The Tape Trick


Does your kid have a hard time staying in his/her room at bedtime?  Mine does, and it was making me crazy.  Like insane, haven’t-slept-through-the-night, can’t-remember-where-my-glasses-are-when-they’re-on-my-head, sleep-deprived, newborn crazy.

I had read about this trick somewhere, a long time ago, maybe in Heathy Sleep Habits, Happy Child?  I really don’t remember, but it popped into my head one night last week, and it has worked so well I HAD to share. Though the tape trick is not very crafty, if even one Prudent Mama gets a good night’s sleep because of this, it will have been worth it.  Get the full details on The Tape Trick after the jump…

The Tape Trick: Stay in your room baby child!

1.  Get some tape.  I went with purple duct tape to please my daughter, Miss Purple Pants.

2.  Cut three pieces of tape, about 4″ long or so.  Open the child’s bedroom door all the way, and place one piece of tape on the floor aligned with the door.

Close the door halfway and place another piece of tape on the floor aligned with the door.

Close the door so it’s just cracked a tiny bit and place the last piece of tape on the floor.

3.  Explain the rules to the kiddo.  Tell them they are a big kid now, and big kids use the tape system.  At bedtime, the door will be wide open, aligned to the first piece of tape.  The first time he/she leaves her room (for anything other than an actually necessary trip to the potty), the kiddo will be returned to bed, and the door will be closed halfway, aligned to the second piece of tape.  The second time he/she leaves her room, she’ll be sent right back to bed, and the door will be closed further, to just a crack, aligned with the third piece of tape.  If Mr./Mrs. Cranky Pants leaves their room a third time, the door is going to be shut all the way.  Make sure they understand the rules and act it out.

The first night I did this, Miss Scarlet left her room one time, the door was closed halfway to the 2nd piece of tape, and she GOT IT.  She hasn’t left her room after bedtime since.  She says “I want door open to DAT tape” (pointing to widest tape setting), and I reply something like “of course, that’s up to you, as long as you choose to stay in your room the door will stay open.”

Also, the first morning after I implemented this plan, I discovered she had covered the tape in stickers.  An embellisher after my own heart, I adore her.

I love this trick because it takes the battle away, sort of like…it’s not me telling you what to do little girl, it’s the rule of the tape: it’s up to you to determine how far this door is open, but the tape bends for no man.

Have any of you tried this trick?  Did it work for you?  Do you have any other stay-in-your-room tips for us?

Also, in case you are curious, here’s some of the DIYs for the stuff you see in scarlet’s room:
Pom Pom Curtains
Pom Pom Pillow
Duvet Cover
Simple Snuggly Baby Blanket
And because everytime I post a pic, people email to ask – that bed is from Ikea!  It’s the cutest, I love it.  Here it is: Minnen Extendable Bed.

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63 Comments

Shannon

OMG, this is genius! I have 3 boys (4 and under)all sharing one room right now (til the baby STTN) and I am so worn out from them getting out of bed, yelling, etc. It's naptime now so I went and put tape down and explained the rules. You know what I'm hearing right now? The sweet sound of NOTHING! Thanks PB 😀

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cheldi

Cute idea! It's a non-issue in my house since our kids have always slept with doors closed. They know that until Mommy opens the door, nap or bedtime is NOT over yet! I can see this working really well, though.

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Jan

Brilliant! I wish I had this trick when my kids were little and my youngest would creep into our room at about 2:00am with his blanket and sleep on the floor next to us. Cute … for the first few months … (BTW – He's 29 now and sleeping in his own bed just fine.) 🙂
I will be passing this idea on to my son and the best daughter-in-law ever!
Thanks!

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Jaime

cheldi – i'm with you! we were door-closed always (with a kid-proof door knob cover) until needing to leave for the potty became an issue. then it was a battle zone, sigh. jan i love hearing when someone adores their DIL!

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D?D

To me this sounds truly genius.
And although our daughter is only six month old now (and sharing her, umm our, bed with us…), I am pretty sure, that I will be very grateful for this (probably) awesome trick! I only need to see my nephews behavior, when they are actually told to sleep…. 😉
Thank you for sharing this trick! (And another heartwarming story of your life with your wonderful daughter…! It makes me look to the future very, very excited! 🙂 )

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Dakota

ha. if only i could get 14 month old macy to sleep in her room alone without me. or even in her crib. im thinking of just getting a toddler bed since she can get off and on a couch on her own and just leaving the gate in the doorway… what should i dooo???

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Sarah

Hi, I have both my girls in twin mattresses on the floor, used the Pinterest idea of sticking a pool noodle under the fitted sheet to act as a toddler guard. My first moved out of the crib at a year and my second around 9 months. It’s also nice because I can lay down in her bed if she needs it. The youngest is 14 months now and I’ve replaced the noodle with a body pillow on the floor beside her bed because she’s better at staying in but we still have hardwood I don’t like her falling even those 6 inches onto. She refuses even a pack n play now, as I type she’s asleep in a toddler fold out cot while we travel. With my oldest I made a fabric gate with loops at the corners and hung it with command strips (there’s a special kind that I think are made for wife straps? That have like a loop you can feed thought the gate loop) on the outside of her door because we kept the door closed so if she opened it she’d run into the gate. But the mattress on the floor helped me lay with them til they fell asleep, then be able to roll out of the bed without having to transfer them to a crib, plus no worries of them falling out of a toddler bed, and I can use the mattress when they’re ready for an off the ground bed frame.

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Liz Mouse

I have to admit, when I first saw this posting in my digest, I thought it was going to suggest putting clear scotch tape all across their door, so that when they tried to come out in the night they'd run into the tape and have the "disobedience" scared out of them. Glad to find out it was a completely different suggestion!

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Jaime

LIZ HA HA HA! laughing so hard!

dakota, my friend made me read this book and it really helped me. i just remind myself that it is my job to teach her to sleep on her own and that makes it easier to actually close the door if i have too.

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Susan

That's genius! I have a 6 month old (who actually does sleep through the night) and I'm already calculating some sort of countdown until I will be able to use this trick. Maybe like 2 more years? Is that sad?

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Melissa

LOVE this! We are moving soon and we are going to set up my daughter's new bed and we just started potty training too..so we hear "I have pee pees!" shouted every night after we put her down. But…is it weird/gross that I was just going to put her little potty in her room for night time emergencies?

PS-I saw that Minnen bed on here. and I stalked craigslist till I found that same bed in white. We got the whole set for $60! My daughter keeps trying to get me to set it up now saying, "I won't get out…I promise". Does anyone else believe a two year old's promise? I guess I am avoiding the same "Im so tired, you are never getting a sibling cause I dont want to go through this phase again" situation.

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Lindsay and Co.

Our problem was the opposite! She would fight us when we woke her up to go potty at night. So we bribed her with snuggle time if she didn't throw a fit. My girl likes her night-time sleep. Now, naptime? That's a whole different battle… I can see the benefits of modifying the idea of this trick. Like Setting out 4 cookies on a plate and removing one for each time (obviously this works best at naptime). Something along those lines I'm sure would work.

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Cheryl @ a pretty cool life.

This is a really creative idea, buuuuuuut…

As a girl from a family of firefighters, bedroom doors should always be shut during the night. In the event of a fire, a closed door provides protection from smoke and flames…enough to save a life!!

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InfoxicatingLady

Our girls (3 girls, aged 3, 5 and 8) sleep in a room off the lounge room, so all the way open doesn't work too well for us. Half open is the maximum we can do, so that's our "1st teddy bear" (we use bears instead of tape, because the door swings completely open) mark, with half way again being 2nd bear, and almost closed being 3rd bear. It works for the oldest and the youngest, but the middle child uses the quiet opportunity to get up to Mischief. It will take retraining of one child, but the other two are fairly well adjusted already

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Mama Hoot

Hmmm…our child sleeps with the door shut and I guess I just always assumed she would (I did too). The tape seems like a good compromise.

Though I would suggest to you that you close it all the way after your kids are out for the night. It's safer in case of a fire. (When it's closed it takes longer for the oxygen to be sucked out of the room…I used to share office space with a Fire Safety Business.)

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Ashley

This is a great idea for kids that like to sleep with the door open. Our two boys have always slept with the door open, so when busting out of the room for water, potty, whatever the need was, became a problem we had to figure out some sort of solution. They were always knocking on our door or slipping into bed with us. Not sure where I heard about this trick, but it worked like a dream. We give the boys two coins each (depended on whatever we had in our pockets – sometimes pennies, or quarters). We explained to them that each time they left their room they had to hand over one of their coins. I think the most either of them ever lost was one each.

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Carrie

Our daughter has been able to open her door for months but only recently started doing it at night. When she started coming into our bedroom in the middle of the night, we got one of those moon/sun night lights and told her she had to stay in her room until the sun came up. It only took one night and now she waits until it changes before she comes to get us. (Of course last night my husband heard her saying, "Daddy, it won't change to yellow. Why won't it change?" but she stayed in bed . . . )

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WendyJJ13

I came across this site while looking for instructions on how to wrap my baby up in my 5 yards of homemade moby wrap lol. My 4 year old is my middle child of 3 (9 year old girl, 4 year old girl & 7 week old son). While she is extremely smart and has excelled very quickly in everything she does (seriously, not bragging), we have had some troubles with potty training and sleeping in her own room. Before we started really pushing the potty training she didn’t have but a few nights where she wanted me with her. I did a no no in most parents eyes and put a TV in her room and let her pick 1 kids movie to watch once before I turned off the TV and turned her black light on so the stars, planets n moons would glow better all over her room. There was a catch to the bedtime movie tho, it had to play in Spanish and the subtitles would be on in English. So the upside of always having to put on a moving every night is that she is fluent in Spanish, knows some French cause we started a new language and watching with the subtitles has taught her to read English and is perfecting writing as well and she just turned 4 Oct 7th! Back to the sleeping now, she did this awful thing at nap until she turned 2..she would close her door be completely quiet but she wasn’t sleeping! She was being a little Picasso., but not with paints or coloring supplies…let’s just say it was typically brown and scented (not chocolate) if you get my drift. After hour nap time I’d open her door to find just about everything covered in artwork she was so excited to show me! I cried! I couldn’t get mad because she was proud of it but I was trying so hard not to scream out in distress that all I could do was cry. I explained to her that it was wrong and as much as I loved the gesture, those belong on paper with crayons not on everything from floor to ceiling with Mr. Hanky. She didn’t stop tho, it continued for like a year and finally after I made her clean it all up by herself she stopped. Now I can’t get her to sleep in her own room without a few times a week sneaking into our bed. Also I can’t get her to finally be completely potty trained. She will have accidents when she starts playing I guess it is when she is so into what she is doing she doesn’t want to miss out by going to the restroom. Any suggestions?

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Meijhen

@VirtualMadman use painter's tape, it comes off carpet really easily too.

I have to add like the others though, in the interest of safety it's better for your kids to sleep with doors closed. Also, I can't even imagine my kids sleeping at all with the doors open – if they could hear the rest of the house moving around, there would be no way they'd be going to sleep!

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Kris {The Freestyle Mom}

Awesome idea! We did something similar. I printed 4 cards with pictures of princesses and then hung them on the back of my 3 year olds door on those easily removed hooks. Each time she came out with no good reason, she lost one and when the the last one was gone, the door was shut and she had to stay in her room.

She's quite the little fighter and she lost the cards for quite a while and slept on the floor right by the door, but she eventually realized it was pointless and her bed was more comfortable.

. . . Then we moved and chaos has ensued. Guess I need to find those cards again!

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Michelle

This sounds like a good idea, except that we have to keep my daughter's door mostly closed since she goes to bed hours before we do.

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Melissa @ It's Fancy Schmancy

Love this idea! Also love the suggestions of putting a child proof knob on the door. My 2 year old opens doors very well. This may just work! Thank you very much!

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Faye

i have always shut the door for my son since birth. and hes had his twin bed now for awhile. hes 3, and knows to stay in bed. am i the only one who has a child that wakes up if its too quiet?? we can be as loud as we want, but if its silent for a little bit he wakes up lol. we keep a radio on in the living room and one of those nature sounds thing in his room.

lindsey- cookies/food as rewards or using them as punishment could lead to eating disorders later. i know this from experience so maybe using toys or some other treat (like 'tickets'/slips of paper for special outings or trips to a nature park or special playground or museum??) or maybe a little box with little treasures in it (like doc/dentist offices have)

stephanie- I thought the same thing! i could never put duct tape on the wood floors, for one cuz im renting, and for two that goo is impossible! well i guess you could TRY that goo gone stuff.. eeek

but im all for finding ways to help the cause of parenting these issues. its always tough finding what works best for your child, since all children are different.

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Marissa

I thought this idea was great, like others, but my 3 year old likes to sleep with the door closed. She also likes to sleep with a lot of her stuffed animals. In an 'ah-ha" moment the other night, I realized I could use her animals as a bargaining tool. Each time she got out of bed she would have to give me an animal. Since each animal was of some comfort to her, she wasn't willing to give them up and this has been working WONDERS. Finding some sort of bargaining chip is really all that it takes.

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Marie {Make and Takes}

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing it on my facebook page. I think I'm going to try this, as my daughter loves the door open, so maybe this will encourage her to "keep" her door open!!

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Blossom Books

Most children like their door open so they can hear you going about your business – it makes them feel more secure. My sons both freak out when I close their door as punishment, so I think this will work nicely for number 2 son, who will be making the transition to Big Boy Bed in a couple of months. Thanks for sharing!

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lovelychaos

We've been using the OK to Wake Alarm Clock. Lula's still a little to young to understand it, but I'm hoping by the time she moves to a big bed, the idea will be instilled.

I LOVE pom poms! I frequently talk about them on my blog: http://lovelychaos.typepad.com and recently made curtains with pom pom borders. They're the best!

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Angela Noelle of SK

Loving you right now…
my little girl doesn't get out of bed, but sits and calls for me…I think this could work with that too; each time I need to come, not just call back that I'm still there? Early days of transition after co-sleeping…wowsers.

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amesh

good idea! my son is two and sleeps on his own.. but every night at two A.M he gets out of his room into ours (just across his). sigh.

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Patricia

This method is similar to what I devised, but my girls sleep with their doors closed. Like many others kids, mine learned to sleep well and then at some point around 2-3 y.o., they started getting out of bed again. With both, we instituted a pass system. We spent an afternoon decorating a number of circles (about 2" in diameter) which would become their "passes." At bedtime, they'd get a pre-set number of passes (we started with 5). Everytime they got up, they'd have to hand in a pass and we'd go tuck them back in, turn on music boxes, whatever (within reason) they were asking us to do. Once the passes are gone, they have to stay in bed (except for truly necessary potty trips). If they had any left in the morning, they'd get a special treat (10 mins of t.v., 1 m&m;, stickers, etc). As they got used to the system, we'd wean the number of passes down. My younger daughter is still on 3 passes, but within 9 months of starting, my older daughter was done with the passes. I gotta say, 3 trips out of bed is far better than 20!!

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Seb and Sim

i feel the need to repeat what cheryl said above…
"bedroom doors should always be shut during the night. In the event of a fire, a closed door provides protection from smoke and flames…enough to save a life!!"

not to offend but why is parenting so hard for some people

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Danielle

@Seb and Sim, good call on doors being closed for fire safety.
Assuming you're sincere with your question about parenting being hard, and not just fishing for an angry response, I'd tell you that if you're doing it right, parenting is supposed to be hard. If you're purposefully putting your child's needs ahead of your own, you're daily fighting your own selfishness, which is pretty tough no matter who you are. It's supposed to be hard, but also joyful and rewarding!

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Thanks: Management

This is a cute idea! We have a low light night light and a gate 3 ft from the door. We use the gate as a reminder to turn around and get back in your bed. (as a gate is like no trespassing sign around here) But the door stays closed until the sun shines through his window. Temporary tattoos are rewards for not opening the door not even 1 time have made our house a sleepers heaven! But if I knew of this I would have given it a try, with green tape!!

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Beth @ Sand To Pearl

My son used to try to escape every night, so I ended up putting the gate in front of the door, and I always shut the door (so he can't see the gate until he opens it) when he'd fall asleep I'd put the gate down. After a couple of weeks he's stopped trying so I don't have to use the gate any more.

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The Wilsons

I saw this idea from a post by http://inlieuofpreschool.blogspot.com/ and tonight I tried it for the first time!! IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM! My 3 1/2 year old is so stubborn that the 'crying it out' method never worked because he would literally do it for hours, and this mama can only take so much of that. The Tape Trick got him to sleep in 5 mins and there were only a few tears. I am so happy I have this method in my life!!

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juliepersons

I am confused here. The more afraid my child is and the more they need me during the night, the more I should distance myself from them and isolate them by shutting their door more and more? How does this teach them that the world is a safe and loving place?

How is tape supposed to replace love and comfort? Please help me to understand.

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Muddles

juliepersons and Heart Rockin Mama, it isn’t that the child is afraid, they just don’t want to go to bed. This is a way to encourage them to stay in their room so that they can calm down enough to actually go asleep. I am sure that the parents on this site know the difference between a scared child and one who is just using manipulation to get out of staying in bed and would comfort a child that is actually scared. Personally, my child tries to get out as many as 5-10 times a night with many different reason and not one of them is because she is scared.

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De tape truc - Chibishoe

[…] Bron Pin ItTweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); […]

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I say, “no” | Hen and Chix

[…] I read on one blog about the tape trick. You put down a couple pieces of tape for door positions.  Their door starts open and each time they get up it moves closer to being shut and then if they get up a third time, the door is shut for the night.   I have heard from other parents that  followed this method,  the child typically cries themself to sleep the first couple nights and then have it figured out.  Read more about it here, http://prudentbaby.com/2010/12/baby-kid/the-tape-trick-2/ […]

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Angel

I can see how this method would work for some children. Our girls are 6 and 7. They never ever slept through the night from day one until about three years ago. This mama was so sleep deprived my hair was falling out. Their bedroom was on a separate floor from ours, but we could see their room from ours, as well they could hear the tv and such. Three years ago We moved to a new house down the road from our old one, and they slept through the night that first night and have (mostly) every night since. Their room is across the hall from ours. We have a very strict bedtime routine that the whole family participates in. They get PJ’s on, we go to their shared room, they each read us one story (we did it when they couldn’t read), then bathroom and fill up water bottles, hugs and kisses. Then we say what day today is, then what tomorrow is, discuss the plans for tomorrow, everyone has to say what their favorite part of the day was. The only time you get a pass on the favorite part of the day is if you are sick, but even then they can usually figure out something. My husband and i alternate who will stay in their room each night. That is our special pillow talk time. They are usually asleep within two minutes…literally. . Their door is closed until we go to bed at midnight at which point we open the door because they are sweaty sleepers and one has asthma so they need airflow. My husband closes the door when he gets up at 430-500am. I know it sounds like a long involved process, but realistically it takes less than 30minutes and we learn so much about each of them and each other during this special time. In the grand scheme of things we spend less time focused on bedtime than our friends whose children get up repeatedly. Just our method that works for us. Finding the key for your family will be a God-send.

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Tried & True Bedtime Tricks for All Ages (& Giveaway!) | Cloud b

[…] Jamie, Prudent Baby: Try The Tape Trick. Cut three pieces of tape, about 4″ long or so.  Open the child’s bedroom door all the way, and place one piece of tape on the floor aligned with the door. Close the door halfway and place another piece of tape on the floor aligned with the door. Close the door so it’s just cracked a tiny bit and place the last piece of tape on the floor. (See the photos on PrudentBaby.com if you’re having a hard time visualizing this.) Explain the rules to the kiddo.  Tell them they are a big kid now, and big kids use the tape system.  At bedtime, the door will be wide open, aligned to the first piece of tape.  The first time he/she leaves her room (for anything other than an actually necessary trip to the potty), the kiddo will be returned to bed, and the door will be closed halfway, aligned to the second piece of tape.  The second time he/she leaves her room, she’ll be sent right back to bed, and the door will be closed further, to just a crack, aligned with the third piece of tape.  If Mr./Mrs. Cranky Pants leaves their room a third time, the door is going to be shut all the way.  Make sure they understand the rules and act it out. The first night I did this, Miss Scarlet left her room one time, the door was closed halfway to the 2nd piece of tape, and she GOT IT.  She hasn’t left her room after bedtime since. […]

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Natalie

Omg! My daughter is 8 and she has not slept in her bed through the entire night since she was born! This looks like the answer to the problem she hates when the door is closed (tried it for time outs and she freaked ) yes the door! I will let you know if it works. She is older but who knows thank you so much

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