My 21 Month Old Is Climbing Everywhere Help!!!

Updated on February 29, 2008
J.J. asks from Paragould, AR
18 answers

My 21 month old son is getting into and climbing up on anything and everything. If it is 1 foot off the ground he is on top of it. I think well if he falls and gets hurt maybe he'll learn but then i think what if he gets really bad hurt. How will i handle that? It's like he is not scared of anything. We had a set of coffee tables, end tables and couch table that had very thin glass in them. (had we known we were going to get him we would have never bought this type of furniture) but, he kept climbing on them or underthem and kicking glass out of it. We were afraid he was going to fall through glass or glass bust and cut him. So we traded them wth my parents. For some god awfull solid wood ones. He can't hurt them but he is constantly climbing on them. Not just getting up there and sitting he is standing and then stepping off. I'm afraid he's going to break a bone or hit his head. You try so hard to protect them but how far do you go?
I think it's the age where he is curious & then he trys to communicate and when we don't understand he crys.
He's got me at my wits end. I need some advice. Have any of you went through a monkey boy?
Thanks, jan

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So What Happened?

O Wow! I got so much good advice here. It is so great to hear I'm not alone in this wild child raising. I guess it is THE BOY thing I've had girls in the past and I can't recall any of them being so wild in climbing.
I think my most worry is when I was a foster parent and would get kids there was a few children that fell and got hurt. (One girl for example: climbed up on her high chair and fell and broke her arm. Even though the parents hadn't had any other complaints they pulled that child into foster care inorder to investigate) I felt that was so uncalled for and after having a couple others pulled and when they found out there wasn't probible cause they returned children to their parents. WHAT DID THAY DO TO THE CHILD!!!!????
So I guess I'm alittle gun shy. I would die before I harmed either of my kids or any kids for that matter.
I myself don't really care if he gets up on these old tables and SITS. It's when he stands up and jumps or starts to act crazy and I can invision the blood. I get him down. A firm pop on the but fazes him for a second and he usually laughs.
Last night he started monkeying around and before he climbed he pulled his britches off and was monkeying around on coffee table in his shirt and diaper. When I pulled him off I spatted him on his bare leg. He gets down and jumps around and runs to get britches and brought them to me to put them on. I couldn't help but find that funny cause he realized the britches pads the spat.
But thank everyone so much. I'm also going to let my husband read these and let him know we're not alone.

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answers from Little Rock on

My son went through a period of doing things like that. You have already done what I would have said to do about the coffee
and inn tables.He is going through a stage that most boys go through.All I can tell you that be glad isn't any higher than a
foot or two at best. Mine never really got to climb on anything higher than that. Falls are going to happen so be ready to pick
him up and look him over. He is tougher than you think he is. I
know from experience that is the case.
Ray went from that stage to pulling out my books and videos tapes. I was always going behind and picking them up. He grew out of that too.

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answers from Little Rock on

All six of my kids are climbers...but then again, so was I!

Couple of suggestions. #1--let him climb, he'll either be really good, or have a few falls and learn his limits, or both.

#2--set limits. What is acceptable to climb on? I would put tables, for example, off limits. Who wants to put a dish down on a table that had feet or bottoms on it? Let him know what is OK to climb on versus not OK. Discipline appropriately for climbing on wrong things.

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answers from Chattanooga on

ME ME ME!!!! I have a monkey boy (will be 3 in March) and my 15 month old is just starting to climb on I have it times two :)

I have been pretty hands off unless I think it is very dangerous and then I am consistent about not letting him do it. Some babies are climbers you just have to read the situation. They need to learn their limits. I would rather them do it in my house where I can monitor then trying something new on the playground where they can fall further....
I had a firm hand in not letting them climb on bookcases, but would let them climb on my coffee table.
I do not let them climb on other peoples furniture, just my own :)
Just depends on what you want....
I did get them a chair that spins and a spring rocking horse and that has helped having other outlets.
Good Luck.

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answers from Huntsville on

Do you have appropriate toys for him to climb on indoors? If not, perhaps you could find something that is meant to be climbed on!

Such as one of these: We have one outside, but the daycare uses things like this inside as well.

There are also things like on this site:

Maybe you can find something second-hand, as new ones can be expensive. Then try to get your boy to understand that he can climb on the toy, but not the tables!!

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answers from Jackson on

I have a 5 year old and a 19 month old I am currently going through the monkey stage again! So I feel your pain, with my boys there really is nothing that works. As bad as that might sound, you take him down tell him no and try to have him do something else and not even 2 min. later he is back on the table. So I wish I had something better but really it's just a stage most kids go through, you just gotta be there to catch him when he falls.

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answers from Memphis on

Exactly ditto Janene! In a way I wish that I had discouraged my sons (ages 3 years and 19 months) from being such climbers, but I do like their independence. A lot of the time, I just say, "Well, if they hurt themselves (little boo-boos), they'll learn." But if it looks like they could really be injured (or hurt the furniture), I'll definitely make them get down. Just be consistent when you make something a "no-no." He can still climb (take him to the park and let him go hog-wild on the playground--jungle gym, ladders, etc.), but just make it clear that climbing on top of the TV is not allowed.

Decide what is and what is not allowed, and why--safety or manners. Obviously, the glass would be a no-no because it could break and seriously injure him; what about the couch? It's soft, but you may want to protect your furniture from un-due wear and tear. I've also noticed that my kids tend to want to climb on other people's furniture, and think it might be because I let them climb on mine. Just a point to consider.

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answers from Fayetteville on

OH Yeah! The Monkey Stage! Gotta Love It!
My family lives in a one room cabin with a ladder up to a loft with my husband and my bed. One day I stepped outside, came back in and instantly noticed that my daughter wasn't downstairs. My husband was supposed to be watching her. I looked up at the loft and there was my 19 month old daughter smiling and waving at us. AHHHHHH! It took 1 min for her to get up there. Thanks DAD!

All I can say is be super vigilant! All kids go through the NO FEAR stage and it is just your responsibility to keep an eye on them 24/7. Good job on removing the glass tables! For a while you may want to remove anything else that looks like a ladder, especially things that can tip over on them. My daughter had a BEAUTIFUL silver book rack that she kept trying to climb that was super dangerous because it had loads of heavy books on it. It had to go and the books were stacked on the floor for a while until she could understand that when I said no I was serious!

You should also try the shock factor with some things. It may make them cry but they will get the point. When they are starting to do something dangerous shout OHHHHH pretty loudly. Their natural instinct is to stop and turn to you, then explain. He might cry from the loud noise you make, and will probably remember it the next time he thinks about doing the same thing!

"Hang" in there!

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answers from Biloxi on

My monkey boy is now three years old...he's been all over the place since he was 6 months old. He is my second first monkey was not as DARING but he was also a climber.

I only stopped them if they were getting too high. We had no coffeee tables or end tables but still we had a lot of stuff they could climb on. The only thing I could do is watch and spot them. It's strange in a way...but all that climbing and accomplishing "a climb" builds their self esteem--and feelings of some control over their environment. When I watch my youngest monkey boy in the playground with other kids his age....there is a huge difference in their gross motor skills.

Hang in there! I've only had to go to the ER once for a "fall" in the last 6 years. And that was more for my peace of mind ... my youngest slipped from the kitchen counter. He was fine.

It's a challenging time because you want to do some stuff around the house or do errands but all you end up doing is watching to make sure a monkey does not break his head.

Hmmm....there's a reason why both my sons love the "10 little monkeys jumping on the bed".

After a while you really learn what your son's limits are and they learn theirs.

Good Luck!!

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answers from New Orleans on

Hi Jan,

Although your son seems to be quite active it appears to me it's time to implement some discipline. The living room or any furniture is not the place for him to create a playground. Before this behavior escalates he needs to be taught to listen to you and to respect things. You must take charge NOW!!

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answers from Alexandria on

Dear Jan,

I compeletly understand what you are going through. I am the mother for 3 boys,"Monkey Boys." I wish that I could tell you the its going to stop but it probably will not. Not anytime soon anyhow. My boys are now 8 and twins that are 6 and I am sitll dealing with them seeming to have "no fear" sometimes. I know you have had thoughts as to what if he falls and gets hurt then you are not doing your job as a parent protecting him. Sometimes leasons have to be learned the hard way. If he is anything like my boys where it does not matter how many time you discpline him he is still going to do it again and again. So as a parent all I could really to is remove anything that can make things more dangerous. Which one big example of that you have already done by trading the tables with you parents. I wish I could tell you more like the exact thing to do to get him to stop but Im afraid its not the simple.

Good Luck,
J. L.

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answers from New Orleans on

Hey Jan,

I can't tell you what to do, but I know what you are going through. I have a 16 mth. Monkey Girl. All I do is make sure anything that she could possibly hurt herself on is out of the way. I also have a glass coffee table that is now pushed into the corner and the end tables are in another corner, you have to rearrange your furniture around your child to prevent them from hurting themselves. I don't know what to say about the Sofa climbing because my daughter loves to climb to the very top of the sofa and try to get the pictures off the wall or jump to the floor. I have had to catch her several times with that one. So Jan I feel your pain, all we can do is hope and pray they don't hurt them selves while they are going through this climbing and jumping period. Which Hopefully will be over very soon.


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answers from Knoxville on

MONKEY BOY: I use to baby sit a boy, just like your little boy. I never let him out of my site. I had to put him in Time Out, for 21 seconds every time he did this. He had his own special place that he went. A corner of the room, where I could watch him. Of course, when his parents came home, they put him in a special play pen, with a top of it, so they could do their house chores. And they would move the play pen to the area they were working in. As not to have him by himself, & he had his toys to play with.

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answers from Shreveport on

Hello, J.! Just before I read your entry I was trying to get my 22 month old to stop climbing onto the office chair (with wheels on the bottom) and jumping off of it! Luckily, we have carpet in here! We also have 4 seperate pieces of glass on the coffee table! He'll get underneath and kick the glass out. I can't keep it clean either! The glass always has his finger prints or lip prints on it! At the moment he and his 4 year old brother are throwing themselves on the floor on purpose! I have no advice, just two monkey's of my own, and wanted to let you know you are not alone. Just remember, when he's driving you crazy, that one day he'll be 14 and not want to be home with you at all much less jumping on your furniture! I have one of those as well!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son was the same way. Luckily we didn't have any coffee tables (our living room is too small). We have two end tables and when he was little it just go to the point- as long as he is not touching the lamps on them he can sit on them (although he has broken several bulbs in those lamps!) You just can't keep them off things. One time my son was standing on our kitchen chairs and was leaning against the back of them. We of course told him not to do this, but one day he did it and before I could get him down he ended up pushing the chair over so that he landed face first on the kitchen floor. No broken bones or nose, but he learned. You can only do so much. I've learned boys will be boys and you just have to let them figure it out on their own. As for him getting hurt, he will one day. It may not be a trip to the emergency room or anything but kids get hurt, don't feel bad we can't protect them every moment of the day. Eventually we have to let them play so we can get things done. Good luck with your little monkey!

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answers from Tuscaloosa on

My 3 kids are climbers too, and they still climb and they are 5 and 3 (twins). When they were 18 months old we had to move them to a toddler bed because they would climb out of the crib (even though the rail was up and the mattress was all the way down, and there was nothing in the crib to aid in the escape).

My son fell and cut his eye, and that was the last night he slept in the crib. I can say the kids have hurt themselves a few times climbing, but nothing serious. The best way I have found is to just supervise when they are doing it and try to remove them from the situation, however, we can't always be everywhere all the time.

I wish I had better advice, but I could never get mine to stop climbing either.

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answers from Tulsa on

I have 2 boys ~ 6 yrs and 14 mos. BOTH are climbers. My 14 month old stands and dances on our solid oak coffee table. He has also learned to climb from the chairs to the dining table and stand in the middle of it. And he climbs his changing table. I think you were right with your first idea. They will learn if they get hurt. Kids at this age are very risilient (bad spelling). There have been times that my lil one has fallen off stuff and I thought for sure he broke his neck and both legs. But he bounces up, laughs & climbs right back on whatever he fell off of. You will drive yourself crazy if you worry too much. Your only other answer is to get rid of ALL your furniture or just tie him up. Boys will be boys, mama. Good luck.

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answers from Lafayette on

Seems like you have your hands full. Well I have a 4 year old son who loves to climb too. He doesn't do it as much as he used to but we call him "spiderman" still.
We own a roller skating rink and about 2 years ago, he was really into that "climbing stage" and he would climb on our skate counter and the concession counter. He always found a way to get up on the counters. Well one sunday, I picked him off the counter and fussed at him not to get back on the counter because he could fall of the counter. Well low and behold he climbed up on the counter again. But this time he didn't have his bottom all the way on the counter and he fell and he hit his head on a CO2 bottle. (its used for fountain drinks) and blacked out on me. I didn't think much of it at first because he cried first and then went limp. I started calling out his name and no response. A lady that was having a party at our rink at the time, came running behind our counter and took him so I could call 911. And it took about 3 minutes before he came to. It seemed alot longer than that. Once he woke, he kept saying he was sleepy. We brought him to the hospital and once we got there, you could not tell that there was anything wrong with him. He was climbing on the bed and jumping on it. The doctor was really impressed. But he did have a mild concussion. He had bruised the side of his face and his shoulder pretty bad.
But of course that didn't stop "spiderman" from climbing.
Everytime he would like he would say "bo bo" and we would say "Yes". Everything was fine after that. He has never had another accident like that but I still worry alot about his climbing inventions. He's a boy and boys love to climb.
So, I hope I didn't scare you too much but accidents can happen and all you can do is do your best to teach him what can happen and no matter what, he will climb. I think it gets better with age but a boy is a boy. I know my husband loves to climb a tree to get in a deer stand. So maybe it never really goes away!
Hope this helps and don't be so hard on yourself. I think boys are always looking around to see what could be their next obstacle.
Thats what mom's are suppose to do. WORRY!
Keep me in touch with how he is doing!

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answers from Little Rock on

My son is still climbing and he is 7. I was extremely scared too. Some boys are just climbers. Look at it as if he is building his muscles good and healthy. I just try my best to make sure he is as safe as possible when he climbs. I will admit I have drawn the line when he wants to climb with ropes because that could be deadly. Be thankful he is healthy. If he does fall, just explain, "it happens, you and I neither like to fall and be hurt, but it happens" C. H

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