Is this “crazy” thing Kristen Bell does to get her kids to sleep really OK?

kristen bell and dax shepard

Possibly we’ve all been in Kristen Bell’s shoes? Doing something that is actually a little bit bonkers in the name of finally getting some shut-eye and keeping our wakeful kids in bed?

“She’d rather not stay in her room at all”

Mum-of-two Kristen was stopped on the red carpet recently, and when the interviewer asked her if she’d ever done anything crazy to get her kids to sleep she was characteristically forthcoming.

“Yeah, I’ll get controversial,” Kristen told Babble, because her filter is reliably on the fritz and also because she flies the flag for real, non-perfect parenting.

“My three-year-old decided to stop sleeping about nine months ago,” Kristen revealed, explaining that her daughter would much rather move bedroom furniture, play with the lights and create a general common than sleep. In fact, she’d rather not stay in her room at all.

“We turned the lock on the outside”

To combat this wakeful and wandering approach, Kristen and husband Dax Shepard called in the reinforcements. Perhaps you’re thinking they dialled the number of a sleep expert or a child behaviour guru? Nope. They called the handyman. We’ll let Kristen tell you why.

“We switched the doorknob. We turned the lock on the outside.” 

Wait, what?

“I’m sorry, I know that’s controversial,” the actor admits.

Apparently they put their youngest daughter Delta to bed and say, “We love you and will see you in the morning, but now it’s time to sleep.”

Kristen says it takes 10 minutes or so for things to calm down in there, and when Delta’s safely asleep, they unlock the door again. 

Okay. No.

To lock or not to lock?

It’s important to note that locking kids in their rooms at bedtime is not really a good idea.

Not only will it distress and possibly scare your tired and confused kiddo, it teaches them to stay in their room because they have no other choice, rather than because it’s what’s expected at bedtime. It misses the parenting mark for the sake of convenience.

An upset child locked in their room might also get themselves into tricky situations that could do serious harm, especially if they’re strong enough to push furniture around or distressed enough to throw themselves on the floor or try to plan a dangerous escape.

It’s a thing

That said, plenty of parents seem to adopt this approach or be curious about trying it at the very least. A quick Google search yields 1 million plus results for information about the wisdom of locking kids in their bedrooms. Many, many parents are wringing their hands over this strategy, at the end of their tether but not sure if a lock-in is the way forward.

One Mumsnet commenter summed up many others’ feelings about this practice:

“Please don’t lock your children in their bedroom. Not because social services would intervene just for that, but it really is sub-optimal parenting. No one should be locked in a room, don’t treat your children like that.”

While we understand that sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to save your sanity, it’s important to weigh up any approach with what is safest and best for all. In this case, locking the door needs a rethink, we think!

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