Locking children in their rooms is not acceptable, according to Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, a certified clinical psychologist, Yale educator, and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Aside from the fact that it is unnecessary with a well-thought-out moderate behavioral strategy, there is also the critical factor of safety. If your child sees what a locked door looks like, they will be forced to act out their frustrations through destructive behaviors such as kicking, hitting, or pulling things off of shelves. This is especially true if they are able to open the door themselves.
It is important to understand that locking your child in their room does not mean that you want them to suffer. Rather, it is a last resort when other options have been tried and failed. If you do choose to lock your child in their room, make sure that it is a room where they will be comfortable and not exposed to danger. The room should have nothing dangerous in it such as knives, guns, chemicals, or open flames. It should also be a quiet area where they can relax.
Young children need time outside of their rooms too. Give your toddler a chance to socialize by letting them play with toys that are appropriate for their age in locations where they won't be harmed (such as the kitchen or back yard). This will help them feel comfortable around new situations and allow them to develop at their own pace.
Locking a child's bedroom door violates various fire rules and can be a major red flag for child protective services. However, if a very determined youngster is experiencing a sleep regression, it may be necessary to restrict their ability to leave the room, at least temporarily.
Should children be permitted to lock their doors? Yes, unless the child has consistently demonstrated to be untrustworthy behind closed doors. Allowing your child to lock a door does not imply you are barred from entering that room as a parent. You can still enter. It just means that if there's a danger inside that would prevent your child from hearing you, they can lock the door and trap the threat inside with them.
The main reason why people don't let their kids lock their doors is because they don't want them to feel trapped or scared. However, this only serves to isolate the child even further since there was a danger that they weren't able to escape. If your child tells you they're afraid of someone outside that could hurt them when they're by themselves, allow them to lock their door. Some children find relief in knowing that they can hide away from danger.
The most effective way to protect your child is by teaching them the importance of being aware of their surroundings and taking appropriate actions. Locking your child out of their room does not accomplish this goal since they can still be unaware of their surroundings and get trapped without you knowing about it. If you really want your child to learn how to protect themselves, let them see you take measures to protect yourself too. For example, if there's a dangerous person outside their window, show them how to call for help using a loud speaker or alarm clock.
If your kid is severely scared and you fear they will not be able to bear being alone in their room, it is OK to periodically stay by their bed until they fall asleep. It is not advised that this occurs too frequently, or even two nights in a row, because your youngster may begin to rely on your presence. This leaves them more exposed if someone tries to harm them.
Leaving a child alone in their room can also be dangerous if they have access to a knife, hammer, or other sharp object. You should discuss any safety issues with your kids so there are no surprises when you go over their room. Make sure they know not to open any doors or windows!
Finally, keep in mind that although it is acceptable to leave your child alone in their room for short periods of time, such as when you go to use the bathroom or if an intruder enters the house, anyone who stays longer than that could be considered negligent. Even if you think it's only for a few minutes, children need to learn how to cope with loneliness and fear. That ability will help them through many things life throws their way.