If you’ve found yourself wondering, “how to prevent toddler from climbing out of crib” lately, you’re not alone. I remember feeling like this and thinking the same thing 6 months ago.
I tried so many things to keep my little one in her crib at night before I found the tips that actually worked.
So, I want to save you the hassle. Although, it’s worth remembering that all children are different.
Therefore, my suggestions might not necessarily work for your son or daughter.
Anyway, let’s start by taking a look at why they might be getting out of their bed (in my experience, of course).
Why Does My Toddler Get Out of Bed at Night?
There are several reasons that your toddler might be getting out of bed. They may genuinely need attention. For example, they might need the toilet or there might be some scary bug on the wall.
Whatever it is, this tends to be one of the biggest reasons — at least, it was for my little girl.
However, if you’ve had a big change in your family (whether it’s a loss or you’ve moved to a new house) this could affect your kid’s sleep patterns. Generally, I’ve found that my child gets very anxious when something like this happens and thus, their sleep has gone awry.
Aside from this though, it may simply be another “milestone” (sorry, I don’t particularly like this word but I had to use it just this once!).
Climbing out of cribs marks major physical and cognitive development. They finally have the coordination to tackle the task and they’re trying to figure out who they are by gaining independence.
Similar to blocking the stairs for toddlers because they love climbing them, they have found a new challenge and want to explore.
Even though it’s pretty annoying, it’s quite amazing when you think about it, right? I think so!
What to Do When Your Toddler Won’t Stay in Their Crib
Okay, I’m sure there are other reasons that come into play when considering all the “whys” behind the constant crib climbing. However, I only noticed the above in my little one!
Now for the most important bit! Here are some of the things I put into place to stop my child from escaping her crib multiple times a night.
Kids love routine. But more than that, they need routine. Not having one can result in problems like you/I are/were experiencing.
Try to make sure that your child goes to bed at the same time every evening and that they do the same “wind-down” activities beforehand. This way, you’re establishing a nice routine that will settle them into sleep mode.
I implemented this pattern and it worked great
- Brush teeth
- Get Into bed
- Say goodnight
Now, my little one knows that as soon as the story is over, it’s time for sleep.
Lower the Mattress
If the crib mattress is already on the lowest setting (which luckily, mine wasn’t at the time), lower it.
This will add some extra height that your toddler might not be able to handle at this stage. Meaning they won’t be able to get their leg over the top of the crib. Ultimately, this makes the crib less of an injury risk too.
If you are ready to transition to another bed altogether, you might want to look into what is a toddler bed and if they are worth it for your child.
Avoid Sugar Before Bed
Instead of sugary snacks in the evening, opt for a healthy option. This ensures your kid gets a good rest and isn’t “wired” all night.
I try to give something savory to my daughter at least half an hour before her bedtime routine starts. I’ve realized that this allowed enough time for her body to digest the food and fill her up comfortably enough for sleep.
Get Them a Color Clock
I love this one — and I think you should check it out too. I bought my little girl an alarm clock that has a screen that changes color when she’s allowed out of bed. I’d say this helped almost the same amount as establishing a routine (although a routine is vital in other developmental areas too).
The model I have changes to yellow (to imitate the sunrise) when she can get out (7:30 am). However, I know a few people who have ones that look like a stoplight (i.e. they are red when the child needs to stay put, and green when they can come out).
It can be tempting to get upset or overreact when the bedtime routine has gone astray for the 50th time, but try not overreacting.
By keeping calm and not giving your toddler a dramatic reaction, you won’t give them the satisfaction or incentive to repeat this behavior.
You can respond with a simple no and redirect back to the crib.
Revisit The Sleep Sack
You may have packed away your child’s sleep sacks months ago, but there are indeed toddler sleep sacks. This wearable blanket should prevent your toddler from getting out of the crib because the fabric is so long.
You may not be able to find them at the common stores like Walmart and Target, but there are options available online for crib climbers.
Consider Whether It’s Time For The Switch
Depending on how old (or how big) your child is, it’s probably time to switch to a toddler bed. However, this is a highly in-depth topic that differs from parent to parent, and toddler to toddler. So, I won’t get into this now (but it’s something worth considering!).
Overall, it’s all about consistency. Your child will eventually fall asleep and you’ll eventually develop a great routine. I’ve found that persistence is more than necessary (in every parenting aspect).