When your child figures out how to get out of his or her crib, what do you do? Do you move them to a toddler bed and give up the cozy confines of a crib? Or do you leave them in their crib, and hope that the novelty of climbing out wears off?
I say leave them in the crib as long as they still fit. The sooner they go to a real bed, the sooner you have to deal with them smearing feces on the wall, messing with the dresser, and coming out of their room.
But couldn't they get hurt climbing out of their crib?
Of course they could! However, my theory is that the first time they climb out will also be their last. So to keep a child in their crib, simply put them back in it. Let me illustrate...
Say your little precious starts the ascent up the side of the crib. Up up up he goes. He reaches the summit, miles away from base camp, and realizes the he has made it. He's on top of the world, but there's still one thing left to do... climb down the other side. Having no experience in such matters, the little nugget figures this will be an easy task. He throws his legs over with reckless abandon and tries to shimmy down, only to discover he has the upper body strength of a one year old. One by one the fingers slip, and his heart begins racing. In mere seconds he has gone from the top of the world, to the painful, hard, depths, better known as the floor.
So what has the little nugget learned? Hopefully he has learned that falling is not near as fun as climbing, so he better stay in his crib.
Now before you jump on my case let me say a few things. First, I'm assuming that the first time the child falls out of the crib is almost unavoidable. There has been no pattern of behavior that would lead the parent to believe that the child would attempt such a maneuver. Second, subsequent times in the crib would be monitored a little more closely. I do realize that the child could be seriously hurt, but also think that the first experience may deter them from any further climbing. I also know that every kid is different, so feel free to ignore everything I've just said!
What has your experience been with your toddlers?