How to Keep a Crib-Climbing Toddler Safe (and Maybe Get Them to Take a Nap)

Fatherly's resident parenting expert talks about helping a crib climber and getting a toddler to take a nap.

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“Fatherly Advice” is a weekly parenting advice column by the experts at Fatherly. Need hard-won insights and scientific facts to resolve a parenting dilemma or family dispute? Email advice@fatherly.com. Need justifications for parenting decisions you’ve already made? Ask someone else. We’re far too busy for that nonsense.

 

Fatherly,

My 9-month-old son is climbing the rails of his crib and he doesn’t know how to get back down from standing yet. I am worried about him falling. Any advice?

Tracy
The Internet

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There’s nothing more exciting than a child on the cusp of toddlerhood. This stage provides more pulse-pounding thrills than a Fast and Furious movie, except the stakes are higher. Right now, you’re essentially Jason Statham having a gunfight on Charlize Theron’s airplane while toting around a baby in a car seat. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about then my first piece of advice is to watch the clip below, which really puts this whole thing in perspective.

Fatherly IQ
Is it appropriate for kids to play with toys made for the opposite gender?
Yes, kids should play with whatever they want
No, it confuses them
Thanks for the feedback!

At any rate, look, it’s amazing your kid is pulling himself up on his own. Achievement unlocked. You really don’t need to worry too much about him getting down. He might totter backward, but he’ll more likely land on his bottom than bonk his head. At any rate, he’ll figure it out pretty quickly, particularly if you give him plenty of supervised practice at pulling up and sitting back down when he’s out of his crib.

Your main worry should be that he’ll pull himself all the way over the rails. But it’s unlikely he has that kind of coordination or strength right now. If you think he does, then most cribs have the option to lower the mattress, for this exact purpose. Will it be fun or easy to do? As the kids say, lolz.

Having a kid that can pull up and stand in the crib can certainly make parents nervous. And those nerves can affect sleep training if they’re more prone to rush in and try to help a kid out who doesn’t know how to sit back down. If you’ve already started sleep training, then do your best to stick with the program already in place. Consistency is absolutely key.

But again, this is a really great and wonderful moment on the path towards toddlerhood. Things are getting fast and furious. That’s not a bad thing.

 

Fatherly,

My kid has decided to stop napping, but she’s only a year old? It’s incredibly frustrating for both of us. Can I just let her stop napping or is there a way to get her back on track?

David
Houston, Texas

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Let me start by answering your first question unequivocally: No, your kid should not stop napping. It’s important to think about kid sleep more holistically. So, at 12 months old, your daughter needs anywhere between 12 to 14 hours of sleep over a 24 hour period. Unless she’s sleeping 12 hours every night, she needs to catch some Zzzs during the day. Why? Because kids who nap during the day do better on most developmental metrics. They are more patient. They are better at learning. They are sweeter. They are basically closer to the child you think you have than the child you actually have.

On the other hand, children who don’t nap during the day are likely to be sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation is linked to nasty stuff like increased chances of behavioral issues, a harder time sleeping at night and greater risk for childhood obesity.

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