Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: Securing Naptime

As a mom of toddlers, their naptime is SO important to me. It's the one time during the day that I have a chunk of time to do anything that needs to be done. If I'm tired, I can nap. If laundry needs folded, phone calls need to be made, blogging "needs" to be done (haha!), this is the time that I can do it. It's often the best time for me to spend time with God!

So, I wondered what would happen when I moved my first toddler from a crib to a toddler bed (at 18 months!). I certainly couldn't lock him in there, but how could I secure this naptime, and how would I keep him from coming out, wandering the halls, or getting into anything and everything...especially if I was trying to nap?

Enter the gate! :)

My mom, mother of NINE children (yes, I have 8 siblings!), encouraged me to put up a tension gate in the door frame outside of my son's bedroom. It became my saving grace! We bought the gate seen here. I would put my son down for his naps, read to him, kiss him and close the door. I'd then put up the gate right outside of his door. If he would get out of bed and open the door, which he often did, the gate would remind him that it was still naptime; he'd play, or crawl back into bed. If he needed me, I could hear him, and he could see out. BUT, he couldn't escape!

My son is now almost 3. We still use the gate outside of his room, even though now he can push it down with some force. But, it still serves as a reminder to him that as long as the gate is up, he needs to stay in his room. And, he still takes a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon! On the occasion that he doesn't sleep the whole time, he reads, plays in his bed, and just has rest time.

Please understand that I am not saying that the gate should serve as a substitute for instruction. Teaching him to stay in his room and obey is very important. But, my children were 18 months apart, so when I first started using the gate, I was nursing and caring for a newborn. Using the gate helped me to secure naptime for my toddler, who very much needed it, and to secure one for myself!

The gate. Works for me!

*You can see more Works For Me Wednesday tips at Rocks In My Dryer each week. If you have a tip to share, go to her site and add your tip! The guidelines can be found here.


  1. I've done this too, when Toddler didn't want to stay in his room for naptime. It worked well because he hates his door shut but it kept him in without him feeling locked in.

  2. We used a gate with our first child. Worked well, when he would just want to wander out of his room. With our second, we were a "wise on her" at the beginning. We'd tell her to stay in the bed. And then continue to train her and brother to stay in bed. Though, occasionally they do seem to wander into our bed into the middle of the night. Might think about bringing out the gate! :) At some point they do conquer the gate.

    My kids also hate the door being closed.

  3. great idea. funny story; my 19 year old daughter just told me the other day how she and her younger brother would leave their respective rooms to "visit" each other during nap time. she said they would play together without uttering a word. *gasp* i had no idea.

  4. We have two gates...both originally used to keep our dog in the kitchen. Now we use it everywhere! I love your naptime idea, and will try it soon!

  5. I did this. My kids were born 19 months apart and it really saved my sanity. Our house at the time also had a ridiculously high balcony right outside their rooms that overlooked a tile floor. {shudder}

    I think this is a much safer solution to the wandering toddler than locking the door or just praying that nothing happens to them while they wander around the house while you're sleeping at night.

  6. I am TOTALLY for rest time daily. My 4 year old hasn't napped in a LONG time and still must rest each day (hence me writing this comment). Such a GREAT routine to continue as they give up naps as well.

    We never did the gate though, ourselves - just a good 'ole fashion wooden spoon in the hall. That worked for us. I have had many friends use the gate successfully until kids were older to "train" to stay in there. I do like the training because now we can say "go to your room" for a punishment and they go and stay.

    Of course your kids keep on coming mighty close together...he he - the gate will be your friend for a LONG time!

  7. I like this too. As soon as she discovered she could escape..she did! Now I find all kinds of treasures in her room after she has venture out before she finally napped. I might have to try to gate!

  8. This would have been helpful when my first one was put in a bed at 18 months! We spent many a night or afternoon putting her back in her bed. Oh well, live and learn. Fortunately after a few months she learned to stay in her room and mostly just calls if she needs us (what an easy child).

  9. This is good - I soon need to start putting the baby in the pack n play and get him used to playing in there - especially if he is awake when we do school.

    I have started thinking about putting the gate at the bottom of the stairs too - but I love the idea of it outside of the door!

  10. This is what I'll be doing when I transfer my kid to a bed (not at 18 months though). Come see how I wash my toddler's hands and face without fuss.