After a child has been
walking for a month or so, she’ll probably start climbing on chairs,
beds, couches, counters, and anything else she can reach. She climbs
because she has a strong urge to touch and explore things around
her. When she sees her parents doing seemingly magical things like
talking on the phone, washing dishes, turning on the lights, or
opening doors, she wants to get closer and imitate them. And in
order to do that—to reach the phone or the desktop—she has to climb.
The climbing stage can be difficult for parents because they have to
keep their child safe, and that can mean almost constant
supervision. If they leave her alone for even a few moments, they
may hear the sound of a chair scraping along as she prepares for her
next climb. They often stop her from climbing because they fear for
her safety, or because furniture might be damaged, or simply because
they don’t want her to climb just then. But her urge to climb is
strong and she may get angry and frustrated when she’s held back.
Then her parents will either have to deal with her behavior or try
to distract her
A child who climbs during the day may climb out of her crib at night
or at naptime, either to be with her parents or to explore the room.
Parents often are surprised the first time this happens. One mother
put her child in the crib for a nap, and then went to take a shower.
As she was lathering her hair, she heard a noise in the bathroom and
looked out to see her daughter standing there.
It’s almost impossible to force your child to stay in her crib, but
you can take precautions to make her climbing safer If she is
consistently climbing out of her crib, clear the nearby area and be
sure there are no toys or pieces of furniture for her to trip or
fall on. Close the stairway gates whenever she’s in her crib, and
use a night light in the hall so she can see if she climbs out
during the night. If you feel she’s ready, you might want to put the
crib away and have her sleep in a bed.
To keep her safe and satisfied during the day, try at times to make
climbing easy for her. You might give her a small stepstool to carry
around or get a small piece of indoor climbing equipment, such as a
slide, for her to play on safely. You also can place a chair near a
window so she can look out, take cushions off your couch so she can
climb on them, or even put a mattress on the floor so she can climb,
jump, and explore in safety.