Questions on Bed Transitions, Gate at Door, and Sleep

I hope you are all having a great Monday!

We had a great week with my dad visiting, seeing the huge sea lion at the Seward Sea Life Center, hiking up Exit Glacier, going on a bike ride, running a half marathon, and climbing up Flattop.  I just cried dropping him off at the airport (like I always do when it’s time to say “bye” to family again) but I am ready for a few days of quiet. It’s been a busy week! We’re tired!

We have a week and a half before our next set of visitors come ( bro & sis in law & 1 year old nephew!) and something we really want to work on before that is the sleeping situation with our kiddos. I know these transitions will probably be easier than they seem, but I still have a lot of questions.

I’d love to hear what has worked for your family!

Current Situation: 

Lucas in crib.
Joshua in pack n’ play.
Joshua in our room — waking up multiple times at night.
Lucas in his room — sleeps through the night. (most nights.)

I want to get Joshua out of our bedroom and in the same room as Lucas. He is waking up way too much at night out of pure habit and routine.

Goal: (time goal is a little over a week, before next family comes to visit.)

Both boys in their shared room
Lucas in bed (I think this should be a fairly easy  as he already loves it and asks to sleep in it.)
Joshua in crib


1. If we put Joshua in the crib in their bedroom while he is still waking up all night, Lucas will also wake up. I was thinking we would put Joshua in the pack n’ play, in the guest room for a week or so while we worked on getting him to sleep longer stretches at night. Then once he is sleeping better, move him to the crib.
2. Is that too many transitions? Bassinet –> pack n’ play in moms room –> pack n’ play in guest room –> crib in new bedroom. Maybe just go straight to the crib and work on everyone sleeping at once??
3. Gate: If we put a gate at Lucas’s door way, he can’t get out. But, he can’t come get us if he needs us, either. But I guess that isn’t any different when he’s in his crib and he calls for us. We worry about him waking up in the middle of the night and walking around or coming downstairs or something. I don’t want to put a gate at the top of the stairs, I think that would be such a hassle to walk over/move it every time we go up and down the stairs which is a lot throughout the day.

I think maybe the best option would be to put up a gate at night so he can’t leave. But then we can’t close the door. The door needs to be closed so the room stays quiet and dark. SO- maybe no gate and door closed and just teach him that he doesn’t leave his room till mom & dad come get him. Is that a crazy thought?

4. What about safety for Lucas in the bedroom? All outlet covers are covered, there are only books & clothes in his room (no toys) there is a fan — but I don’t think he would play with it. Dresser is on wall, closet doors are closed.

What else am I missing? Tell me everything I need to know!


Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

12 thoughts on “Questions on Bed Transitions, Gate at Door, and Sleep

  1. Step 1-Tether your furniture. Anything & everything that could topple should be tethered to the walls. It would help if I took my own advice, but with your little one out of the crib it is VERY important!

    Step 2-I'd leave the door ajar so Lucas can get out and gate off any areas you wouldn't want him to go.

    When we put Luke in the toddler bed, we put the baby gate just past his door in the hall. He can ONLY get to us. Now, we don't need the gate & he just comes straight to me when he wakes up. (I hear him wake up on the monitor & am normally awake with my arms waiting for him when he gets to our room.)

    As far as I know/can tell, he doesn't ever try to play or anything before coming to get me. He also doesn't wake up on his own…he's almost always in our bed by morning. 😦 (Yes, we're still co-sleeping with #2 due in 7-9 weeks.)

  2. With my kids when I transitioned them into their “big” beds, I put a gate at the door. I left the door open, because they aren't bothered by normal noises, and my three year old doesn't like the door shut. If they needed me in the night, they would go stand by the gate and cry and I would hear them and go get them. Now that they're bigger, I still put the gate up as they're going to bed, otherwise they'd keep getting out of their rooms. But now I take it down (they're almost 3 and almost 4) when I go to bed, so that they can get up to use the potty or come get me if needed. And, yes, some nights, they find their way into my bed. But most nights they sleep just fine in their own beds.

    I DID find my almost-4 year old playing with dinosaurs and cars quietly in the living room one morning at about 6:30, but he wasn't hurting anyone, so I didn't worry about it.

  3. We just moved our daughter into a toddler bed a few weeks ago. We also have 3 other boys in the room next to her.

    We close the door until she and the boys are asleep then we open the door and put up the gate so that when she wakes up she can't go out of her room. She is 3 years old and disabled and doesn't quite understand where she can and can't go. She ALWAYS ends up in the kid's bathroom no matter what you tell her!

    We have also been thinking about moving the baby into her room as well. When we make that transition we will work on Little Girl sleeping/waking when the baby does.

    Hope everything works out well for you!

  4. Joshua might sleep better on the crib mattress, so not sure if just moving the pack-n-play will help.

    Do you think that Lucas might be inclined to “help” the baby by putting toys and blankies and stuff in his crib at night? Pixie tries to give Chappy things all the time, but she is 2 years old and he is 12 weeks, and she is putting things into his playpen during the day, or just bringing him toys, pacifier, etc.

  5. I don't think that's a crazy thought about teaching him to stay put until you come get him. We did that with Ingrid, she was good at it. Never had a gate, never had any issues with her getting up or walking around at night.

  6. I would transition Lucas over first. It probably won't take but a few days to get it down. Then move Joshua in. They normally get used to the other sibling in there so even if Joshua cried it probably wouldn't effect Lucas much after the first few times.

    With my daughter, we put her to bed with the door closed and then crack it after she's asleep. She normally stays in bed all night and in the mornings she usually comes straight into our room. We have everything baby proofed so there is nothing she could get hurt with, and I leave out some dry snack and a sippy of water she can have if she starts looking on the kitchen table without me there.

  7. Is Lucas napping in his bed? I'd start there first, just to get him used to it. We transitioned my son to a “bed” (a mattress on the floor) when he was about 14 months old, but we coslept before that and he REFUSED to sleep in a crib or pack and play. He NEVER gets out of bed when he wakes up, but I think that's unusual (he's almost 2 now).

    Once he's comfortable in his bed, I'd try Joshua in the guest room for a while just to make sure that it's the proximity to you that's making him wake up, and not just him needing to nurse. After he's good there, maybe they'll be ready to share a room. Hopefully!

    My littlest is still in our room (she's almost 5 months) but I'd like to move her into her brother's room soon. Problem is, he REALLY loves her and gets super-excited any time she's around, so I'm a little concerned about sleep…

  8. I'll be the odd voice out here but it is just what we personally have done with our almost 2 year old this week.

    Don't force the transitions, let the child initiate them. For us we had E in our room in her pack n play until about 7 months, then we moved her to her own room/ crib and the transition to sleeping thought the night took time and patience.

    We waited to transition until the major risks of SIDS had passed and when her sleeping cycle got longer.

    I was still doing night time nursing and comforting once or twice a night but it gradually became less and less frequently until she slept through the night.

    The babies wake and feed so often because they need to and trying to force them out of it can be rough it seems.

    Each kiddo is different so just trust your gut and watch his cues and needs. I think I would do the guest room to shared room transition thing…

    See if that goes okay, if not the little one may enjoy and benefit from the company of sleeping in the room with his big bro.

    As for baby proofing, secure all the furniture, electronics and when it is toddler/ baby safe for unsupervised time there isn't anything wrong with closing them in there. Maybe with a baby monitor? So you can still hear what they are up to. 🙂

    Let us know how it goes and just follow your instincts. There isn't one right way to do it, each kid & family is different.

  9. I would transition Lucas to the bed and then the baby to the crib. I wouldn't do the pack and play step. My 3 kids share a room at the moment. The baby still wakes but it doesn't wake the older kids. I started putting the baby in the crib around 7-8 months. I did the same with my son when my daughter was a toddler. I use a white noise machine.

    Close the door. The toddler can call to you if he needs you. That way it keeps the noise of the house out and it is safer in the case of a fire.

    Secure the furniture, put outlet covers in and get rid of chokables. I never found it hard to transition a toddler to a bed.

  10. I used a child lock on the inside of the door until my daughter stayed in her bed consistently. White noise will work wonders but I think you said you already have a fan in there? No matter what you do be consistent. Put Lucas down the exact same way, at the same time every night. If he wakes while adjusting to the toddler bed, do not talk or make eye contact. Strictly business. Just put him right back in bed over and over. Eventually he will stay there. Maybe if you removed the crib and didn't give him a choice? I think your goal of one week is asking a lot to transition two kids at the same time. Esp since you already created a bad habit by letting Joshua sleep with you this long. He hasn't learned to self soothe yet because of this. Maybe after your guests, you put the crib in the guest room until they are both staying in their beds all night and sleeping ALL night. Then you move the crib back to Lucas' room for them to share. But Joshua in the pack n play is a great way to transition him out of your bed and into the crib you just have to teach him to stay asleep and soothe himself back to sleep on his own before you worry about where he sleeps.

  11. Thanks Stephanie! I personally don't think that letting Joshua sleep with me was creating a bad habit. I love sleeping with my babies. 🙂 He is in the pack n' play now and is doing great!

  12. We close the baby's door and then just prop the gate up against the door frame. If she does try to escape, she has to knock over the gate and surely will wake us up.

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