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To ask for solutions to toddler bedtime issue that doesn't involve a bolt across his door...

(70 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Thu 02-Jun-16 10:02:18

Me and DH put DS (2yr 2m) into a toddler bed a few days ago and we are having problems.

We have put a stair gate across his doorway to stop him wandering around upstairs but it now means we can't close his bedroom door which I think is the cause of all the problems.

Without his door shut the room is a lot lighter, he can hear EVERYTHING and routine noise is waking him up and I also think the loss of his security/safety of being in an enclosed room is upsetting him.

Me and DH are at a bit of a loss to the point where DH even suggested removing the stair gate so we can shut DS's bedroom door but then put a bolt across the top (on the outside) so DS can't open it from the inside and get out. It's a stupid idea and I told him so, I said absolutely no way are we locking DS in his room. I don't think DH had thought it through and was simply looking for a practical solution.

What have other people done to overcome this problem?

I have considered taking off his stair gates and putting stair gates across other doorways, I.e across the bathroom door, the door to the spare room, across the stairs etc so he can't go wandering into them should he leave his room, but I'm pretty sure that if he knows he can leave his own room then he'll be out of it all night as opposed to sleeping.

Does anyone have any ideas or solutions?

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 02-Jun-16 10:05:30

Do you still have a monitor? Ours never got out of bed, I think because they could communicate with us on the monitor so felt close to us and could say if they needed anything or were worried about monsters etc. Also meant we could hear if they'd got out of bed and we could head off any messing before it started.

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 02-Jun-16 10:07:37

We had a staircase at the top of the stairs just in case they stumbled around in the night looking for the toilet.

Which reminds me - you can't bolt a child into their room for a number of reasons, the main one being is soon enough they'll be using the toilet. What if they need it in the night - you want them to wee on their bedroom floor? confused

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 02-Jun-16 10:08:55


Writerwannabe83 Thu 02-Jun-16 10:10:01

We do have a monitor yes but it isn't one we can talk through, plus his speech isn't advanced enough to really talk to us about why he's crying. He just wakes up, gets upsets and calls out for me and then only settles if I lie with him. However, as soon as he sees me leave the room he gets upset again.

When he was in his cot and we were able to shut the door behind us when we left him we didn't have any problems and he'd just go straight back to sleep.

I think the open door is making him feel vulnerable...

MTPurse Thu 02-Jun-16 10:12:05

I have just looked at all the doors in my house and I can not see how it is possible to not shut the door with a stair gate attached confused

When the door is shut the door frame is still wide enough to put a gate on, Do you have strange doors?

Believeitornot Thu 02-Jun-16 10:12:08

But you are locking your ds in already using a stairgate confused

We only had stairgates on the stairs. With one toddler you can quite easily keep an eye on them in other rooms. We moved stuff around in the kitchen and bathroom so they couldn't find anything dangerous.

When does he need to stay in his room other than at night....? Not sure for the need for high security. Feel a bit sorry for your ds!

So take the gate off and don't have a bolt. What God forbid if something went wrong eg a fire and in the panic to get out, or to get him, someone didn't see the bolt. Or he needed a wee in the night as he gets older?

Writerwannabe83 Thu 02-Jun-16 10:12:57

curlyhair - I think DH thought by the time DS was toilet trained (he's still in nappies) then he'd be old enough to be more trusted to stay in his room (bar going to the toilet) as opposed to wandering out of his room.

But anyway, like I said, it was just a practical solution (only in DH's eyes) which has definitely been vetoed smile

Believeitornot Thu 02-Jun-16 10:13:45

I should add: Mine never went wandering at night once they were in beds as they were scared of the dark! When they were older they got themselves up and came straight to our room.

Thisismyfirsttime Thu 02-Jun-16 10:16:24

Why can't you just shut the door as you were doing before? Put a monitor on so you can hear if he's moving about etc and a stairgate at the top of the stairs?

honkinghaddock Thu 02-Jun-16 10:18:23

Bolt on the outside of other doors you don't want him wandering into eg the bathroom. He will be adjusting into being in a bed rather than a cot.

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 02-Jun-16 10:20:01

Could you put him back in a cot or is he too big?

He is still very young. It may just be a case of staying with him till he drops off, for a couple of weeks but I can see why you wouldn't want to risk getting that into a habit especially if he was fine in a cot.

Could you bustle about in the room next door to him? Do some ironing or somethings? So he hears that you're near but you're close enough to return him to bed straight away if he gets out of it.

Playduh Thu 02-Jun-16 10:21:58

Also wondering about the fit of your stairgate. Is the woodwork around both sides flush to the door?

If not maybe switch it (so stairgate is on the other side of the door?)

Apologies if you've already tried. I have much experience of the sleep deprived brain wink

Alternatively, there is something called a monkey lock that you out direct in the door. It means the door will open a little but not completely from one side, but can be opened instantly from the other. Maybe a good alternative to the gate.

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 02-Jun-16 10:23:00

"Why can't you just shut the door as you were doing before? Put a monitor on so you can hear if he's moving about etc and a stairgate at the top of the stairs?"

Yes, is this not possible?

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Thu 02-Jun-16 10:27:25

Put the stairs gate on the other side of the door?

Obviously won't work if it's only a push fit one.

Writerwannabe83 Thu 02-Jun-16 10:33:11

Our doors are quite narrow so one end of the stair gate has to slot into where the door hinges are.

I'm thinking though that maybe I could take off the blue screws on one side , you know the bits you tighten to keep the gate in place, and then that may take a few inches off to enable the gate to sit properly in the door frame without impeding on the hinges.

It may be that if I tighten the stair gate against the door frame on just one side then the pressure against the other side of the frame would be enough to keep the gate in place?

The stair gate is just a short term measure until DS gets used to being in a bed. I doubt very much he'd stay in his room if he knew he could get out of it sad

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 02-Jun-16 10:47:26

How about a heavy curtain on the outside of the door frame that will enclose the room and cut out light? Can be pulled back during the day and the door opened or closed as usual.

AlpacaPicnic Thu 02-Jun-16 10:51:09

Tell him a scary monster lives in your hall at night?

<disclaimer - not a parent...>

Writerwannabe83 Thu 02-Jun-16 11:19:21

That's something to think about silver....

alpaca - your idea is equally worthy of consideration... grin

GoudyStout Thu 02-Jun-16 12:11:11

Why do you need a stair gate on his door? Surely you only need a stair gate at the top of the stairs, and you can toddler proof the other rooms so he can't get into mischief / come to any harm?

I think you're also going to make life hard for yourself if you're going to settle him by lying down with him until he drops off - be careful it doesn't get to the point where that's the only way he'll settle.

xinchao Thu 02-Jun-16 12:16:21

Have a shop around for other stair gates - lots of different styles.

We have to use a stair gate with our three year old after 5 months of 3:30am-4:30am wake ups. We now get a lie in til 5:30am. We have a bolt on his bathroom door (en suite) and put a potty in the room which he uses in the night and when he wakes.

I definitely don't 'feel sorry' for him. I felt pretty sorry for myself after 5 months of 3:30-4:30am wake ups.

xinchao Thu 02-Jun-16 12:18:17

Oh, I asked a handyman to put the bolt across DS's bathroom door and explained why. Got lost in translation because I came home to a bolt across his door! That is a bridge too far, even for me grin

liquidrevolution Thu 02-Jun-16 12:19:00

I had visions of a stair gate across the door for DD but in the end we didnt bother. It took a week of pick up and put back to bed with no conversation till she got it. Stairgate at top of stairs and I close all doors on the her floor to keep it darker for her. Her door is ajar and I tend to potter around the landing so she knows I am there if she needs me.

I think if you dont tackle this now then you will have to tackle it another time so you might as well get it out of the way.

seeyounearertime Thu 02-Jun-16 12:22:40

sounds the easiest solution is a new stair gate that fits properly. you can buy them in all manner of widths now a days. Maybe consider one like:
it fits from 60cm right up to over 100cm

crazywriter Thu 02-Jun-16 12:24:44

Sorry. I can't help. We used a stairgate for a few months until DD stopped thinking it was funny to get out of the room. Once she was asleep, we always took the gate off in case she needed us in the night and moved the stairgate to across the top of the stairs to prevent accidents in the dark.

We eventually helped her understand that she would have to stay in her room once it was night time. She now likes to read her books in bed before she crashes out and will talk to her toys. I guess that's her way of winding down. We haven't had to use the stairgate for about 18ms and shes almost 4yo now.

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