As soon as they can stand, babies and toddlers love to practice this skill in the cot. Pulling up on the cot side and strengthening those muscles ready to make the escape in a few months time!
Bear in mind though, it really is best for little ones to sleep in a cot or crib right up to as close to age three as possible.
Why? Because they don’t actually have the cognitive ability to understand the concept of ‘staying in bed’ until they’re at least two and half so by switching to a toddler bed too soon, you could ‘open a new can of worms’ with a wandering toddler getting up and down 50 times a night!
Sure, you can walk them back to bed every time but you’ll be doing this for a long time if they’re too young to understand. So how can you keep a climber safe in his or her cot?
Try all of these things before even thinking about a toddler bed…
1. Use an age appropriate sleep sack.
There are various ones on the market with crafty fastenings that they cannot break out of. There are ones with little foot holes so your toddler can still waddle about the cot without falling over and there are even ones that are more like a onesie with a very low crutch so it prevents them from getting a leg over the cot side and getting out.
Okay, some little ones don’t seem to like these suits and sacks but you know what’s best for them and, just like they might not like being in the cot, it’s the best place for most under 3’s to be, so I recommend you persist.
2. Make sure the cot is set to the lowest mattress setting
This is important for safety anyway and you should always adjust the cot setting to meet the safety guidelines for your child’s age, size and developmental stage. So I’d like to say this one goes without saying but it is still a useful reminder and worth noting.
If you think your little one is close to actually going for it and making the leap, you can pad the floor with extra bedding to protect them if they do go for it. Bear in mind that some toddlers will give you the impression they’re going to escape but not actually go through with it so observe and prepare.
3. Make sure there is nothing in the cot that is giving your little one a boost!
Bedding, soft toys, anything that could be aiding the escape!
Making it as difficult as possible for your little one to climb out of his or her cot is the best thing you can do and help them to get past this phase and settle happily back in the cot where they will be safest for the time being.
Just because your friend’s child has switched to a toddler bed without any hitches, doesn’t mean that will last or that it will work for your little one. Sometimes they stay put in a toddler bed for a few months and then they find freedom. Some little ones stay put in a toddler bed and all is fine. But if you know your child is the alert type, the curious type, then there is a good chance they won’t stay put in a bed either!
My emphasis here is to try everything I’ve suggested before making the decision to move to a bed. If you do end up going for the toddler bed, check out my video called ‘Transitioning to a big bed’ for tips on how to keep them safe and sleeping well.
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