Many toddlers can become very good climbers at a very young age and start finding a way out of their cribs at night. Some are so good at climbing that they can get in and out of the crib pretty easily! While others may not be so graceful, jump out and hurt themselves when they hit the floor.
If your toddler is good at jumping out of her crib (meaning that she does not hurt herself when doing it), then you should tell her at bedtime that you don’t want her jumping out. Then, when she invariably jumps out anyway, calmly and quietly go in and return her to her crib. The first few times this happens, you can remind her of the rules by saying “No getting out of your crib allowed. It’s time for sleeping.” After the third or fourth time however, you should no longer speak when you go into the room. Simply return your child to bed without saying a word. For many children, negative attention is still attention, and if you have a long conversation with them every time they jump out, they will most likely just keep doing it.
Now if you are not sure that your toddler can jump out of the crib without hurting herself, you can always move all dangerous objects away from the crib and put something soft on the floor in front of it. Many toddlers will not attempt to jump out more than once, because the first time scared them enough. Others will continue to jump out anyway, especially if they get a big reaction from the rest of the family.
When a toddler starts to jump out of the crib, the first reaction from most parents is to usually move their child into a toddler bed. It is my opinion that many children are moved out of their cribs and into a bed way too early. This often happens sometime around their 2nd birthday, which is just too early for a child to really understand that with a new bed comes new responsibilities. There is often a bit of a “honeymoon” phase, and for a few weeks things can seemingly be going quite well. Until the child realizes how much freedom she actually really has…
A child closer to 3 is much more cognitively capable of understanding the responsibility involved in moving to a bed. You can make a special day out of it, and even have a bit of a celebration as a family! The new rules and responsibilities of sleeping in a bed will have to be clearly outlined to your preschooler, and enforced when she starts testing the boundaries. A 3 year old is much better at foreseeing the consequences of her actions than a 2 year old, and will be able to resist the urge to get out of bed to explore her room or go see what Mom and Dad are doing.
If your once amazing sleeper has now turned into a nightmare at bedtime, I can help. The best way to find out if I can help you and your child is to simply start by booking your free 15 min evaluation call with me at https://www.timetrade.com/book/WBVGH