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So at night time, sometimes my 22-month-old daughter is climbing out of her crib and then playing. I was thinking of these options:

  • Letting her play until she gets tired and falls asleep on the floor (or the big-girl mattress that we have on the floor for her)
  • Putting her back in the crib when we notice she's out

Any suggestions?

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Isn't climbing out of the crib the traditional indicator for "it's time to switch to a bed"? Of course, that would hardly help with the whole getting out of bed in the middle of the night thing... –  Martha Feb 10 '12 at 18:14

6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Put them back in bed. Without talking, without expression, just back in bed and leave. 'Rinse and repeat' until they stay in bed.

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This is what we did with ours. Minimal interaction so there is no reward for getting out of bed. –  dave Jul 6 '11 at 0:10
    
It might take a while (probably a week or 2) until your daughter gets used to the idea, and these will be long evenings for you. The best is if not only one parent is doing this but you split the task between the parents, because it can get on your nerves. However, it is worth the effort. First, your child will learn that you put limitations, and you stand behind your word that she needs to go to sleep. Second, children need as much sleep as possible, and going to sleep early is a good habit to develop. –  Zottek Jul 6 '11 at 6:40

When she climbs out of her crib, it's time to get her a different bed. Climbing is easier than getting down safely. As she'll climb out anyway, make it safe by getting her a bed that isn't dangerous to get out off.

About the getting out, put her back (repeatedly if needed) as answered by others.

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If you want to teach your daughter obedience, then you would put her back in the crib and tell her that at night time, she sleeps. Otherwise, I would just let her play until she's tired.

If you let her play until she's tired, she will in future desire to do whatever she wants to, because she has had in one occasion "won" her way.

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I doubt if one pattern at 22 months of age will determine future behaviour for life. Isn't it better to teach/enforce obedience in things that actually matter? (Doing homework, eating/sleeping on time.) –  ShreevatsaR Jul 5 '11 at 7:16
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One pattern at 22 months of age will not determine "for life", but it will for the next few times. If you continue letting her have her way against the rules, I'm not saying its wrong to let her have her way, but having her way against the rules, she will develop an idea that rules don't really apply. –  Cryst Jul 5 '11 at 8:10
    
Well ok, I was just saying probably "stay in your crib" is not a worthwhile rule to make in the first place. Make too many arbitrary and pointless rules and the child will get the wrong impression about rules. Of course, I don't know the family situation and how crucial staying in the crib is. –  ShreevatsaR Jul 5 '11 at 9:20
    
Yes, that's true, the OP actually didn't state that she was meant to be in the crib, but I'll assume that she is. –  Cryst Jul 5 '11 at 9:37

In addition to the suggestions of putting her back in, it's also a good idea to disassociate the bedroom with playing. Keep a separate play room (or, if you don't have the extra rooms, an area to keep her toys and whatnot in a non-bedroom place in the house) where all her toys are. That way, there's nothing worthwhile getting out of bed for. That also reinforces the "bedroom = sleep" connotation.

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Separate spaces for play and sleep is a luxury that some cannot afford, or don't want because the toys would clutter space needed for others (living room). –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jul 18 '11 at 17:08
    
@TorenGB - Having only enough rooms for the standard stuff (ie - no extra rooms to dedicate to a playroom) myself, I fully understand not having the extra rooms to dedicate, hence the suggestion to make another room dual-use. However, making a room, such as a living room dual use, even if it does risk cluttering up, is, in my opinion, part of the sacrifices that need to be made as a parent, just as the sleepless nights of sleep training are. As for the clutter, that's what toyboxes are for, as well as designated spaces within rooms. –  Shauna Jul 18 '11 at 20:00
    
Good response! You should edit that into your answer. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jul 18 '11 at 20:54

We always let our son play for a few hours after we put him in bed at 8. We would just laugh and take pictures of him fallen asleep in the middle of his pile of toys in night. He never seemed to be tired during the day, he just caught up on his sleep during nap time.

Our second and third children haven't yet decided that they want to climb out of their beds and play. I suggest letting them play.

Pick your battles. I'm sure that you've got enough war with them during the day.

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Why not let her sleep on the floor? Why not let her sleep with you?

Be sure to have a good unwinding portion at the end of the day. Turn the TV/radio down, turn down the lights, make it calming, and then do the nighttime routine. If she is still getting up in the night to play, she is probably getting too much sleep during the day. Be tons of fun all day, lots of play, lots of noise, play outside where it is light, then prepare for bed by unwinding.

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