That’s right this started happening in my house a couple months ago! There is nothing more frustrating than two, 2 year olds climbing out of their cribs! It started off with Max climbing out of his crib. In true twin fashion, Casey quickly followed suit. (Monkey see, monkey do gets old quick!) We were able to thwart their efforts by putting them in sleep sacks. Problem solved! Right? Don’t I wish! Of course, these two tried to outsmart us again! They figured out they could just unzip them, take them off and scale the walls of their "jail cells" again (and go to their dresser and take every piece of clothing out)! That, luckily, was an easy fix, we simply turned their sleep sacks around so they zipped up the back. That alleviated our problem for a few weeks. They eventually figured out they could still throw their legs over the side of their crib and get out, even with the sleep sacks on. Ugh!
It was time to buckle down and set limits with these two. Time for the silent return! I started using the silent return method during their naptime one day. The first time Max climbed out I told him sternly, “No! You are not to climb out of your crib,” and I placed him back in his bed and left the room. I stood outside the door and as I heard him climbing out I went right back in avoided eye contact and put him back in his bed. This went on for forty minutes. He did eventually succumbed to defeat and went to sleep. I must admit it was frustrating standing there for forty minutes and returning him 20+ times, but I knew this is what I had to do to set limits with them. I was a little anxious for bedtime but was determined to be consistent. In between naptime and bedtime I took them outside and made sure they expended as much energy as possible. I opted for a slightly earlier bedtime (about 30 minutes earlier) in anticipation of 30+ minutes of climbing out. We did our bedtime routine and I put them both to bed and then closed their door and waited…and waited...and waited... Much to my surprise they did not climb out. I wasn’t overly excited because I knew it would take a little longer than one day to fix this! Naptime was much better the next day with 3 escape attempts lasting a total of 9 minutes. By bedtime, not one attempt! Are things perfect now? No, but they are much better than they were. They (ok, Max) still climbs out occasionally, especially in the morning. Do we let that derail everything? Of course not! We just maintain consistency and know that things will continue to improve!
Here are my tips for keeping your little escape artist contained!
Make sure the room is safe. You want to make sure you remove anything in their room that they can potentially climb on, pull over, break, eat, etc. Just in case they climb out you want to make sure they will not be harmed while they are exploring/wreaking havoc on their own!
Gate or lock the door. We are worried about them wreaking havoc in their room, imagine what they would do to the rest of the house!
Sleep sacks. These are great for limiting movement and once they figure out how to unzip them, you can just reverse them and zip them up the back!
Turn the crib. Some cribs have one side that is taller than the others. Use that to your advantage and place the shorter side against the wall!
Silent return. When all the other methods fail use the silent return method. While it’s very frustrating and hard it is effective. You have to be consistent and persistent! Children climb out to test their independence and then they keep doing it because they like the response it illicits. Don’t give them the response they are looking for and they will stop climbing out.
Most parents assume that because a child is climbing out of his crib he is ready for a toddler bed. I am guilty! I put my second daughter in a toddler bed way too soon! Transitioning her before she was actually ready was more of a nightmare than if I would have just been consistent with her and kept her in her crib. Take it from me it’s a much easier transition if you are able to wait until they are around 3-4 years of age when they understand rules and limits better. Now with this being said some children transition easily at an early age. My oldest was a seamless transition and she wasn’t quite two years old. Ultimately, you have to do what is best for your family and what is safest for your child, my hope is that these tips can help you keep him in his crib until you, I mean he is ready!