For the love of all things sleep. Why did my toddler decide that climbing out of the crib was a good idea? Your toddler too?! I can’t help but wonder… Are they protesting sleep? Stalling? Or perhaps curious of the world outside of the crib? It’s not only frustrating, but I think we can all agree that it’s dangerous for our children too.
So is it time for a toddler bed? Not so fast!
Many times we think that the best thing to do is to transition our child to a toddler bed or big kid bed. Let’s think before we leap with this transition. Are they ready for that type of freedom? Here’s a few questions to consider:
- Is she safe if she leaves room and wanders the house?
- Can he follow simple sleep rules?
- Is she sleeping through the night and taking great naps?
- Is she getting the amount of sleep that she needs?
If you answered “NO” to any of these questions, they may not be ready for the big kid bed. Ideally, you want to wait until your child is 2.5 – 3, or even a bit older to make this transition. Heck, if you can, wait until your kiddo asks for the big kid bed! This way you know that they want it and they are ready. They will also at this age be able to talk about sleep rules and be able to follow through with them.
This crib climbing adventure, usually starts way before our kids are ready for a big kid bed. So how can you stop it?
Here’s my 5 Tips to Keep Your Toddler From Climbing Out of The Crib
1. Put The Mattress On The Lowest Setting
Your child’s mattress may already be on the lowest setting, but if not, now is a good time to make the move. I don’t recommend putting the mattress on the floor, it is just not safe. For one, the crib is not designed to be that way. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, I worry about kiddos being able to push the mattress out from under the crib and then getting stuck. Alternatively, the crib might not be as stable after the mattress is on the floor. It is best to keep the crib the way it was designed to be.
2. Turn The Crib Around
If one side of your crib is higher than the other, just turn it around. Place the higher side facing out into the room and the lower side against the wall. It may not “look” pretty, but it is effective. Yes I know, the sides of the crib are usually the same height as the front. Despite that, this little trick works more times than it does not.
3. A Sleep Sack
A sleep sack is a wonderful invention. Not only is a sleep sack a safe and wearable blanket, it is also a great sleep tool. If you continue to use it into the toddler years, it can help to prevent our little explorers from throwing their legs over the side of the crib. If you haven’t seen one, they are sleeveless and shaped like a dress. My boys can walk in their sleep sacks and love them.
4. A Few Strong “NOs”
Yup, a few times of saying “NO” if you catch your little one in the act will help a great deal. You don’t have to say anything else at all – just “NO.” Feel free to talk to your kiddo about the climbing before or after sleep. But in the moment, when it is sleep time a strong “NO” will suffice.
5. Silent Return
If the great escape happens, do the following: walk into their room, pick them up and place them back in their crib. Say nothing at all! I know it is tempting to review rules, but there is a good chance they are climbing out just to see you, one more time – and then one more time – and then one more time. 😉 If you give them something to climb out for, then they will continue. Nearly, guaranteed. Ah, toddlers! So, say nothing at all. A few times with consistency, they will get the hint.
If all else fails and the crib climbing continues despite your best efforts, it may now be time for a big kid bed. Safety first. If you do choose to go this route, be sure that you have a great plan on how to introduce the bed to them and how to keep sleep the main thing, even with the new freedom.