Many times the solution for parents who have a child climbing out of the crib is to move them into a bed to keep them safe. My response is if you have a child climbing out of their crib you, are certainly going to have a child climbing out of bed, and now it is much easier and they can do it all night long!
I strongly believe that children should be in their crib until at least two and a half years of age. It isn’t until this age that they can really start to understand behaviour/consequence. If they do not understand that they are expected to stay in their bed then it is hard for us to expect them to do so. There are some children that have transitioned to a bed at an earlier age with no difficulties, however, these are exemptions and you may be looking at months of nighttime battles if you move them too soon.
Here are some ways that you can help your child stay in their crib and stop climbing out.
- Have an early bedtime. If your child goes to bed too late they become overtired and get a second wind. Overtired children don’t look sleepy and ready for shut-eye, they look energized and ready for hours of playtime. They go from tired to wired, and it is very difficult for them to go to sleep.
- Try using a toddler sleep sac. This can make it difficult to get their leg over the bars of the crib.
- Don’t use bumper pads. As your child gets older they can stand on them and use them as a ladder to get higher up in the crib.
- Make sure there is nothing else in the crib or outside the crib that can be used to help them get out of the crib.
- Don’t let it be ok. If your child continues to come out of the crib, you must continue to put him back in. With no attention, keeping the lights off, simply return her to the crib. You may want to pad the floor around the crib to keep him safe and this struggle may continue for a few nights but once your child realizes there is no reward for coming out, it will stop. If you are really concerned about safety you may want to stay in the room with your child until they are sleeping.
Switching from crib to bed should be a positive experience and a celebrated milestone. It is a very big step and can be difficult even for children who are over 3 years old and have never climbed out of their crib.
Look for my follow up post on Moving Your Toddler From Crib to Bed.
If you have questions about your child’s sleep you can contact Sleep Wise for a FREE 15-minute phone call at www.sleepwise.ca