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Climbing on furniture

from 1 year 6 months to 3 years

Climbing is an important stage in the development of gross motor skills.

It's adorable the first time your wobbly tot tries to pull herself (themselves) up onto the couch or a chair - you might not be able to stop the smiles and giggles!

In the future, though, that happy feeling may be gone as you watch your toddler trying to scale every piece of furniture or vertical structure in their path. It can be difficult behavior for parents to manage. At the very least, it may seem inappropriate and a bit irritating. It can also lead to many a couch cushion or book case being ruined. The greatest concern for most parents, though, is safety. Your child is going to fall. They could get scraped and bumped, and may suffer some more serious injuries.

In light of the very real possibility of harm, you might want to put an end to the climbing. Trying to stop a climbing toddler is not likely to work, though. A better approach is to learn what motivates your child to climb, look for ways to redirect that urge, and do whatever you can to lessen the risks of injury.

Short of removing every item your toddler could possibly climb from your home, you can't really stop a climber. Climbing is an excellent way for young children to build strength, flexibility, and balance. It is also a way for young children to learn about their environment and to gain confidence.

Even if you are pretty lax about the no-climbing rule in your home, there are times where it is just unsafe or inappropriate, of course. When it does occur, you can apply these techniques to stop their specific behavior, but try to avoid making it seem that all climbing is forbidden. If you lose your temper, or your reaction is loud and angry, you might accidentally trigger one of the worst behaviors a toddler picks up on: turning something they know isn’t allowed into a way of seeking mom’s attention.

The first thing you may have to do then is to accept that toddlers aren't made to stay still. Once you understand your kid’s energy level and that this is a natural and healthy part of their growth, you can practice some patience and figure out how to cope with such energy.

Next, you should give your child time and space to move. An hour or two in the yard or at the playground is excellent, and it may tire a toddler enough that they’ll want to nap or rest for a while afterward. However, once they’re awake again, their energy is replenished and they’re ready to go. It’s important to give them time to run around and be active, if you try to give your kid only quiet play-time, they’ll have lots of pent up energy and it will backfire on you for sure. 

So, look around the areas where your toddler usually plays and see how you can make the environment more safe by taking steps such as:

  • Placing a toddler-friendly step stool near book shelves or by other areas that they can't reach (and where you don't mind them grabbing things off the shelf).
  • Pack away trinkets, knickknacks and other items that are magnets for curious toddlers (it's temporary; you should be able to put them back out by the time your child hits preschool).
  • Move furniture away from the windows and be sure that all windows are properly secured to prevent falls.

Make photos with your active toddler, upload to the App. Write whether he/she likes climbing.

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