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To lock the bedroom door...

(48 Posts)
GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 09:31:35

Sigh, I have reached my wits end, so bear with me.

DD has never slept through, she is almost three and a half years old. I can count on one hand the number of nights I've gotten a good seven hour kip overnight since falling pregnant with her. Her behaviour altogether is quite difficult, which my HV has always said would probably improve at nursery, when her mind was more occupied as she is very full on and hyperactive. She said that if she has not improved by the half term, she will refer her to a child psychologist.

Up until she was three, I keep a stair gate at her door as she gets up to all sorts if able to roam freely about the house. Since she has learned to climb over that things have gone a bit downhill again, and so as a very last resort my partner and I have been locking the bedroom door. I don't really like to do this, but if she can she gets up all night and if unmonitored has been able to do things that are dangerous, or very very messy (like flood the bathroom).

My partner believes now that we should lock her door every night, after a hellish morning where she got up at 5am, woke up my DS (5) and his DS (9) by climbing into his son's bed and stabbing him with a pencil in the leg. I didn't hear any of this as I'd been up at 3am with her for the toilet and settling her back in, then my partner (who has sleep disorders) was kicking me due to being unsettled by my movements and I went downstairs and slept on the couch.

Of course being woken early to what had happened made him a bit grumpy and he shouted a little bit about if we can't be consistent that he's giving up, which he has apologised for but is standing firm on. It doesn't sit quite right with me, but if she's a risk to the other children and herself, I can see why he thinks it's the right thing to do. I don't know what to do, is it wrong to lock her in? I worry about her being scared and trapped, or having an accident and being embarrassed.

What's reasonable here??

nimbs Tue 11-Oct-11 09:36:33

I'm not sure what the answer is to be honest but I would be really wary about locking her in - what if there was a fire? I do feel for you as my daughter gets up very early and wanders around the house - but we try and keep her safe by having a lock on the kitchen door so she can't go in there - and the front door is of course locked which she can't undo.

Could you put a stair gate over your son's door to prevent her going in - or at least a bell or something on her door so you would hear her getting up? Then keep returning her - it may take a lot of times - but she will get bored - is there anyone else that could do school run so you can catch up on sleep?

I think your partner is right in the fact that consistency is the key - but locking her in isn't the answer - I'm sure someone with a lot more help will be along soon.

ScaredBear Tue 11-Oct-11 09:38:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SenoritaViva Tue 11-Oct-11 09:41:04

I would also be very wary of locking the door, my biggest fear would be if there was a fire and she couldn't get out.

However, I see that you have issues and you need some kind of resolution. Not sure whether I have got one.

You say that your DP has sleep problems - is it possible that she has the same? Have you sat and spoken to her about how you expect her to behave once she is in bed? Has she now started nursery and has her behaviour (other than sleep) improved? Half term isn't very far away if the HV is planning on referring her.

jezebelle Tue 11-Oct-11 09:41:28

How old is she ?? Dog gates are higher ?? smile you could try a room alarm, then if she comes out of her room it'll alert you. Not a fan of locking kids in rooms, its not very safe if there was a fire etc.

GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 09:44:38

We've put the downstairs living room door handle on upside down as it is higher up and she hasn't yet worked out how to use it, which keeps her away from the living room and kitchen.

And the front door is locked and key placed on a hook high up above the door.

I could talk to my DP about doing something similar with the boys door, I think it would need to be fixed as it doesn't close properly at the moment, the catch isn't catching iyswim.

The bathroom door would need to be sorted too.

I tried rapid return for well over a month and it just results in her getting into a massive state with tantrums, often the best thing to do with her is completely remove any attention or stimulation and she backs down and settles, confronting her directly (even in such a non-reactive way) often just makes her up the ante until it's unbearable. Even DP, who said the usual "give me a week and I'll sort her out", is at his wits end with her.

I know we need to change something, and that there is possibly help on the horizon with the child psychologist, but in the meantime we need to be coping and I have to have a conversation this evening with DP about how we're going to handle it.

aldiwhore Tue 11-Oct-11 09:45:48

I understand why you'd want to do that, and you must be at your wit's end. Sleeplessness isn't something that people really understand unless they've been there, and it affects EVERYTHING.

Saying that, do not lock her door. Being 'inprisoned' is never going to make her comfortable at sleeping through the night, then there's the fire risk.

Unfortunately the only way to solve this is to get into routine and be consistent. Much as I loathe Supernanny et al, the only thing that works with a child this old is consistantly putting her back to bed, quickly, over and over again, until she sleeps. We had to it with my youngest, he's 4 this week and still ocassionally wakes at night, but now its only once, and he goes back to bed like a dream...

Its taken a year to get to THIS stage, its no quick fix, but you will notice an improvement early on.

I don't do the 'no eye contact, or conversation' method, he will still get a cuddle and get tucked in, keep the noise level really low even if your dd is screaming, stay calm (and drink tea) and commit to having to do the routine over and over.

There's little 'discussion' just a gentle repetition of 'come on now, back to bed, kiss mummy, close your eyes, go to sleep'... if you can't even get of the room before the screaming starts, then start right back at square one, sit next to her until she drifts off... then over time back away.

The EASIER solution is to gaffa tape her to the bed, but I'm sure you'd agree that its counter productive (she'll end up HATING bed) and pretty mean... same with locking the door I'm afraid. It only solves one part of the problem, but creates others.

Good luck, you have a long hard slog ahead of you, keep your head, stay consistent.

ohanotherone Tue 11-Oct-11 09:47:56

You can get sensor mats that set off an alarm when a person leaves the bed - these are used for people with dementia , but may be a solution in your case. I had this with DS, it's very tiring! I used to leave the door open so I could hear him leave the room and encouraged him to come to my room for hugs so at least he wasn't downstairs with the toaster. He was my 1st and I didn't even try for another until he passed out of this phase. It will pass!!!

GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 09:51:45

Yeah, fire is my worry too and also I was locked in as a child because I was the same and I remember it from as little as two, being really upset and frightened. I can't do it without feeling terrible and only resort to it when I am dropping with tiredness.

She's 3 years 5 months now and her behaviour is manageable at nursery (although getting worse as she gets used to it from what I am hearing from her teachers) but she is noticeable tired, yet still doesn't sleep. DP is a step parent, so his sleep disorder doesn't affect her (just me, I've been punched and kicked this past week), but I was the same as a child and my mother is supporting DP with the locking her in approach.

My brain is just fuzzed up with lack of sleep and illness recently, I don't know what to do anymore. I've been asking for help with DD since her two year check and been told to wait and see if things improve, and they don't. Gah!

GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 09:55:14

And I am understandably reticent about her coming in to me for comfort because of DPs sleep disorders, he is quite violent and also has sexsomnia, so I prefer to go to her and settle her in her own bed.

chocolaterainbow Tue 11-Oct-11 09:56:27

I don't know about door locking, I wouldn't feel happy about it myself, but what about one of these just for the time being? (I know it says for dogs, but they're much taller than the baby ones)
Good luck OP.

Grammaticus Tue 11-Oct-11 09:58:31

I think you already have the answer - don't lock her in her room, lock her out of everywhere else. Put a potty by the bathroom door in case she needs the loo in the night.

What is sexsomnia, btw?

ImperialBlether Tue 11-Oct-11 10:02:37

Your husband is punching and kicking you in his sleep, OP?

RottenRow Tue 11-Oct-11 10:03:13

Or you could do as some friends do and tie the door shut with a rope shock

GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 10:03:38

It's sexual behaviour during sleep, a parasomnia like sleep walking, he does almost the full range... violent movements, teeth grinding, sexsomnia, difficult to wake, violence when rousing... he's finally agreed it's a problem and will go to the doctors, I don't think he realised the severity of the issue.

www.sexsomnia.org/esleepsex.html

Pseudo341 Tue 11-Oct-11 10:10:14

I must have missed something here, what's the difference between using a child stair gate or a dog gate and just locking the door? Either way she can't get out by herself in the event of a fire. If it's something to do with being able to see through then I guess the dog gate is a good idea, but I seriously don't see what so awful about locking her in, lots of older houses have door handles too high for a 3 year old to reach so that would have the same effect. If you do lock her in make sure the key is always left in the lock on the outside so you can open it quickly in an emergency, and make sure the key is attached firmly to the door with a chain or something to stop one of the other two running off with it for a joke.

TheVermiciousKnid Tue 11-Oct-11 10:11:29

So surely your lack of sleep is likely to be due to your husband's sleep problems as well? I'm a very light sleeper and really couldn't cope with that. What I would do (and I know this is not for everybody!) is to sleep in DD's room. This might be what she needs and you might get more sleep!

GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 11:16:15

Yes, my moving around at night exacerbates my DPs sleep problems, as does the stress that this is causing us all, and I am dealing with everyone left right and centre as not only am I being disturbed all night by those two, my own sleep problems are rearing their ugly head again, I'm sleeping so lightly or not at all. Locking the door seems like the easy solution, but I don't know if I can deal withe the emotional side of it at all, I'm still sleeping so lightly just in case she gets frightened or needs the toilet. I may try ringing the HV again.

GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 11:16:18

Yes, my moving around at night exacerbates my DPs sleep problems, as does the stress that this is causing us all, and I am dealing with everyone left right and centre as not only am I being disturbed all night by those two, my own sleep problems are rearing their ugly head again, I'm sleeping so lightly or not at all. Locking the door seems like the easy solution, but I don't know if I can deal withe the emotional side of it at all, I'm still sleeping so lightly just in case she gets frightened or needs the toilet. I may try ringing the HV again.

GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 11:18:05

Sorry, posting from my phone.

Redbluegreen Tue 11-Oct-11 11:21:55

Can you fit another single bed in her room, and sleep in there for a while. It could help with her sleep, and yours. And maybe your dp will get himself to the doctor quicker - sexsomnia does not sound like something I'd put up with for very long, I'd much rather share a room with my daughter!

onefatcat Tue 11-Oct-11 11:23:00

"what if there was a fire and she couldn't get out?" this is a bit irellevant because what if she was still in a cot and she couldn't get?
Also, what if there was a fire and she had caused it by being out!?

GrownUpNow Tue 11-Oct-11 11:27:31

She's in the box room unfortunately, the boys have the bigger room because they have to share. Would sharing with her not just be giving in to what she wants?

I might give up sharing a room with DP for a while to try and get some decent sleep, the solution at the moment is to grab an hour or two in the day if I can, which I know won't be helping matters with my sleep.

megapixels Tue 11-Oct-11 11:28:26

I wouldn't lock the door, it sounds terrifying to be locked up, an adult wouldn't like it so neither would a child. I'd do a different stair gate, even a dog one like others have said. That way she is contained but doesn't make her feel imprisoned - she can see that everything is as is and call out if she wants you etc.

TheVermiciousKnid Tue 11-Oct-11 11:29:59

I would ask DP to sleep in her room and have DD sleep with me... This might be what she needs at the moment. And no, I don't think it's giving in to her at all.

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