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Crib Climbing: How To Keep Your Toddler In Their Crib

Toddlers are curious about the world around them. They are known for pushing the limits and trying new things. This is the stage of their life where they are learning about cause and effect.  Like, what happens if I climb out of my crib?

So, what are you suppose to do when your toddler starts to climb out of the crib? I know this can be scary, but despite the risk, you shouldn’t rush your child into a “big-kid” bed. The truth is… many toddlers have a hard time staying in bed once they realize they are able to get out on their own. Many parents will make the crib-to-bed transition the minute he/she puts one leg up to attempt an escape. And making the transition to a “big-kid” bed too early (I recommend waiting until 3 years of age) typically comes with a drastic change in  the quality of sleep.

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Let’s discuss how to address your crib climber, so your family can get a good night’s sleep.

Modify the sleep environment

  • Remove any  items from the crib that your little one can climb on (bumpers, pillows, or stuffed animals). These items can add the couple inches of height your child needs to get over the crib rails.
  • Put the crib mattress on its lowest setting. I DO NOT recommend putting the mattress on the floor- this can be unsafe for your little one.
  • If the crib has one side taller than the other, turn it around so the taller side is facing out. The extra height can be just enough to deter your little one from climbing out.

Use a Sleep Bag/Sack

Consistency is key

  • If your toddler can still climb out after making these modifications, decide on your response and stick with it (every time he/she gets out).
  • I preach this all the time, consistency is key to your success. If your “crib climber” is climbing out (only if they are all the way out), place them back in the crib.
  • Firmly tell them “no” the first time you place them back in the crib. No other interaction after that (no talking, simply put them back in their crib and leave).

Stay patient and give these changes time. Yes, you may have to do this 15 times, but eventually your little one will get the hint. Your consistency will get your little Houdini to stop their daring escape and start to get a good night’s rest.

However, keep in mind if there are other sleep challenges these modifications may not resolve the issue completely.  You may need to take a deeper look  into their over all sleep schedule and habits. If this is the case and you need guidance, contact me to set up a free 15 minute consultation on how I can help.

Alicia Karl
Alicia Karl
Alicia Karl is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with Good Night Sleep Site. She helps families worldwide, better understand sleep and educates parents on how to become a well-rested family. She was born and raised in the Kansas City, Missouri area. As most of Kansas City, Alicia loves her local sports teams the Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs. She is a mother of two wonderful kids, a wife to a hard-working husband, and lives in the country with two dogs, a cat, and several chickens. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being active outdoors, reading, and becoming an active member in her small town of Kearney, Missouri. You will often find, Alicia, holding Sleep Clinics at the local branches of the Mid-Continent Public Libraries or attending several of the local Kansas City Baby Expos. She also provides her community and followers with several on-line Sleep Clinics and sleep tips on all her social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). During her clinics, Alicia will help answer your sleep questions ranging from short naps, bedtime battles, sleep regressions, nap transitions, crib climbing, and so much more. Alicia graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and an emphasis in Communications and Human Resources. She also received a certificate from Missouri State University in Conflict Resolution, and years later, a certificate for a Child Sleep Consultant from The Family Sleep Institute. Alicia has a passion for helping people find solutions that improve their life, health, and mental well-being. She believes her education, experience, and background help her better support her clients. After spending three years as a Good Night Sleep Site Sleep Consultant and being a mom of two, Alicia, knows what it is like to struggle with sleep; and how it impacts your family as a whole. As a Sleep Consultant, clients will often say, “my child was a great sleeper and all of a sudden it changed.” This was true for her son as well. Alicia quickly learned that as a parent you don’t have all the answers and it is okay to ask for help. In fact, she became a sleep consultant after connecting with a consultant about her son’s sudden sleep struggles. It was in that moment her love for all things sleep was realized. Alicia’s goal is to not only educate parent’s about sleep, but to help them become the sleep expert for their child. She helps guide and support parent’s through the process to finding solutions for their family's sleep challenges. Alicia knows each family and child are different. This unique approach helps her create a personalized sleep plain to fit each family’s needs, and get the most from their journey to better sleep.
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