastic, money loving, hate filled society for them.

We give them something solid and real. We don't have to say 'I love you' for we demonstrate it by our complete acceptance of them.

It works. Do yourself a favour. Try it.

Oh... and neither sleeps with us now. They left and went to their own beds some time ago, voluntarily, happily, without any feeling of isolation, shut out, cut off, put out, put away....

But the youngest still comes back for a hug in the mornings often.

And I already grow wistful sad at how close the time is to when he'll come no more.

Carolyn - posted on 11/10/2014

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My son didn't stay in his own room till he was probably 12- after trying everything we put a sleeping bag in our room and for years he just came in and got into the bag. He didn't wake us and everyone slept fine. I'm sure many disagree, but it worked for us. He lives in his own apartment now in college and is a well adjusted 20 year old young man.

Ann - posted on 10/20/2014

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My friend had the same problem with her son. She had him co-sleep with them until he was 3 years old and refused for months not to sleep in his own room. Eventually she had to sleep in his bed with him for a couple of weeks and when he fell asleep she would leave him in his own bed and go back to hers. Was a long process but eventually he would go to sleep in his own room.

Julia - posted on 09/23/2014

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We co-slept with our 4 year old too. We kind of went back and forth with her sleeping in her own room/bed and being back in our bed. One night my husband gave her bed a name, Beddie Bye. He told her that Beddie Bye would be sad if she didn't sleep in it. She's younger than your daughter, but for some reason this worked! She now calls her bed Beddie Bye and chooses to sleep in it all the time. Weird, but it totally worked! LOL

Patyc - posted on 09/01/2014

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My two kiddos will always fall asleep in their bed, always follow a routine and Ill just kiss good night turn off lights and close the door.......then in the wee hours of the night both will come into my bed ( the problem was the 3 year old will wake up ,it happened he had terrible allergies that will wake him up and wanted to be scratched by me, consequently the younger one will copy him) then even when allergies where resolve the habit sticked, One night i just told them, "if tonight you fell off the bed im not picking you up, mommy back hurts and mommy wants to stretch on her bed, the older told the younger one "Danny. lets go back to our bed" and they never came back!

Chloe - posted on 07/16/2014

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I remember when I was a little girl, I would always sneak into the room of my parents and sleep on the floor or crawl in between them. This happened off and on until I was about ten,

I think something that would've helped me is some sort of nightlight, to prove that there really weren't any "monsters in the dark" and don't let her watch something that's too scary. If she watches something that scares her, she might get too paranoid to sleep, making her even more unwilling to go in her room at night.

Have a talk with her and ask her if there's anything she's scared of, or if there's anything that could make her more comfortable.

Best of luck!

Chloe

John - posted on 07/15/2014

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I agree with everything that has been said. It is a battle to get them in their own beds, but you must be persistent. Kids WANT limits and structure. You will have to fight your toddler on this. They will get up multiple times screaming and crying and you will need to get them back in bed. It will be bad. You will need to be strong. You are not dealing with an adult. You are dealing with a toddler with no impulse control and the single-minded obsession of youth, and who has absolutely no ability (or care) to recognize that these multiple, extensive middle of the night begging sessions are sapping you of your will to live.

Remember, virtually all children have horrible separation anxiety. You are essentially their whole world at that age, and it simply doesn't compute to them that, you know, mommy feeds me, mommy washes me, mommy watches TV with me, mommy drives me everywhere and then suddenly, mommy isn't around at night.

Co-sleeping is not a problem for anyone but the parents. If you allow it to happen, you are in for a long-term, difficult battle to get children back in their own bed. I have a step-son turning 7 in September and he STILL begs to get in bed with us each night because when his mother was single, she allowed him to sleep with her nightly, and of course now that is all he wants. He is far too big and (at least in my opinion) a touch old for it, but each kid is different. Some kids will bounce out of the bed at 4 or 5, feeling that they have outgrown the paternal bed. Others will stay until they are 10, blissfully sleeping sideways with their feet in your face as you struggle to get some much needed rest.

To each their own. I already spend every penny on my kids and virtually every free moment I have catering to one need or the other. So I draw the line. My bed is my bed and no one is messin' with it. My three year old gets up 2x each night trying to sneak in or get in, but I never let her. Nope nope nope.

GOKSEL - posted on 06/26/2014

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I have same problem with my 6 years old son.I really like to cuddle with him but with queen size bed plus with my husband trouble back,i want him to sleep in his bed . I don't know what to do.

Louanna - posted on 06/13/2014

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Louanna - posted on 06/13/14

My son is three and a half going to be 4, in October, am having issues with him sleeping in his bed which is next to my bed. His father and I brought him a cars toddler bed, but he wouldn't sleep in it. So is there something I can try for him to go and sleep in it instead of my bed with me.

Codr13 - posted on 06/02/2014

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Let her have a Paci/and put a diaper on her and stay with her un tell she falls a sleep. And make her fell loved That is what I do at night and it works

Elanda Moira Atencio - posted on 05/19/2014

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My son is 4, and we had the same problem.

Every hear or operant conditioning? Cats do it, and they do this very well, Anyway, that's basically what you have to do with your child.
You shape behavior that you don't like, into something you want, and you reinforce it with either positive/negative reinforcement or positive/negative punishment.
For example:
You put your daughter in her bed and shes asking to see with you and dad
Do you want that behavior to be repeated? No
Tell her, "No baby, mommy and daddy sleep in their bed, and big girls sleep in their beds."
If she brings it up again, ignore it.

Your daughter falls asleep in her bed ( lay with her, read to her to get her to sleep at first)
Do you want the behavior to be repeated? Yes
Praise her in the morning for falling asleep in her own bed!

Your daughter wakes up and tries to crawl into bed with you and your husband.
Do you want this behavior to be repeated? No
One of you (rotate every night) wake up and take her to her own room, and put her in her own bed.

Your daughter gets into her own bed with our arguing, crying or having a tantrum.
Do you want this behavior to be repeated? Yes
Thank her for not arguing and praise her for being a goof big girl for staying in her own bed.

Your daughter have a tantrum because you won't let her sleep in her bed.
Do you want that behavior to be repeated? No
Tell her this is not a discussion, take her to her room and put her in her bed, if the behavior continues, don't give attention to it, ignore it, and put her in bed and let her have her fit.

Get the picture? it will take time, but it's well worth it I promise!

Dominique - posted on 05/03/2014

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We started my son at 2 by letting him sleep in the pack n play in our room we then got him a cars bed and swapped it with the play pen we got him comfortable with the bed in our room and once he started going into his bed by himself we moved it into his room. We also got him a small tv to watch movies at night(I know your not supposed to do that but it was the only way he'd sleep in there without being afraid) he would never lay in the dark he would just keep coming to our bed. Good luck (:

Tifani - posted on 04/14/2014

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My 5 y/o is doing the same thing again, I have broken her of this in the past when she was very little, then at 3, and since last summer she reverted back to coming into our bed at night... It was after we moved from TX to FL (hubby is Navy). I don't know what to do either. Sometimes I don't even know when she gets in our bed, and when I do know what do I do, wake-up the rest of the house as she screams and cries,I tell her no, and take her back to her space??

I have 2 older children and they never did this, since they were moved from our bed after breastfeeding days were done, they stayed in their own beds.... Makes me crazy!! I really don't know what to do.

Olivia Lauren - posted on 04/09/2014

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Well then if she has speac I'll needs she will need someone to read to her until she false asleep and then she will sleep in her own bed all night and you and your boyfriend can sleep all night without her sleeping with you

[deleted account]

At that age you can put your foot down, you are the parent. My mil was having same problem and at 7 her son was still in bed with her. You need to stop allowing it. She understands what you say better than a toddler so telling her no and she has to sleep in her room is perfectly fine.

Michaela - posted on 04/08/2014

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Routine is key. It will make her more comfortable, whether she realizes or not. We are currently doing this with our 2 year old. She takes a bath, brushes teeth, we read a story, get a hug and kiss, then it's lights out for the night and she gets no more interaction form mom and dad. If she gets up, one of us simply puts her back in her bed. She was very upset for the first couple nights, buts it been about a week and she's fine now. Since your child is older she may put up more of a fight, and 5 is old enough for privelages to be taken away if she throws a tantrum. If she starts to be defiant (and I don't mean just crying or calling for you, but blatantly disregarding you or being beligerant) tell her if doesn't lay down and go to sleep she won't get to watch TV tomorrow or something. She will learn to love a routine, you just have to be consistent.

Tiffany - posted on 04/07/2014

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Okay, my daughter is 6 years old and I am having the hardest time getting her to sleep in her room. She has always been in the room with her dad and I or with her brothers. Most of the time she gets up and come in our bed, I will take her back to her room, but she will get up and go to her brothers room and get on the floor. She knows that she is not allow to get in their bed because they are to big to be sleeping with her. Now she sleeps in the hallway Lol. She just want stay in her room...

Keri - posted on 04/07/2014

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My son is 7 and still kinda has this issue. We've made a deal that if he sleeps in his bed Sunday-Thursday (school nights), he can, if he wants to, sleep in our room. Or at least FALL asleep in our room. He falls asleep in there and my husband or I pick him up and take his passed out body to his bedroom. More often than not now, he asks for us to lay with him in his room. So one or both of us lays with him, we read, and he talks about his day (at school). Just little things that make him comfortable in his own bed.

Danielle - posted on 04/06/2014

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We turned the knob around on the door so it locks from the outside. My 3 yo is so used to it he never tries to leave. He knocks on the door in the morning. Not sure if it's too late to do it now. We did it when we transitioned him into a toddler bed.
Have you heard of the token system? You give her 2 or 3 "tokens" that she can use, like free passes. But after that she needs to stay in her room. Good luck! I'm sure you and your husband are tired!

C - posted on 04/06/2014

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At 5 she won't be doing this for much longer. Whe your girl is 15, like mine is now, you will be wishing for these days back! Trust me! :-) good luck!

Chanell - posted on 04/06/2014

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Maybe since she is so used to sleeping with the both of you, ween her out of it. Maybe start making her sleep in her room 2 nights a week and add from there. But always explain what your doing and why and the importance of both. She needs to grow up and and be strong and the best way to do that is to have no interruptions at night and the best way to that is to sleep in her own room and bed. Mommy and daddy need to sleep in their own bed all night as well because they have to stay strong to take care of you. It's better to sleep in your own room and bed because you get all the rest you need and you grow up to be strong, healthy and gorgeous. Everyone needs a good night's rest.

Joanne - posted on 04/06/2014

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Hi there my son is almost 4 and we had the same issue. A phase of having him sleep with us every night!!! It was so tirying and we thought it would never end.
BUT I'm please to say for the last few weeks he has been sleeping in his own bed and through the night.
We put a stairgate on our bedroom. We explained what we were doing and why. Mummy and daddy need to sleep etc. when it's dark and the gate is on he mustn't get up. It worked the first night, now when it's bright he calls to us and says can I come in now. Maybe give this a try? Good luck

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