Bad Bedtime Behavior: He Climbed Out of the Crib!


Recently, Evan and I were in Chicago visiting my family and he slept in a pack-and-play next to my bed. I woke up to him calling for me, and my heart fell when I didn’t see him in there. I quickly started to scan the still-dark room. My mister was holding the door knob, wanting to leave the bedroom. After my heart stopped racing, it hit: my child just climbed out of the pack-and-play!

Once we returned home, it wasn’t an issue. His crib is a lot larger than the pack-and-play, and although he stands tall, he could not quite swing his leg up to the top of the crib. That was then. Fast forward a month later and it happened. Evan can climb out of his crib. Insert all words of concern, fear and the feeling of being lost here. What am I supposed to do now? He is 21 months, too young in my opinion to comprehend bed training, and I know I’ll spend every minute of the night and nap time playing the “back in bed” game. It doesn’t mean anything to him yet; he will think it’s a game, much like “don’t touch.”

I consulted a friend who has been through this, twice. She offered two options: pick up a crib net or purchase a bed. She mentioned installing a lock on the outside of the bedroom door. I have a gate I originally thought I’d put in his doorway when the time came. Of course, I called Evan’s pediatrician who suggested putting his crib mat on the ground and removing the actual crib. She advised me to secure all remaining furniture in his room and make sure the room is completely safe and childproof. My anxiety for the situation is now through the roof!

Here’s the (funny) thing: Evan only pulls this with me at nap time. Although it’s recent, as in two days old, he has not yet tried it with my husband. Much like many other things, my mister saves the best most testing experiences for me. It seems like that’s a common mama experience! He pulls this when I go to leave the room, almost as a separation behavior. He would much rather me hold him and rock him (of course, I prefer that, too!) over laying him down to sleep. But no matter how tired he is, no matter if he was previously snoozing away on my shoulder, he does not transfer well. So how will that translate into a big-boy bed? Do I lay him on the bed and quickly run out of the room? How long do I play the “back in bed” game for before it completely disrupts both our sleeping routines? I realize this is one of those “this too shall pass” moments and I’ll miss it (really? I’ll miss this on his 13th birthday?!), but I feel completely out of my element here!

I would love any guidance from all my Fit Bottomed Mama friends! What worked for you and is this around the age you experienced this? —Jennifer

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