Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Monica — awesome tips! Thanks so much for offering them 🙂

  2. Monica says

    We converted my son’s crib to toddler bed the first time he climbed out for the same fears. The best advise I can give you there is don’t keep but a very few toys in his room and make sure it is totally baby proofed. Books are good. My son would bring several books in bed with him and fall asleep in bed I would go in later and take them off his face and bed so they would be out of his way. Also a baby gate at the door way is a great way to keep them in their room and leaving the door open so they don’t feel too locked in and you can easily peek at them when you need to, then we would threaten to close it if he kept getting up he would get 1 warning then we would close half way with a shoe or book keeping it there. Then all the way. Yes there was some screaming the first couple times we did that and then he go it. Another option that my friend did when her son (very big for his age) climbed out of bed before 2 is they dropped the crib bottom to the floor that gave another foot and he wasn’t able to climb out again 🙂 Hope this helps!

  3. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Angie — oh, this is so tough! To be honest, this is just a tricky situation all around. 18 months is pretty young to be in a big kid bed, for just the reason you mention — it’s tough for an 18 month old to practice the self-control necessary to stay in bed! However, I totally get your fears about him falling out of bed and REALLY getting hurt next time.

    As for what to do – I’d recommend talking to your healthcare provider, and getting tips from him/her. I’ve known parents who’ve gone ahead with the transition, just for peace of mind – the thought there is that if the child is going to be getting in and out of bed anyway, you may as well embrace it, and make it safer, instead of trying to fight it. I’ve also known parents who’ve stuck with the crib, and tried to “wait it out” so to speak. Some kids will climb in and out of the crib a few times, but once the novelty wears off, or once they have a big (and scary) fall, they pretty much stop. That’s a temperament thing, though – depends SO much on personality, as to whether or not your son would do that.

    Either way – whether you go to a bed, or whether you stick with the crib — you will want to carefully toddler-proof his room. I would even plan on bolting big furniture to the wall, or just getting rid of any tall, heavy pieces of furniture altogether.

    Hope this helps, Angie! Thanks for reaching out to ask your questions – we’re always here to offer tips! 🙂

  4. Angie says

    So, my son turns 18 months in about 2 weeks. Yesterday he was down for his nap and started crying. He was only down for about an hour and he usually naps for about 3. So, this being said, I usually let him cry a little bit and he usually soothes himself back to sleep. Except this time there was a huge THUD. I sprinted upstairs (and for a 9 week pregnant lady, it probably was more like a fast jog). There he was to greet me at his door bawling his face off. Now both my husband and I are freaking out if it will happen again and what we should do. My husband is worried he’ll do it again and fall in his neck and severely injure himself. So, for tonight we put him back in the crib and surrounded it with pillows and bean bags. I’m just not sure he’s ready to transition ( or maybe it’s just me). He’s getting into everything these days and am not sure he will have the control to stay in his bed. That being said, I also don’t want to risk him trying to kamikaze out the crib and risk seriously injuring himself. What does ” regularly” getting out of bed mean? Do I just wait until he falls out of bed again to call it “regular”? We are just so worried next time he’ll seriously injure himself. Any advice/ guidance is appreciated!!

  5. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Emily — rest assured that this is a totally normal problem. Totally, totally normal. However, I’m betting that the fact that it’s normal doesn’t make you feel any better about dealing with it!

    It sounds to me like you’re doing the right thing here, by not engaging with your son when he gets up, and just steering him right back to bed. You could implement some consequences, like @Meagan mentions with the door idea. It would be best if the consequences were immediate and connected with bedtime, so the door idea works. You could also try taking a stuffed animal (or something else in his bed — blanket, book, etc.) away each time he gets up. You don’t have to implement consequences, of course, but that’s something to at least consider.

    Let us know what ends up working, Emily! And thanks for commenting.

    @ Meagan — thanks for weighing in, and for helping a fellow mom! One of my favorite things to see in the comments section of each article — parents helping other parents 🙂

  6. Meagan says

    @Emily I can’t remember where I saw this idea (parent hacks maybe?) but I think it could work for you? You take some duct tape, preferably in a color or pattern of your son’s choosing (but you could probably use a less perminant tape if you were worried about long term effects) and put tape on the floor marking with the door all the way open, 3/4 open, 1/2 open and 1/4 open. You explain to your son that when he goes to bed the door is open, but every time he gets out of bed, it moves to the next mark. So the 4th time he gets out of bed, the door closes for the night. Supposedly, the incentive of having the door open is enough to keep some kids in bed once they get the concept, and the tape gives a tangible illustration so they can understand what’s happening. It’s not a punishment, it’s just the rule of what happens to the door every night.

    My son is still in a crib so we’ve never tried it (and anyway we have to keep the door closed, so it wouldn’t work) but if you have an open door at bedtime, it might be worth a try?

  7. Emily says

    I came looking for this info – glad it is such a recent article! Our son is 2.5 years old, and has been sleeping in his “big boy bed” since about December. We had a second baby in November and thought it would be better to switch him to the big bed sooner than later so he wouldn’t feel like he was getting booted from the crib when she is ready for it. We went right to a twin bed, with a bed rail. He seems to like it, and sleeps well in it – once he is asleep. At first he wanted one of us to lie with him in the bed until he fell asleep (which we did). Then he did well with the tuck-in routine (stories, songs) and “check-ins” every 5-10 minutes, lots of praise if he stayed in his bed. But the past few nights he has been popping out of bed almost before we close the door behind us and following us out. We are trying to just put him back in bed with little comment or discussion, but even 1/2 hour of this makes me want to tear my hair out. My husband has been giving in and lying down with him after the millionth (or so it seems) time putting him back — I’m sure not a good idea but at that point we’re desperate. Any other suggestions that might help? I would be OK with him playing with his stuffed animals in bed or whatever if he can’t fall asleep for a while, but so far he can’t manage that.

  8. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Darcy H — excellent suggestions! Thanks for sharing these, Darcy; I know a lot of the parents who read our blog appreciate really hands-on, practical tips like these. 🙂

  9. Darcy H says

    Our daughter decided at 18 months that she didn’t want to be in her crib anymore. She made this clear by screaming/crying whenever we tried to leave the room at night. Since we have never been of the “Cry-it-out” mindset, this was upsetting for all of us. We started sleeping on a single bed with her until she fell asleep and then setting up things so that she couldn’t fall out during the night. We also let her have her naps on the bed. But I was worried about her trying to climb out when she woke up. I had seen some Montessori info about sleeping on the floor and I was intrigued. The first time we put a single mattress on the floor, our daughter was elated! She loved being on her bed! The first week or so I stayed with her until she fell asleep but soon she was able to go to sleep by herself and didn’t once climb out of bed. In the morning she would wait until I came to get her but after about a month she started to come out in the morning after she had slept long enough. In the last four months she’s only climbed out of bed at night 3 times, usually because she was sick or upset about something. After putting her back and explaining that she wasn’t allowed to get out, she would stay put.
    Some things we found that helped: Making the bed cozy with pillows, blankets and one or two special stuffed animals. Waiting until she fell asleep until leaving the room for the first little while (we moved to a new home during this time and it took a month before she was ready to fall asleep alone in her new room). Not having toys in her room (all her toys are part of our living space). Making it fun to have your bed on the floor!

  10. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Amruta — I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling with this transition! You must be exhausted and overwhelmed at this point, and that’s understandable.

    First, let me say that at 19 months old, your son doesn’t need to nurse during the night (and definitely not several times per night.) So it might be encouraging to you to know that this isn’t something you need to keep doing. He’s probably just waking out of habit at this point, because it’s something he’s always done.

    The next step is to help him learn how to fall asleep on his own and stay asleep in his own bed. We have a free guide that can help you get started with that; you can access it here:

    Start with that, and if you still need help in getting your son to sleep well, you can contact us again to learn more about our other options.

    Hope this proves helpful for you, Amruta! And hang in there; you can do it! 🙂