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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

WFMW: Climbing children?

Today is backwards day at Works for Me Wednesday, which means that I get to ask for tips instead of sharing one.

So, here's my question... how do you keep small boys from climbing and pushing every piece of furniture in the house??? Argh! My 18-month old son is a climber. For a while we could block off the kitchen table area (we have an open floor plan) with the pack-n-play and some kitchen chairs, but no more... he's strong enough now to simply push those things out of his way. His favorite activity right now is to climb into a kitchen chair, then sit on top of the table and loudly proclaim "get down!" while grinning from ear to ear. (I'm glad he can say the words, now we just need to work on understanding the meaning!) As soon as someone gets him away from the table, he goes to the other side of the room to try climbing the couch or pushing around a lightweight end table. And so it goes all day long... help!

We have tried the logical things: giving him push toys, taking him safe places to climb, distracting him with other activities. I've tried "no" and sitting him on the couch. I've tried sitting at the table myself to keep him down, but eventually I have to get up and do other things, so he's right back at it.

I know this is a phase and he'll eventually grow out of it, but in the meantime, any tips? His 4 year-old sister did some climbing when she was this age, but nothing quite so persistant. So please, tell me, what works for you?


  1. Kids that age have a strong drive to climb, climb, climb. They can't help it.

    It's hard during the winter when you can't always go to the nearest playground to let them burn off energy and release the climbing bug a little. Is there a mall play area or other indoor playground where you can take him a few times a week? These have saved my sanity in the past when I was constantly plucking toddlers off furniture.

    I have a 16 month-old-daughter who just pulled herself up on a kitchen chair for the first time yesterday. She is our sixth child, so I know there is so much more to come.

  2. I know that you must be very frustrated. What worked for me was to keep a real close eye on my daughter and anytime she started to climb I would scoop her up place her on the "naughty stool" and the first time I would tell her "No climbing, you could get a boo-boo." After that for the rest of the day, just pick her up and tell her no and place on the stool. It might take a few days but eventually it should break the habit. But it will be a hard few days, you can't let accomplish hsi task of climbing. Even if it means that you have to have him by your side.

  3. I feel for you. My first two never climbed anything. My youngest (10 months old) is obviously going to try to be a climber. He's already walking a little bit and tries to climb anything he can including going up the stairs.

    I think you've gotten the best advise already because it works for other things. Take him to an indoor play place as often as you can to let him have fun. Then plan a few days of just keeping right on top of his climbing so you can correct him EVERY time he does it. You'll need to wake up early and stay up a little later to get stuff done. Use your crockpot for dinner. See if you can find some friends to come over and help you watch him during those days so you can do other things. He'll get it if you are more persistent than he is.

  4. My two middle children were just 17 months apart and both like to climb. One thing I would do when I was busy making supper or something and couldn't watch them well enough was put them each in their high chair and let them play with coloring books, playdo, jello, pudding whatever. I would let them use my plastic utensils. Sometimes I put newspaper under the chair for messing playing then I would just take them out and stick them in the tub. It would keep them busy for awhile.

    I really don't think there is a cure for climbing. At least I never discovered one.

  5. You said it, this too shall pass. The joys of raising boys! I had to take my boys out of the house to playgrounds A LOT when they were little. Exhausting. I feel your pain!

  6. My middle child is a climber and I have found her in all sorts of places! I have tried everything I could think of. So I have just taken to having her always within 3 feet of me or within my sight so that I can correct her as soon as she starts climbing on something she shouldn't.

    I try and make sure that she has plenty of "allowed" climb time: playground, swing set, etc. That helps get some of her climbiness out (I know that isn't a word, lol)

    I also try and make sure she isn't just doing it so she is bored. We do a lot of exercise sessions in my home, lol. I'll literally stand there and have the kids jump up and down as I do to music or whatnot. By the end of exercising, they are tuckered out and ready to help me as I do housework or ready for a quiet book or snack.

  7. I second the high chair thing. Stickers or coloring in the high chair. Restraint, restraint, restraint.

    And this stage will pass. My 2 year old did the EXACT same thing, climb in the middle of the kitchen table and say Get Down! Now, I can't remember the last time did that, and she just turned 2 Dec 14. So you might only have another month or so of this. She has ZERO healthy fear factor tho - I have to watch her like a hawk.

    I also let her fall a couple of times...hurts mommy and baby, but helps them learn.

  8. I was taking notes from all of your comments. My youngest is 15 months and she is a climber. I can't tell you how many times today I got her down from the table. Oh it can drive me crazy! She's always so proud of herself too. Hope you get yours to keep the climbing to less dangerous levels.

  9. My sister has three climbers! Oldest one just got stitches to the mouth yesterday. My boys are grown now, but I remember having to be there every second to grab them.

    That's my advice, even though it sounds totally infeasible, that's what us Mom's do, the infeasible!

    Charge up your super powers, you're going to need them, you'll have fun telling the stories and showing the scars later on :)


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