Crib Climbing: Tips and Tricks
Some of us have creative little escape artists. Yes, it's scary, and yes we absolutely want to prioritize safety, but suddenly evicting your child from their familiar sleeping quarters is likely to backfire - even if they seem into it at first! Before rushing to transition to the toddler bed, consider trying a few other tactics to inhibit climbing while maximizing safety and healthy sleep.
It is highly recommended to keep the crib as your child's sleep space if they are:
1. Under age 3
2. Not strong with verbal or rule following skills
3. Not actively asking for a big kid bed
4. Not a strong independent sleeper
Here are a few tactics to minimize climbing and keep the crib:
1. Backwards and well fitted sleep sack: not so easy to take it off with a backward zipper!
2. Flip the crib so the low end is against the wall and the high end is facing outward
3. Re-arrange tempting furniture that is too close to the crib and too closely resembles a climbing gym
4. Remove excess crib clutter that encourages climbing
5. Further darken the room to limit distractions during sleep times
Oftentimes crib climbing is more about an exciting physical challenge to check off the list rather than the ask for a toddler bed. I encourage trialing conservative measures first to hold on to that contained safe sleep space for as long as you can!
Some kids are more persistent than others. If you’ve tried all the tricks, and your climber is sticking to their dangerous gymnastics, then it’s time to pick out new big kid bedding. Just be sure to assess the safety of the entire room now that they are free to roam, consider your child's new sleep rules and boundaries, and give them a lot of time to role play, review, and practice those new boundaries to encourage cooperation and sleep.
Crib climbing can feel scary, and it's not safe, but for most children under the age of three, a transition to a big kid is going to result in more sleep issues than you started with. Sometimes all it takes is a firm "no" from their grownup along day time reminders of where they are allowed to climb safely.