Does your child keep opening her door to come to your room now that she’s in a bed? Learn how to keep your toddler in her room at night!
You finally made the transition from a crib to a toddler bed. One that allows your child not only to roam her room, but to open the door and leave.
But every night, right on cue around two in the morning, she’ll climb into your bed. You don’t mind the snuggles, but she clearly takes up bed space, leaving everyone sleep deprived.
Without the crib to keep her contained the way she used to be, she now keeps getting up in the middle of the night. Besides your bed, she has also been found playing in the living room (and even eating a snack!). You spend half the evening trying to get her to settle back into her room.
You want to keep her in her room at night, but have heard mixed opinions about the issue. The thought of locking her in the room sounds bad, but letting her roam the house also seems unsafe. Do you keep her locked in her room, and if so, how?
Why you should keep your toddler in her room
As you might have guessed, there’s no one right answer for this situation. I’m guessing though that, if you’re here, you’re more concerned with keeping your child in her room than debating whether to do so in the first place.
Below, I’ll share several tips on how to keep your toddler in her room at night, along with best practices to make this transition easier and smoother. But first, let’s talk about a few reasons to keep her in the room (in case you feel guilty for doing so):
- This is temporary. As she transitions into a toddler bed, consider this a temporary situation, not a permanent one. She’ll eventually stay in her bed after this brief period and you won’t have to lock her in.
- You’re still checking in on her at set times. You’re not just closing the door and calling it a night. Instead, you’ll check in on her several times until she falls asleep.
- She’s safer in her room. More than likely, her baby-proofed room is safer than if she were to roam the other rooms of the house. You’ll also know exactly where she is in case of a real emergency.
- She was already “confined” in her crib. If the thought of keeping her from opening the door breaks your heart, remember that she was already “stuck” in her crib. Think of her room as an extension of the crib—before, she couldn’t get out of the crib, and now the same is true with her room.
Free resource: Do you struggle with getting her to listen? Join my newsletter and discover the ONE effective word to get her to listen and follow instructions. Grab your PDF below—at no cost to you:
How to keep your toddler in her room at night
The biggest reason to keep the door locked in some way is that your situation simply isn’t working.
You tried walking her back to her room except, over two hours later, you ended up relenting and letting her stay in your bed. She’s walking all over the house, and you’re afraid she could hurt herself along the way. No one in the family is getting any sleep or feeling rested.
So, how can you keep her in her room at night? Take a look at these tips and methods below:
1. Use a doorknob cover
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.
The last thing you want to do is to pull the door shut on one side while your toddler tries to pull it open on the other. Instead, use a doorknob cover on the inside of the room. This prevents her from turning the knob and roaming the house. Remove it once she knows to stay in bed through the night.
Doorknob covers are also useful for rooms you don’t want her entering on her own, like your office or the guest bedroom.
2. Turn the doorknob around
One simple hack to keep your toddler from opening the door is to turn the doorknobs around (assuming you have ones that lock). Rather than having the knob with the lock on the inside of the room, switch it around so it’s outside.
Again, once she’s sleeping through the night, you can then switch it back to the way it was. This is also useful in preventing her from accidentally locking herself in the room.
3. Use a baby gate or stair gate
Do you still have the baby gate you used to keep your toddler out of certain rooms as an infant? Reuse it for her bedroom door. Place it just outside the door, preventing her from getting out. She can still open the door, but won’t be able to leave.
If she can climb the gate, you might want to use two gates, one on top of the other.
4. Check in at set times
Keeping her in the room doesn’t mean you close the door and never check on her. Instead, check in at set times. Once you close the door, set your timer for 5 minutes, at which point you’ll go to her room and remind her that it’s time to sleep.
Repeat the same at 10 and 15 minutes (and every 15 minutes thereafter if needed). She’ll feel reassured that you’re still here, while getting the message that she should sleep in her room.
Keep your check-ins brief, too. The goal isn’t to calm her down so she stops crying, but for you to make sure all is okay and for her to know you’re here. Keep these check-ins to no more than 30 seconds, popping your head in to reassure her.
Want to see what she’s doing between these check-ins? Use the baby monitor you used when she was an infant. This is a great way to check on her without having to go in her room (and riling her up even more).
5. Use a toddler alarm clock
Some toddlers get out of bed not in tears or frustration, but because they don’t know when they can. “Wake up time is at 7am” doesn’t help when your toddler doesn’t know when 7am happens.
One tool to help is a toddler alarm clock. Many will either light up a particular color or play a tune at a certain time, signaling to her that she can get out of her room. Rather than figuring out the hands of the clock or even the numbers on a digital one, she sees a clear cue when it’s time to get up.
It’s no fun when your toddler keeps opening her bedroom door to come to your bed or roam the house. Whether in the middle of the night or in the morning, keeping her in her room will help the whole family feel rested.
One way to keep her in her room is to use doorknob covers, preventing her from turning the knob. You can also invert your doorknob if it comes with a lock, so you can lock it from the outside. A baby gate (or two) allows her to open the door but keeps her from going outside.
Check in on her at set times so she knows you’re here while getting the message that she should sleep in her room. And lastly, an alarm clock can send a clear signal when she can get out of it.
Soon, she’ll stay in her room all night—long past her usual 2am wake ups.
Get more tips:
- 5 Tips to Stop Your Toddler Waking Up Too Early
- Top 6 Tips to Get Through the Toddler Sleep Regression
- Transitioning to a Toddler Bed at 18 Months
- When Your 1 Year Old Is Waking Up at Night and NOT Going Back to Sleep
- Toddler Fighting Sleep? 5 Tips You Haven’t Tried
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your PDF below—at no cost to you: