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.
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
- A sleep sack can help prevent your child from climbing out of the crib (here are a few brands with bigger sizes: https://kytebaby.com/, https://www.adenandanais.com/bedtime/sleeping-bags, https://littlefishkopp.com/shop/sleep-bags).
- Put the sleep sack on backwards. This will make it harder for them to unzip and take off.
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.