We’re, once again, having some sleeping issues in the Keegan Gross house. Thankfully, once she’s in bed she sleeps through the night. But at bedtime, Eleanor just doesn’t want to go to sleep. We put her in bed between 8 and 8:30pm and then proceed to walk her back to bed until she stays there, which can be from 30 minutes to 2 hours. This happens most nights. Ever 15 minutes or so it’s something new, I need some milk, I have an itch, I’m hungry, I want Mama to sing me a song. And we do as the books say, we just walk her back to bed without discussion, over and over and over again.
Before we moved apartments we had turned her door handle around so that we could lock it from the outside to avoid the hours of walking her back to bed. We didn’t do it ever night, just after at lease 45 minutes of walking her back to bed and after warning her of the consequence of getting up again. This of course made her angry, and led to controversy among my family, who think it’s abusive to lock her in her room.
Some of you may feel the same way, but I’ve read many an article from parenting experts and doctors all which suggest locking the door or putting up a gate. I don’t see the difference between the two except with a gate she will have light coming into her room and can hear the tv on or Josh and I talking which doesn’t seem conducive to sleep. I honestly don’t see the problem with making her stay in her room until she falls asleep. I understand that people have concerns about the door being locked during the night because she couldn’t get to us if she had a nightmare or was feeling sick. But we check on her and unlock the door before we go to bed. I really don’t see the big deal, it’s her bedroom filled with books and toys, not a tiny cage lined with newspaper.
From reading the parenting forums and asking around, the bedtime problem seems extremely common at her age and no one seems to have a good solution.
What do you think? Is it wrong to lock her door at night? Got any secrets to get a very determined three year old to stay in bed? Do you think it’s just a three year old thing and she’ll grow out of it? I think that’s the way I’m leaning.