My daughter is 2 1/2 & has been getting out of bed at night for months. I have twins & they sleep in the same room. That is currently our only option. My husband & I are at wits end trying to keep her in her room. She'll scream for what seems like hours. We have pocket doors so locking them is out. We just have to stay up & take turns holding the door shut. Is there any advise you can give us?
From: Tina, Mundelein, IL
You probably moved her out of the crib too soon (to make way for the babies?) . So here's Option 1: Bring the crib back. That may sound counter-intuitive and perhaps downright weird/wrong, but the trick is in the presentation: Not, "I guess you're not a big girl, after all," but: "Look! You missed your crib so much, we brought it back."
Option 2: Use a gate at the doorway. That essentially makes the entire room a crib, so you want to be sure that there's no way she can hurt herself, and it also sets the "stay-in-your-room" limit that she's developmentally unable to meet on her own. As I've said here before, I'm not a big fan of gates, but I certainly prefer it to a locked door, or to your current solution which is not sustainable over time. It does, however, raise the question of: what about the twins? Won't she wake them up? In his best-selling book, "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, expanded edition)," Richard Ferber writes that this is a typical concern for parents but unnecessarily so. Most of the time, the other child/ren will either sleep through the disturbance or fall back to sleep without difficulty, or return to sleeping normally after a few nights. In the worst case, he writes, move the other child/ren to another room (yours!) for the time you are training your daughter to re-learn to sleep on her own.
Option 3. Make a pallet for her in your bedroom, with a sleeping bag or blankets. Tell her she can come sleep there when she needs to, but she can't wake you up. She may be too young for this but, depending on how sleep deprived you are (!), it's worth a try. The obvious down-side, of course, is that you create another habit that will need unlearning down the road.
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