Should Parents Close Their Bedroom Door at Night?
Parents often wonder if they should close their bedroom door at night or keep it open. There are good arguments on both sides of this issue. Here is an in-depth look at the pros and cons of closing a parent’s bedroom door at night.
Reasons to Keep the Bedroom Door Open
Here are some of the main reasons why parents may want to keep their bedroom door open at night:
Easier to Hear Children
One of the biggest reasons parents leave their door open is so they can hear if their child needs them during the night. With the door open, noises from a baby monitor or the sounds of a child crying or calling out will be more audible. This allows parents to respond and tend to their child’s needs quickly.
An open door allows parents to better monitor the safety of young children during the night. If a child gets up and wanders around the house, the parents will be able to hear them. This prevents potential accidents like a child falling down stairs or getting into something dangerous.
Access in an Emergency
With the door open, children can quickly and easily get to their parents in an emergency. This could be anything from a bad dream to not feeling well. An open door removes a barrier between parent and child.
As children get older, an open door at night can give them a sense of independence. They can make the choice to come to their parents if needed. At the same time, parents can still hear and monitor them. This builds confidence and self-sufficiency.
Some families simply prefer having an open door policy at night. Even with older children, some parents like the openness and accessibility this provides. It’s a personal choice that works for their family situation.
Reasons to Close the Bedroom Door
Here are some of the main reasons why parents may want to close their bedroom door at night:
With the door closed, parents have more privacy and intimacy in their bedroom. They can unwind, talk, and go about their regular nighttime routine without interruption. Closing the door establishes the parents’ bedroom as their private space.
Children can sometimes have trouble settling down at night. An open door invites them to call out or come to their parents frequently over small issues. A closed door sets a boundary that tells children their parents are trying to sleep.
Closing the door can encourage children to self-soothe and handle nighttime issues themselves. If they can’t see or hear their parents, they may be more likely to try to settle themselves back to sleep. This builds self-reliance.
Some families close the door to reduce noises coming from the parents’ bedroom. This could include a loud television, talking, music, intimacy, minor arguments, etc. These sounds can disrupt children’s sleep, so closing the door contains them.
For children who have a tendency to get up and wander the house at night, a closed door can help limit this behavior. The barrier keeps children safely in their beds unless there is an emergency. Parents still can hear crying or calls for help.
Other Door Options to Consider
Rather than being fully open or closed, some parents use other options when it comes to their bedroom door at night. Here are a few to consider:
Leave the Door Ajar
Rather than fully open or closed, some parents leave their door slightly ajar at night. This still allows air flow and some sound to travel through, but maintains a level of separation. The door can quickly be opened wider if needed.
Use a Baby Monitor
Installing a quality baby monitor allows parents to fully close their door while still being able to hear children. With video monitoring, they can also check in visually. This provides full privacy while still monitoring kids.
Install a Gate
For parents with toddlers, installing a safety gate across the bedroom door is an option. This still allows airflow and noise, but keeps little ones safely contained in their own beds at night unless they call for mom and dad.
Transition as Kids Grow
Many parents start with an open door when children are young and transition to closing it more as kids grow up. Setting expectations and explaining reasons for the change help kids adjust. Slowly closing the door over time eases the shift.
Setting a Schedule or Routine
Rather than leaving the door fully open or closed all night, some families establish a schedule or nightly routine for the bedroom door. This provides a mix of open and closed door benefits. Some options include:
- Keeping the door open during a standard bedtime routine, then closing it once kids are settled for the night.
- Closing the door when parents go to bed, but opening it again if they wake in the night to use the bathroom, get water, etc.
- Having set check-in times during the night when parents open the door to visually confirm kids are safe and sleeping soundly.
- Keeping the door closed on weeknights so there are fewer disruptions on school nights, but leaving it open on weekends to allow kids to come snuggle in mom and dad’s bed in the morning.
- Creating a sign or signal system like a note, colored light, or other visual cue that indicates when kids can come to their parents’ room (door open) vs. when parents want private time (door closed).
Factors to Consider in Your Decision
When deciding whether to close your bedroom door at night or keep it open, here are some important factors for parents to consider:
Child’s Age and Maturity Level
The needs of a toddler are very different than a tween. Consider your child’s ability to self-soothe and handle issues independently based on their age and development. This likely changes over time.
Sleep Habits and Patterns
Factor in how well your child typically sleeps through the night and if they have a tendency to wander or need frequent parental reassurance overnight due to bad dreams, etc. This may require more diligent monitoring.
Physical Safety and Medical Needs
Parents of children with mobility limitations or special medical needs may need to keep their door open to quickly respond if equipment alarms go off or immediate help is required.
House Layout and Proximity
In some homes, the parent’s bedroom is right next to the child’s, while in others, it’s on another floor. Distance can impact sound monitoring and emergency access needs.
Temperament and Personality
The child’s general temperament plays a role. Cautious children may do better with the door ajar vs. adventurous kids who need containment. Extroverts may request more parent interaction at night.
Family Values and Preferences
Some families value privacy while others promote closeness and accessibility. There are also cultural factors to consider. Determine what works best for your family’s needs and belief system.
Consistency and Routines
It’s usually best to avoid constantly switching back and forth each night. Pick what works best and stick with it consistently to establish good sleep habits and expectations.
Pros and Cons of Closing a Parent’s Bedroom Door at Night
| Pros | Cons |
| More privacy and adult time | Harder to hear child at night |
| Limits disruptions and wandering | Less ability to monitor safety |
| Encourages child independence | Potential barriers in emergency|
| Contains noises and distractions | Less accessibility for child needs|
| Establishes boundary and authority | May feel distant for some families|
There are good arguments on both sides of whether parents should close their bedroom door at night or keep it open. Factors like child age, safety, sleep habits, house layout, family values, and consistency in routines should be considered. Many parents use options like keeping the door ajar, using a baby monitor, or creating a nighttime schedule to get a mix of the benefits from open and closed doors. With a thoughtful approach, parents can make the right bedroom door decision for their family’s unique needs and situation. The most important thing is setting kids up for healthy sleep while still providing protection and responsive parenting at night. With creativity and flexibility, parents can achieve this balance.