As I was devouring chocolate at my neighborhood early childhood PTA Chocolate party last night, my ears perked up as I heard other moms talking about locking their kids in their rooms at night. Oh my, I thought! Is that the next thing I am going to have to be dealing with? Why is night time so hard for children and the parents? I just wanted to enjoy my 2000 calorie chocolate splurge, and not have to stress about any more future sleep issues :)
As I could not help listening to their stories, these moms were discussing how they have turned the locks around so that you lock it from the outside, not the inside of their child's room. They insist it is for their child's safety, so they are not roaming the house at night or getting hurt while going to the bathroom. Hmm, well, then how does your child tell you they need to go to the bathroom? I was a little confused so I asked them what they meant.
Apparently, their toddlers had reached the point where they could climb out of their cribs and would run out of the room and into their parent's rooms. They had installed the crib canopy already but they still had figured out how to escape. They now had a big toddler bed, but they still would climb out and run out to the parent's room.
I started thinking back on my childhood and remembered that I stayed in my bed just fine, unless I had a nightmare or there was a thunderstorm, or I was sick. So why were these kids escaping each night? And I remembered that all of the children I used to babysit always stayed in their beds asleep, never getting out. But apparently, these veteran moms told me it happens early in the morning hours.
Well, how about just putting a baby gate in their room? I am guessing it is like having to do the cry it out approach all over again. You make them stay in their room and cry until they fall asleep. Poor little things, I thought! What happens if they truly are sick or need something? Do you lock your door as a parent? Or do you just put up a baby gate in their room?
Something I always told parents whose children I counseled and had sleep issues, was that you can't make a child go to sleep. But you can insist they stay in their bed, or in their room.
From my days as a nanny, I would tell kids, "it's time to go to sleep, and if you don't sleep in your bed, you can sleep on the floor, or in your chair, but you have to stay in your room." Or when the child was fighting going to sleep, I used to tell them, "whatever you do, don't fall asleep!" It worked well for the most part. Reverse psychology.
I am hoping these little techniques will work well for me! Here's crossing my fingers we don't go down a locking the door path. Thank goodness the subject changed over to the Dallas Superbowl, and I could take a breath of relief of not hearing more horror stories.
These mom stories are enough to scare you and I know they are hurdles I will be facing before long. Ah, the joys of night time parenting.
With these sleep stories being enough to depress me, I figured I needed a little chuckle, so I am including a picture of my daughter below, just to have a little laugh. Yes, it is my daughter's rear end view, but just love the cute little jeans she is modeling!