Crib-to-bed transition

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  December 16, 2009 06:00 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article


Question: My 3-year-old daughter converted to her toddler bed about 4 months ago. It has been working out well until she recently discovered she can leave her room. Now it is impossible to put her to bed (even with a consistent bedtime routine) without her coming out of the room 2-3 times. With a safety gate at the top of the stairs, we try to ignore it but she will stay there unless we put her back to bed. Should we install a gate on her door? She freaks out if we close the door. What should we do?

From: Ginny, Melrose


Hi Ginny,

As I once wrote, making the transition from crib to bed is like open Pandora's Box. So yes, indeed, a gate is the way to go. Here are what some pediatric sleep experts have to say about this.

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

6 comments so far...
  1. I disagree that a gate is the way to go - she'll just get out of bed and play in her room.

    Talk to her. Remind her that bedtime means that she needs to stay in her bed. If she needs to use the bathroom, get a drink, etc., she needs to call you for help. If she cannot do that, you will close the door to her room. She'll test it. Give her one warning, and then follow through, calmly reminding her that she chose to get out of bed, so her door needs to be closed. Give her a minute, then ask her if she's ready to stay in her bed with the door open. I suspect she'll say yes...

    Posted by akmom December 16, 09 08:47 AM
  1. i used a gate in the doorway of my sons bedroom. the one with the long bars so they can't climb. The first night he yelled and screamed but after that he stopped leaving his room. You want to do something before she eats the soap in the bathroom or gets hurt for real!

    Posted by Judgenot December 16, 09 09:25 AM
  1. You should consider yourself lucky it's only 2-3 times!! :-)

    Posted by pleasegotosleep December 16, 09 10:28 AM
  1. Safety is the biggest thing here...you don't want her wandering while you are sleeping...and who knows what she would get into...
    A gate is not a bad idea. It isn't going to hurt her.
    I don't have much for you except when you bring her back to her room it may take 100 times before she gets the point but stay consistent.

    Posted by jadee December 16, 09 10:33 AM
  1. A gate on her door is a great idea, or closing her door works, too. I don't think there's any problem with her just playing in her room quietly. At this age they are just learning the concept of "staying in bed." With my son, sometimes he turns on his light and lines up all his trucks in a row before he eventually falls asleep (a couple of times he's fallen asleep on the floor). I've decided not to be uptight about it as long as he stays in his room and understands that "bedtime" means "in your bedroom."

    Posted by anita December 16, 09 04:34 PM
  1. A gate across the door is necessary so they can't wander around in the dark if they wake up when you are asleep (especially if you have stairs).

    How about moving the bedtime a little bit earlier and letting her have some quiet time in bed with a picture book as a transition between whatever bedtime ritual you have, and sleep?

    It also works when they are starting to outgrow naps but need some down time.


    Posted by di December 16, 09 09:28 PM
 
6 comments so far...
  1. I disagree that a gate is the way to go - she'll just get out of bed and play in her room.

    Talk to her. Remind her that bedtime means that she needs to stay in her bed. If she needs to use the bathroom, get a drink, etc., she needs to call you for help. If she cannot do that, you will close the door to her room. She'll test it. Give her one warning, and then follow through, calmly reminding her that she chose to get out of bed, so her door needs to be closed. Give her a minute, then ask her if she's ready to stay in her bed with the door open. I suspect she'll say yes...

    Posted by akmom December 16, 09 08:47 AM
  1. i used a gate in the doorway of my sons bedroom. the one with the long bars so they can't climb. The first night he yelled and screamed but after that he stopped leaving his room. You want to do something before she eats the soap in the bathroom or gets hurt for real!

    Posted by Judgenot December 16, 09 09:25 AM
  1. You should consider yourself lucky it's only 2-3 times!! :-)

    Posted by pleasegotosleep December 16, 09 10:28 AM
  1. Safety is the biggest thing here...you don't want her wandering while you are sleeping...and who knows what she would get into...
    A gate is not a bad idea. It isn't going to hurt her.
    I don't have much for you except when you bring her back to her room it may take 100 times before she gets the point but stay consistent.

    Posted by jadee December 16, 09 10:33 AM
  1. A gate on her door is a great idea, or closing her door works, too. I don't think there's any problem with her just playing in her room quietly. At this age they are just learning the concept of "staying in bed." With my son, sometimes he turns on his light and lines up all his trucks in a row before he eventually falls asleep (a couple of times he's fallen asleep on the floor). I've decided not to be uptight about it as long as he stays in his room and understands that "bedtime" means "in your bedroom."

    Posted by anita December 16, 09 04:34 PM
  1. A gate across the door is necessary so they can't wander around in the dark if they wake up when you are asleep (especially if you have stairs).

    How about moving the bedtime a little bit earlier and letting her have some quiet time in bed with a picture book as a transition between whatever bedtime ritual you have, and sleep?

    It also works when they are starting to outgrow naps but need some down time.


    Posted by di December 16, 09 09:28 PM
add your comment
Required
Required (will not be published)

This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.

About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

Submit a question for Barbara's Mailbag


Ask Barbara a question

Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

Send your questions to her at:
meltzbarbara (at) gmail.com.
Please include your name and hometown.

Child in Mind

Moms
All parenting discussions
Discussions

High needs/fussy baby

memes98 writes "My 10.5 month old DS has been fussy ever since he was born, but I am getting very frustrated because I thought he would be much better by now...has anyone else been through this?"

More community voices

Child in Mind

Corner Kicks

Dirty Old Boston

Mortal Matters

On Deck

TEDx Beacon Street

RSS feed


click here to subscribe to
Child Caring

archives