So your toddler figured out how to climb out of the crib - yikes! Few parents are excited when that happens for the first time. The thing is, just because your little one can get out of the crib doesn’t mean it’s time to switch to a bed. A crib really is the safest place for babies and toddlers to sleep and it isn’t until somewhere between 2 1/2- 3 years that a child can cognitively understand the concept of ‘stay in bed until morning’. Being put to sleep in a bed before she’s ready can give too much freedom to roam, as well as a sense of insecurity to a toddler. You might feel certain that your kid just wants to be done with the crib but, with many curious toddlers, once the novelty of climbing out of the crib has worn off, they’re happy to stay cozy in there for a while longer.
First on the list of tips for keeping your tot in the crib is removing anything that can be used as a launching pad! Big stuffed animals, wadded up blankets or anything else your climber uses to get a step up should be taken out of the crib. That’s assuming you’ve already dropped the mattress as low as it will go; some mattresses can be lowered all the way to the ground. If your crib has a higher back than front you can turn it around so the high side is in front, blocking an escape. Being creative with the location of your crib can also help. Take a look at the room and see if moving the crib against a dresser, wall or in the corner might make a difference, always making sure that it’s a safe spot.
Next, putting your child in a sleep sack or sleep suit can prevent them from physically being able to get a leg up and over. A long t-shirt can work too. Granted, this won’t help is your kid is one of the few who just throw themselves out headfirst but that’s not usually the preferred method.
The biggest thing is going to be how you react to the climbing. A good way to teach your child to stay in the crib is to catch her in the middle of hopping out and say in a calm but forceful voice ‘No climbing. Not safe!’ The idea being that after being caught a few times and getting the same firm response, your toddler will decide it isn’t worth it and stay put. A video monitor can be helpful to be on the lookout for climbing.
Like so much when raising our kids, it’s not one thing that will make a difference but a few things combined to get at the problem from all sides.