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The Genius Way to Sleep Your Toddler Once He Can Easily Climb Out of a Crib

A few days ago, I posted The Great Escape, a video of T easily climbing out of his Pack-n-Play. Since the day he turned 15 months old, he was able to just as effortlessly scale his crib.

I’m not ready for the Big Boy Bed and what happens when your Little One no longer sleeps in an enclosed space. This is what my dear friend Steph, who is also a pediatrician and mother of two, calls “bedtime Ping-Pong:” Child climbs out of bed and comes into your room. You put him back to bed. He climbs out again. Repeat.

Not there yet.

Then again, as Steph pointed out, it isn’t safe to sleep your child in a Pack-n-Play or crib unsupervised once the monkey can escape because there’s a risk of falling and getting injured.

What to do?

Luckily, my neighbor who is a mom to a just turned 2-year-old had a brilliant solution.

The tent.

Baby Nook

The Baby Nook is a genius invention. It quickly folds up into a circle about two feet in diameter and a couple of inches thick and weighs next to nothing. It comes with built-in padding and UV protective fabric. And it zips completely shut, meaning your baby Houdini can’t escape. (Caution: You CANNOT sleep your child in a tent before one year of age, according to the manufacturer. This is for 1-year-old plus, okay?)

I was a bit concerned how T would react when I busted it out that first night, but he positively loved it from Day One. He literally leaps into his tent at nap and bedtime. I am not kidding you. He LOVES that tent.

Here’s a picture of him from just last night, snuggled up inside with his soothie and favorite blankie.

T in a Tent

 

It makes a lot of sense, actually, that he’d like the tent because kids are so into forts. Weren’t you always rearranging your furniture and stacking up sofa pillows to make yourself an enclosed space when you were young? And think about how we crate-train dogs because they feel safe and happy in a small cave-like space. Seems the same holds true for children… Or for some children at least. For my two boys, for sure, because Z now is loving his tent, too.

To make it a bit more comfy for regular, long-term sleep, we took the mattress out of the crib and put it on the floor. The tent sits atop that, just an inch off the floor. We’re going to roll with this solution for a while.

Okay, but here is the super extra awesome part about sleeping our twin toddlers in Baby Nooks:

HAVE TENTS, WILL TRAVEL.

Oh yeah. These tents aren’t just for sleeping at home, baby. They are so small and light-weight. About 100x easier to travel with than Pack-n-Plays. Which means you can take them to the beach. To your mom’s or a friend’s house so you can put the kids to bed and stay up chatting. To the park for shade. On a camping trip.

And when you fly off somewhere… The tents can come with you in your suitcase.

This is so fantastic. Stress, be gone!

I used to spend quite a lot of time arranging to borrow two Pack-n-Plays whenever we hit the road. TWO. I mean, most of the AirBnBs we’ve stayed at could get one crib for me. But not two. And it’s hella expensive to rent a Pack-n-Play from a travel baby service like Baby’s Away.

Now my husband and I just pop those two tents in our big suitcase, pack our clothes around them, and off we go!

We just did this on our most recent trip to New York (don’t miss my post: Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Toddlers) and it worked beautifully. Both boys felt at home in their tents and slept well from the very first day in a new location. And I didn’t have to worry about arranging for the cribs to be there.

So I’m all for the Baby Nook or a similar tent after your Little One turns one. And I’d love to hear what you think or what other options you’ve figured out for sleeping toddlers.

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