Containing Your Wandering Toddler During Sleeptime
The good news: SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is no longer a concern now that your child is a toddler, and younger toddlers tend to stay put in their cribs. The bad news: As your child's second birthday approaches, some children may start trying to climb out of their cribs. This can be unnerving for parents who don't want to hear "things" go bump in the night.
But don't rush to move your climber out of his crib. "Many parents switch from a crib to a bed too early," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., a pediatric sleep researcher and author of "Sleeping through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep." She says most 2-year-olds don't have the impulse control needed to stay in bed -- most kids don't develop it until sometime between their third and fourth birthdays.
In the meantime, a crib tent is helpful at containing a wannabe wanderer. If you're intent on moving your toddler to a bed, know that it's not a now-or-never situation: Give it a try. If your toddler won't stay in bed, move him back to his crib and try the switch again in a few weeks or months.
To prevent your small child from wandering the house during the wee hours, notable sleep expert Richard Ferber, M.D., makes a suggestion: Put up a safety gate in your child's doorway. "Your child can see out but is still confined to the room."