Stop Your Toddler from Climbing Out of the Crib

Climbing Out of the Crib
Christine Brown

Christine Brown

There are so many things to worry about as a parent, right?

My top worries when my boys were toddlers…

Is my toddler eating enough vegetables? getting enough socialization? watching too much TV? getting enough sleep?

You know what I wasn’t worried about? My toddler climbing out of the crib. It wasn’t even on my radar.

Until one night at bedtime, I heard a thud! By the time I got upstairs, Nick was trying to figure out how to open the door! 

Shit just got real.

Some children will happily stay in their cribs and will never try to climb out.  That is my son, Ryan.  He is a rule follower.

His twin brother, Nick, is my wild man. He’s the reason I’m a sleep consultant. When he started climbing out of the crib, he was 27 months / 2 years, 3 months old. 

He was not ready for a big kid bed at all even though he could climb out!

We normally recommend transitioning children to a big kid bed around 3 years old.  Before then, children lack the impulse control to tell their bodies to stay in bed.  Look – he couldn’t even tell his body to stay in his crib! 

If we transition our little ones too soon to a toddler bed, suddenly, your toddler is:

  • fighting bedtime
  • coming out of their room a million times
  • waking in the middle of the night and early morning

Also, you might as well say goodbye to the nap.  It’s way more fun to play the game ‘how many times can I come out of my room before Mom loses her cool?’  Good times says no Mom ever.

If you find yourself with a toddler that is climbing out of the crib too soon, here’s what I want you to try before transitioning into a big kid bed…

Tips to Keep Your Toddler from Climbing Out of The Crib

  • Lower The Mattress. Ensure the crib mattress is in the lowest factory position. If it isn’t, now is the time to do that.  We don’t recommend removing parts of the crib – it is safest to use the crib in the way the manufacturer designed it.
  • Turn the taller side of the crib out. If your crib has one taller side, turn the tall side facing out and push it into a corner. Having only one short side of the crib to climb out makes it harder.
  • Sleep Sack. Put your little one in a sleep sack, like the Kyte Baby and put it on backward so it can’t be unzipped.  The sleep sack will make it harder to lift the foot over.
  • “No” over the monitor. If you see your little one raising their foot to climb out, say a sharp “no climb” over the video monitor. Many children are like “WTF was that?” Then they put their foot down and lay down.
  • Silent Return. If these tactics don’t work and your child still climbs out of the crib, calmly and silently return your child back to the crib. No hugging, kissing, tucking in, getting angry, or requests.  Just one sleepy mantra, like “time for bed”. With many children, they get bored if they don’t get a rise out of us and stop climbing out.

I hope that these tips help to extend your little one’s time in the crib!

If your little one continues to climb out of the crib and you can’t safely keep your child in the crib, reach out.  We’d be happy to help you navigate this huge milestone without everyone getting frustrated and overtired!

If you try these tips and they help, tag us on social @bellalunafamily. We love to see our tips in play with your little ones!

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