The intrinsic nature of a parent is to worry. Sometimes their fears are good other times, it seems extreme– but can they help it? No.
But when does that bother to start to become unhealthy? One way in which this anxiety can manifest itself is through the use of a baby monitor.
Though it may benefit certain situations, many parents rely heavily on these devices long past the appropriate time.
Are you stuck trying to figure out when to stop using a baby monitor?
This article will give some valuable tips on tackling these parenting challenges without relying so much on technology.
When Can You Stop Using a Baby Monitor?
For most parents, it can be hard to adjust to losing sole control of their little one’s safety or watching their baby sleeping.
A baby monitor is a valuable tool for effective parenting. But at some point, your baby will outgrow the need for constant monitoring. So when can you put away that baby monitor and give yourself a break?
The most obvious sign is when your child is old enough to sleep in his bed. This usually happens between 2 and 4 years old but varies depending on the child. At this age, your baby should be able to fall asleep without your assistance or the monitor.
Other signs include the following:
Your Child Is Sleeping Through the Night
One way to know it may be time to stop using your old baby monitor is if your child sleeps through the night without significant disruptions.
If your child’s bedroom is quiet and their breathing is even and stable, with no crying out or sounds of distress, it’s time to go monitor-free.
You’ll also want to pay attention to your child’s sleeping habits. Are they taking regular naps during the day?
Have you noticed them waking up in the same spot each morning? Kids used to a typical sleep pattern usually don’t need as much monitoring. Even more so if they’re no longer in a crib, where there’s more room for them to move around and explore independently.
Finally, look out for signs that your child can safely self-soothe. For example, can they console themselves without any intervention if they have the occasional bad dream or wake up feeling scared?
Your Child Is Over 2-3 Years of Age
Stop your old baby monitor if your child is over two or three. This can be a difficult decision as it feels like you may be letting go of your child’s young age. But rest assured, they have most likely outgrown the need for constant monitoring.
Note that you must use the baby monitor appropriately during this transition period. However, even if your child is not quite ready to be completely independent, they can still enjoy some activities. For instance, they can play in the yard with friends or visit grandparents without being supervised by a baby monitor every moment.
When making this big decision, ask yourself these questions:
- For example, does my child understand personal safety rules, such as not talking to strangers?
- Is my child old enough that their physical abilities give them some independence (like walking up stairs without help)?
- Is my child able to articulate their needs and feelings?
If you answered yes to these questions, it’s about time you discontinued your baby monitor so that your growing child can explore their world confidently and safely.
Your Child Can Get In and Out of Bed on Their Own
It’s likely time to stop using a baby monitor when your child can get in and out of bed independently. This typically happens by age two or three and is a sign of your child’s developing independence.
If your toddler can safely get in and out of bed without your help, you can rest assured that it’s okay to stop relying on the monitor.
Knowing when to stop using a baby monitor requires you to be attentive to how independent your child is becoming:
- For example, does your toddler take naps during the day or night?
- Do they awake feeling rested?
- Can they climb into bed and back out again on their own?
- Do they wake up during the night or stay asleep until morning?
The answers here will let you know for sure whether you need a baby monitor or not.
You Live in a Small Home
Living in a small home is an excellent excuse to stop using your baby monitor. Why? Because if you can hear your child from another room without the monitor, you might as well save yourself some money and skip the device altogether!
- You startle when you hear loud noises coming from the next room.
- Likewise, you can tell when your baby cries or makes noises throughout the house.
But if you follow this advice, you’ll have to be vigilant. Keep your eyes peeled for any strange movements or noise.
You Have a Video Monitor and Feel Comfortable Without Audio
You may switch from an audio baby monitor to a video baby monitor. Having two-way radio in case of emergency and seeing what’s happening in the nursery will ease your concerns about your baby’s safety.
But it can also give you peace of mind to turn off the audio, especially if your child is old enough that you feel comfortable without it.
If that’s the case for you, here are a few signs that it could be time to stop using an audio baby monitor altogether:
- Your child is older than one year. After this age, most kids become more active and mobile, requiring less parental monitoring.
- Your child is usually in bed when they are sleeping. If your baby can sleep without moving around while asleep, you may not need an audio monitor.
- You are confident that your home is safe and secure for your child to sleep without regular monitoring. Check for potential hazards before turning off the audio monitor overnight.
The Downside of Using Baby Monitors for Too Long
Regarding baby monitoring, you may ask yourself, “For how long do I need to keep using it?” After all, there’s a definite downside to using them for too long.
It can give your child the idea that they must be under constant surveillance, which could hurt their developing autonomy.
The longer you use a baby monitor, the more difficult it may be for your child to learn to care for themselves without supervision. And the more your child assumes they’re constantly monitored, the more dependent they will be on external approval or help.
Besides this psychological side-effect of using baby monitors for too long, there are also the potential safety hazards of not monitoring properly. For example, suppose a camera is placed in an inappropriate location, or its settings are not secure enough.
In that case, someone not renting the monitoring device may be able to access information about your family and even view live feeds.
How to Break Free From a Baby Monitor?
Sometimes, it’s hard to stop monitoring your baby’s room. After all, it’s understandable that you want to keep an eye on your little one. But when should parents stop watching their toddler bed?
Well, it all comes down to your child’s development; you can break free from a monitor in the following ways:
Use A Sleep Training System
If you’re still worried about them being in their room alone, why not set them up with a sleep training system? That way, you can sense their movements and get alerted if something goes wrong.
Set Bedtime Boundaries
If your little one has already mastered the art of self-soothing, you don’t need to check in on them constantly. But establish firm bedtime boundaries at home so your toddler knows what’s expected of them.
If your toddler is more independent and can care for themselves better, you don’t need to monitor their every move 24/7. This age sets the foundation for independence. So, please encourage them to gradually become independent and teach them how to get dressed or brush their teeth without prompting.
The Downside of Taking Away the Baby Monitor Too Soon
Removing a baby monitor from your child’s room too early can also be harmful. But, of course, if your child is still young enough to wake up in the middle of the night, you may be hesitant to move away from this type of monitoring.
Reasons To Avoid Baby Monitor Underuse
- Comfort – If your child is used to having a baby monitor, taking it away before they are ready could cause some anxiety. That’s because they have become comfortable with it being around.
- Safety – Toddlers frequently wake up and move around their rooms at night. If something were to happen, such as an accidental fall or choking, you wouldn’t be able to know without a monitor in place.
- Liability – If something does happen at night, and you are unaware of the incident, it could lead to legal liability for not providing enough supervision
- If you have toddlers sleeping in the same room, you may need to monitor them in case a fight breaks out. For example, an older child tends to pick on the younger sibling.
Suppose you’re unsure when is the right time to remove the baby monitor from your child’s room; speak with your pediatrician or guardian for advice. You may fare better with guidance explicitly tailored to your situation.
Should I Stop Using My Video Baby Monitor?
Allowing your child to gain more independence gradually is an integral part of their development, but it doesn’t have to be done overnight.
Adjusting to life without a baby monitor takes time and patience. So when you feel ready for them to progress, start with small steps. For example, you may let them sleep in their room for an hour or two at a time—before removing the monitors completely.
Most importantly, listen to your instincts and be mindful of your child’s readiness. That’s the best way to ensure a smooth transition from constant monitoring to more freedom.