How to Keep 13 Month Old from Climbing on Everything

Updated on January 26, 2012
S.M. asks from Denton, TX
15 answers

I know that 13 month old boys love to climb on stuff. I work at home and he stays home with me. My work at home job is just like being in an office in that I have to be available from 8-5 with an hour lunch. It is a regular 40 hour a week job that the office just happens to be in my living room. He stays home with me while I work because financiallly, that is the only option. And my job is flexible enough that I can play with him if I have downtime and catch up on my work at night, but I still have to be available if the phone rings or anything like that. Anyway, having said all son climbs on absolutely everything! He has recently learned how to climb onto the couch that is under the bar area from the kitchen and then climbs up the couch onto the counter/bar area. And he does it so quickly, if I turn my head for 30 seconds, he is already up there. This is so dangerous, but I don't know how to stop him from doing it. I can, and do, tell him no very firmly, but what else can you really do for a 13 month old? He doesn't really understand. Any ideas to keep him from climbing? The living room is small, especially with my office in it, so there isn't any other place to move the couch. He has a million toys in here he can play with, but he just wants to climb on everything.

Also, to tack on another question...Any ideas as to activities that might keep him busy for 15 minutes or so at a time? He doesn't watch TV. I have tried baby videos and kid movies and he couldn't care less about them. I am just so worn out trying to keep up with my job and taking care of him. I need help to keep my sanity. Any ideas? Quitting my job is not an option, my husband does not make enough by himself to support us all, and we already live pretty simply and modestly. (no vacations, out to eat very seldom, new clothes - almost never, etc)

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for the great suggestions. I ended up turning the couch around so that the part you sit on is facing the wall and he can't get on it. And then we can turn it back the correct way nights and weekends when I'm not working. Also, to answer a couple of questions, yes, the company knows he is at home with me while I am working. Luckily, with my position, I have very few phone calls. Most of my communication is done via email or instant message. If I do need to call someone, I wait until the baby is sleeping. I wish I could quit my job or hire someone to come help me, but it is just not financially possible. My salary makes up half of our household income, so it isn't something we could do without. Thanks again for all of your help.

Featured Answers



answers from Cincinnati on

My daughter is also a climber, so we bought her an indoor jungle-gym just for her. She loved having something she was ALLOWED to climb on. It really helped!

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Diego on

How in the world do you answer the phones professionally with a toddler crying in the background?

Without seeing your set up, I fail to know of a way to spread yourself between an office job and a baby. I've never known anyone to do it without taking their children to daycare or hiring someone to come in and take the child to another room.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

take everything out of the room.
Then he won't have anything to climb on.

It is real hard, not to make them climb.
It is developmental. They are learning about all sorts of physical coordination etc. They just do that. Boys or girls.

You might want to get a Mommy's Helper, to help with your son when you are working.

And it is close to impossible, to get a kid to just stay still and keep still. Especially at that age. And as they get older, it still happens.
And yes, they are QUICK. This is all normal though.
In 5 seconds, they can really get all over the place.

I really suggest, you get a Mommy's Helper.
NOTHING, will keep a kid that age, still, for 15 or more minutes at a time.
Unless he is a bump on a log.
And yes it is tiring.
I, have worked at home at times, when both my kids were that age.
But you ALSO have to take them out... and do things with them.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Champaign on

I have two boys, and this is a really tough time of year for them. They love to climb and move. My dad says you can just see their muscles twitching if they're asked to stay still for too long.

We just did everything we could to make our house as safe as possible, moved furniture in ways that created as little safety hazards as possible. I take them out whenever I can. We go to the soft-play at the mall, the library, McDonalds, any other indoor playground, really just anything I can think of so they can burn off energy.

The thing is, you can't stop him from climbing. The only thing you can really do is create safe ways for him to climb. He's a little kid. It's in his nature to get into things and climb things.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Some kids climb a lot more than others. 13months is pretty young. I am sure you have your hands full.

could you get a gate for the top of the bar? Just a regular child's gate?

Are you sure you can't re-arrange the room? Take a good look.

Turn your child's bedroom into a child safe office during the day. Put a gate up on the door to keep you and baby in, or set up your office right outside the door in the hall so baby can see you, but is safe in the bedroom.

If you own the home consider a dutch door.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Rearrange your furniture. Move the couch from under the counter, so he can't climb on it anymore.

Both my kids were major climbers, the only thing I could do was reduce his opportunities by moving around or getting rid of furniture and doing a lot of babyproofing. Our living room was small too, it was only an 800 sq ft apartment, at one point we even took down the kitchen table and chairs to move a couch to a safer location. You have to be very inventive.

When the phone rings, put him in his room for a little while. Maybe have an age appropriate climber/slide in there for him. Little Tykes has tons of options and I see them on craigslist all the time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I would try to take your son outside for physical activity like running, jumping, rolling around, climbing on a play structure, at least once a day, twice if you can fit it in. Maybe first thing in the morning before you start work, then at lunch before his nap? It might get out his physical energy and make him feel less cooped up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Put a bike helmet on him and pray for God to assign him extra angels. Kids who are climbers are going to climb. My son literally climbed the walls around age 2. Really. (My daughter was never a climber thankfully!)

When you have to take a call and youthink he may climb you should strap a bike helmet on him - I dn't have a better solution cuz I never could figure out how to make an active boy be less active. Does he have his own bedroom? Maybe you should make his room climb-proof (put chest of drawers in the hall for now) and stack two gates across the bedroom door for when you have long calls.

I know these sound drastic - but climbing kids will climb and I can't think of a way to stop them - you just have to make the area safe for the inevitable fall.

Good luck mama!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

sounds like my son... hes 14 months and does the same thing, and at this point he gets to the back of the couch, which is not against a wall. He stands up their, jumps with his legs out in front of him and plops down, now i cant even yell because if I do it distracts his concentration and I am afraid he will go over the back. So I have to come over there, take him off say no, and put him in his room with 2, count em 2, baby gates cause he climbs over the one. My girls never did this to this extent. I did get some Fisher Price and a couple other types of climb slides from craigslist and garage sales. The little tykes step two cube slides, and climing blocks keep him pretty busy. Regular blocks keep him busy, BIG kids legos, I also keep a sorts of small to med boxes from around the house. I tape up the ends so he cant open them, and let him play with them. He builds and throws them around and I dont care if they get broken or crushed. Sometimes just taking him outside for a 15 minute time out in the yard is enough, I do it even in the cold.
I also part time work from home for some extra cash. I run a tiny business, with a partner mom selling Authentic Indian Clothing online through various sites. Its not a hard job, but I have to be connected to the internet at all times. to reply to questions and requests. I do all the emailing, and picture taking, while my partner does the travelling, storing, and shipping. Its a pain but it helps. Sometimes my older girls help but that's rare, since they are a job too they are only 5 and 2... and fight constantly.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Here is the deal. Climbing is a developmental milestone and they need to do this every day..

Also, children need LOTS of play time.. and as much outside time as possible.. If you can take your son outside for an hour to an hour and a half 2 times a day.. that would be great. AND it would make it easier for you to teach him.. Pick one for each transaction.

"We keep our feet on the floor when we play inside."

"We only climb outside. "

"We do not climb on the Couch, we sit on the Couch.."

We did purchase a small Tiny Tikes 3 step slide when she was really young that she could climb inside on.. And so we would say.

"You may climb on the slide." But our bottoms go on the couch."

Your son just needs to learn the rules.. This means going over EVERY TIME and removing him and placing his feet on the floor, or sitting him down on the sofa.. YES, he can learn this. He sounds very bright, he will catch on if you can keep up with him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Perhaps you could arrange his room so that you can put him there safely to play (and climb) for 15 semi-alone minutes at a time?

It's time to make his room more conducive to play instead of being a nursery.

As a single mom, when my boys were both toddlers, I had to be able to do things like take a shower or have a BM without worrying about the boys tearing up the house or themselves. I completely child-proofed their room and turned the door handle around so that the lock was on the outside. I then made sure that they were fed, diapers were clean, etc. Gave them something interesting to play with and locked the door.

You have to do what you have to do.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Working full time from home with a 13 month old definitely goes in my list of impossible things to do. You can't stop a 13 month old from climbing and getting into stuff. And this is just the beginning. Little boys are very active , it's good for them to explore things on their own. But that means you need to watch them carefully. They are so fast , they can hurt themselves even while you are watching. Climbing up that high on the counter is scary.

1. I am not sure what job you do , if it's highly paid but if you can quit that job and take up few more kids and babysit at home, it would let you earn extra money and at the same time you can give your attention to the kids all day.

2. Does your employer know that you have a toddler at home? If so, then can you arrange to have the calls during his nap time?

3. You can leave your son in his crib while you take your phone call. He may scream but he will be safe( as long as he doesn't climb out of the crib yet). if not, you can leave him in his room for few minutes if it's completely child proofed.

4. You can leave him on his high chair with the belts on. He will be safe there.

5. I have a superyard for my son. I always leave him in there when I have to use the restroom etc. It's not very inexpensive but it's very useful. The one I have has some toys on one of the walls, sturdy colored walls looks like a play area than a cage(i feel that's how the other plain ones look like). I am not able to find the link for the one I have. But google 'superyard' you will get an idea what I am talking about.

6.You can install baby gates if possible so that the little one does not get to the couch.

7. Or re arrange furniture , put your office table near the counter and couch elsewhere. The living room may look oddly arranged but atleast it will be safer for your son.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

If I had a solution, I'd probably be very rich by now. lol
I think the only solution is to wait it out.

Can you maybe try building him tunnels to crawl under or obstacles on the floor to go over using pillows, blankets, etc? Make him a tent under the dining room table with the chairs turned out and a blanket thrown over the top? Give him a flashlight. :/

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think I would try putting something large on the couch so he can't get on it.

As for keeping him occupied for 15 minutes at a time, how about giving him some play dough and putting him in his high chair. Most kids love play dough.

Or you could give him a pan, lid, spoon and some pasta or something and let him pretend to cook you lunch.

Basically anything he can do while sitting in his high chair will free you up a bit. I also agree with child proofing his room, putting up some baby gates and having him play in his room for a little bit while you're working.

I agree with the others that a little outside time a couple of times a day will help a lot. It doesn't have to be an hour, but even 30 minutes twice a day would help. Fresh air and sunshine help tire them out and make for a good nap!



answers from Dallas on

I have used super yard xt to prevent my son from climbing on furniture in the living room. I bought the extensions also and made a big play yard in the living room. I'll put all his toys inside. Couch and other furniture stays outside the gate. When we have guests I fold the gate and put it in another room.

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