After your child has been walking for a month or so, she’ll probably start climbing on chairs, beds, couches, and anything else she can reach. She climbs because she has a strong urge to touch and explore things around her. When she sees you doing seemingly magical things, like talking on the phone, using the computer, washing dishes, turning on the lights, or opening doors, she wants to get closer and imitate you. And in order to do that, to reach the phone or the desktop, she has to climb.
The climbing stage can be difficult because you have to keep your child safe, and that can mean almost constant supervision. If you leave her alone for even a few moments, you may hear the sound of a chair scraping along as your child prepares for her next climb. You might stop her from climbing because you fear for her safety, because furniture might be damaged, or simply because you don’t want her to climb. But her urge to climb is strong, and she may get angry and frustrated when she’s held back.
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.
Once your child starts climbing out of her crib, she’s probably ready to sleep in a bed. To keep her safe and satisfied during the day, try at times to make climbing easy for her. Take more trips to the park, where she can practice climbing with your supervision. You might want to give her a small step stool 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.