Toddlers, especially, are so adorable in the morning. When you gently wake your little one, and you make eye contact, you are always greeted with his smile and stretched out arms—no better way to start your day.
Mornings are indeed an excellent time for you and your toddler to bond. But what do you do if the day doesn’t start so well? It only takes a split second for your morning rituals to turn sour. And another split second to start a panic. Not the way you wanted to start your day.
You have discovered your toddler is asleep, against his door! And you can’t get in because he is pushing on the door as he sleeps. The door swings into the room, not out. Therefore you can’t get in.
Is he a toddler, right? he or she only weighs enough to put pressure on the door to cause it to feel ‘locked.’ Why not just gently push the door open, sliding the toddler across the floor as you open it? Maybe, maybe not.
To make matters worse, it’s not the first time it has happened, and you are beginning to worry about their sleep habits. Relax and take a deep breath as we try to give you some information and solutions for a toddler who sleeps against the door.
Don’t Open the Door!
A child asleep by the door may not be aware he is by the door. Their first reaction of the day may be one of sudden hysterics. Analyze the problem. If you can and weather permitting, take an outside look into his bedroom.
When you are sure, there are no items around the child to cause him to hurt himself, then gently open the door. Sometimes a toddler’s room is a dumping ground for all of their toys. If the child is suddenly woke up from the position, he could fall. He could roll over into a pile of toys and be injured.
So, the first task is to assure his or her safety before bolting into the room.
Re-think the Door
Suppose your toddler has the habit of getting out of bed and falling asleep against the door. It may be time for a bit of renovation.
Most doors swing ‘into’ the room in which you are entering. Very rarely does a door swing out before you enter the room. Those doors who do swing out is usually for a reason, like a small half-bath. The door (some not all) will swing out to prevent it from crashing into the toilet, or the vanity.
In some instances, a bedroom door might need to swing-out. It would seem a door swinging out of the child’s room is a possible solution. And if dad is real DIY savvy, it could be a chance for him to come to the rescue!
If dad isn’t a DIY’er, then get you some bids from local contractors. Explain to them the importance of the project, ask if they are licensed and insured. There will be no ‘shady’ contractors for a toddler room project.
Teaching Good Sleep Habits
If remodeling the toddler’s room is not feasible, then you may need to spend time teaching. Teaching good sleeping habits is just as important as teaching good daytime habits. Remember, everything in their world is a learning process. You are the one they trust to learn. It’s time to turn into ‘super-parent’ and use those ‘super-parent powers.’
After a few door episodes, begin the importance of staying safely in bed lessons. Try using those precious moments at bedtime to engrave their mind to stay in bed. Pull out all of the stops here.
Tell them you got a call from Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Curious George whoever they are into. Tell them their superhero wants them to get a good night’s sleep, and it’s important to stay in bed. You could even type up a document on the computer and stuff into an envelope and tell them they have some mail. Children love to get their mail! The read them the letter from (fill in the blank)and re-read it at bedtime. Over and over. Superhero letters are great tools for teaching.
Also, try a ‘star chart.’ Make a chart similar to a calendar. Tell them every night if they stay in bed they will get to put a star on the chart. Star charts work well for several teaching opportunities.
Purposely Block the Door
If you still have a door sleeper, block the door. Place a heavy door stop so the door can’t completely shut. Use one big enough for you to stick your head into the room and analyze the situation.
You can also try to listen during the night for the door to go ‘thump’ against the stop. Then get the child and place him or her back in bed. Also, use the ever-popular baby monitor to keep an ear out for the door expedition. Maybe you can catch them in the act and either rule out or confirm you have a sleepwalker.
Is it Possible to Change Rooms?
If there is another room you can put the toddler in, do it. A room with two entrances, such as a hall bathroom with an interior door opening into a bedroom, is ideal. It gives you two ways to enter the toddler’s room. And it gives the child his bathroom.
If you do not have an ideal bedroom-bathroom floor plan, it could be the subject of a more in-depth remodel. Pricey? Yes, but consider the purpose it will serve. If it is totally out of the budget, start using those ‘super parent powers’ to come up with another plan. Awesome parents always have a plan, and you are an awesome parent.
Good sleeping habits are probably some of the more difficult ones to teach. You are usually dealing with a tired, grumpy toddler. It’s hard to teach when ‘grumpy kid’ is around.
Lie beside them, allow them to calm down a bit, and then give some love and affection.