(This review is based on my own personal experience with this crib tent. It is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. There are affiliate links in this post. You can see my disclosure page here.)
Who knew that a crib tent would give our family the gift of sleep (and sanity)? I purchased our crib tent 16 months ago, it has since become my #1 most helpful toddler purchase, ever.
Just to give a little background: our daughter was never a good sleeper (sweet as pie, but hated going to sleep). As a result, delirium due to a lack of sleep became a “normal” part of our family’s daily routine.
So, when our daughter was 10 months old, I hired a sleep trainer. Her methods were a success and we all finally started sleeping again!
But then, after nearly 6 consecutive months of nearly solid slumber, the unimaginable happened. Our toddler, Zoe, learned how to climb out of her crib!
Our toddler’s “crib jumping” was a problem.
Once again, we were all losing sleep. My toddlers daredevil escapes seriously concerned me because:
- It was unsafe. Our tiny toddler could seriously injure herself by falling several feet or getting stuck between the slats.
- I did not want her wandering alone through the house at night. Again, a big safety issue.
- My husband and I were not going get a good night sleep until we found a solution we were comfortable with. We were all sleep deprived, but also experiencing daily stress from this new problem.
Sleep is important.
Sleep is so crucial for both physical and mental health.
According to The National Sleep Foundation lack of sleep is linked to hypertension, heart disease, depression, diabetes and several other chronic diseases.
The National Sleep Foundation also states that sleep is especially important for children because it is when blood supply to the muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth and development.
We looked at several alternatives.
After getting over the shock of my daughter’s uncanny ability to actually scale the crib we tried several things to deter her.
- We took out the bottom of the crib so the mattress was all the way on the floor to make her escape more difficult. That stopped her from climbing out for exactly one night, then she was back at it again.
- We took everything out of her crib so she couldn’t use it as a prop to climb out. This method didn’t stop her either.
We watched our toddler climb out of her crib on a monitor so we could see exactly how she was doing it. She made it look so easy! She held on to the top bar and put her feet in between the crib slates, hoisting herself to the top, then she teetered on the top bar and balanced until she could get both feet over the sides and jump to the floor. Usually, with a big SPLAT.
A toddler bed was not yet an option.
I scored the internet for more suggestions and solutions. A toddler bed was out of the question because our toddler would not stay in her bed (or room for that matter) for more then 1 minute.
Inevitably, we would end up having a little visitor in bed with us every night for the foreseeable future (or worse, roaming the house!).
A crib tent was our last resort.
My first priority for our daughter was safety. I didn’t want her getting hurt while climbing out of her crib, but I also didn’t want her wandering around the house in the middle of the night either. And frankly, we ALL needed to get some sleep!
Safety was (is) my #1 concern.
I read a ton of reviews on this crib tent and I it sounded like people were having a lot of success without having any safety issues. From my own personal experience, these are the reasons this crib tent has been a gift from the sleep Gods.
- Our toddler could no longer get stuck between the rails (which previously happened several times!).
- Our toddler was unable to grip the sides of the railing which prevented her from scaling the crib walls.
- The material is made from BPA-free mesh netting and is hypoallergenic.
- The crib tent fit snugly over the crib and it was impossible for our toddler to get stuck in the crib netting. The bottom of the crib tent sits under the mattress.
- It was super easy and fast to set up. No extra tools were required.
- We ALL finally got the sleep we needed and finally felt refreshed again during the day.
Our toddler likes her crib tent.
I think it makes her feel safer. We have a bedtime routine and our toddler wont even let us leave her room without zipping up her crib tent canopy.
It has been 1 year since we started using the crib tent and it still works like a charm. Soon we will be transitioning our daughter to a toddler bed, but until then we are leaving it up.
And I’m saving the crib tent for Zoe’s younger sibling, just in case we have another “crib jumper” on our hands.
Is your child able to climb out of their crib? How did you deal with it? Please leave any questions or comments below!
An Honest Crib Tent Review
From A Mom, RN
What is the best way to help your toddler prepare for a new sibling?
One of the many things that I worried about when I was pregnant with our second child was how our 2-year-old daughter, Zoe, would react to having a new baby in the house.
Actually, if I’m being honest, it was my NUMBER ONE concern.
Would she feel jealous? Left out? Completely traumatized by this new ginormous life change?
After our new baby boy was born our daughter was very affectionate and loving towards him. Now that he is 4 months old, she can’t stop giving him hugs and kisses at least 5 times a day. It melts my heart every time.
But this new fondness for her baby brother didn’t come without a few hiccups along the way.
Now looking back with my 20/20 vision I know she acted out a little. Not directly towards him, but in her own not-so-subtle “I’m throwing a tantrum but I just want a little more attention” way.
There was about a 4 week period where she was throwing significantly larger-then-normal temper tantrums after our newborn boy was born. In fact, they were darn-right gnarly at times. I remember thinking “where did my sweet child go?”
Since then she has adjusted quite well. But it has been a learning experience for all of us! We have learned so much about our first born since the arrival of our new baby.
10 Simple Ways To Help Your Toddler Prepare For A New Sibling
10 simple ways to help your toddler prepare for a new sibling:
#1. Talk about it with them frequently.
Don’t surprise your toddler by bringing in another tiny human behind their back. One of the best ways to help your toddler prepare for a new sibling is to start talking about it with them. Start the talking at least as soon as you tell family and friends about your pregnancy. Your toddler will need time to process this information about the upcoming change.
#2. Explain the role of big sister (or brother).
We reminded Zoe daily that she was going to have a lot of new responsibilities when “baby brother” arrived. It was important to us that Zoe see that she would have a very important role as big sister so that she didn’t think she was being left behind. For example, when she played with her puzzles we reminded her that she would need to teach her little brother how to play with puzzles also.
Also, explain that your toddler will need to “look out” for their new sibling, and how special the role of big brother or sister will be. They will enjoy hearing about how the baby will want to try and do everything they do!
#3. Give them their own “baby” to practice with.
When I was about 5 months pregnant my mom bought Zoe a baby doll. Our goal was to try and teach her how to be “gentle” with the baby. She actually took to it quite well and enjoyed playing with it. When ever we talked about the new baby coming we would say “where is Zoe’s baby?” She was able to have her own “baby” to practice with and she loved it. Now that her little brother is 4 months old, she still enjoys playing with her baby in her crib at night.
#4. Give your toddler books about becoming a big sister or brother.
We gave our daughter 2 new books about becoming a big sister and read them to her almost daily. She loved pointing to the Mom’s belly and saying “baby in there!” Having pictures to look at really helped her process the idea of having a younger sibling.
In addition, reading the big sister books gave us a regular reminder to continue talking about and including our toddler in conversations about the new baby.
#5. Give them a gift from the new baby.
Right after our son was born, we gave our toddler a new picnic set that was a “gift” from her little brother. When she played with it we talked to her about how she could have a picnic with her little brother soon. Our newborn also “gave” our daughter a new “I’m a big sister” shirt (in purple, her favorite color!). She felt like a million bucks.
This one was so important to us since there is a lot of attention put on a new baby. We didn’t want our daughter to feel left out of the excitement or hold resentment towards him. Our goal was to keep our attention equally on her as much as we could.
Here are 10 simple ways to help your toddler prepare for a new sibling!
#6. Talk about how much fun it will be.
My husband did a great job of talking to our two-year-old about how “fun” and “cool” being a big sister will be. He really embellished on the fact that he would learn so much from her and look up to her. Even now when we try and teach Zoe a new life lesson we talk about how she needs to be a good role model form her little brother. She just loves it!
#7. Praise your toddler for being the best big sister EVER.
For the last few months of my pregnancy my husband and I would ask our daughter “who is going to be the big best big sister ever?” Every time she would excitedly reply “Zoe!”
#8. Stay calm during meltdowns.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mother it is that my child reacts to how I act. Melt downs are inevitable. It an unfortunate, but completely normal part of toddler hood. However, if I become upset then it only upsets my daughter worse.
I learned this lesson the hard way after taking several road trips with my toddler. Having an additional child in the home only makes things more stressful and easier to lose it when one kid is getting crazy.
#9. Give them a little extra attention and love.
During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I made sure to spend a little extra time in the evenings preparing for bed with my daughter. We would spend 15-20 minutes reading books and then turn the lights off for another 15 minutes of “snuggle time.” There is no better way to help prepare your toddler for a new sibling then by showering them with a lot of extra love.
#10. Practice gratitude.
This one never fails. Gratitude helps me handle difficult situations with more grace. At the end of the day I am so grateful to have two beautiful, healthy children. Even if it means months of newborn baby exhaustion, a messy house, and total craziness for a while! Since it was my second and last pregnancy, I knew I wasn’t going to get this experience ever again. So I wanted to enjoy it while it lasted!
Are you the parent of a toddler who is expecting a new baby soon? Are you doing anything to try an ease the transition for your toddler? I would love to hear so please leave a comment with your thoughts!
(This post may contain affiliate links. My disclosure page is really boring but you can find it here.)
We have had a lot of driving experience with our toddler on long road trips over the past year-and-a half. Our closest family members live in Sacramento which, with a toddler in tow, is about an eight hour drive from our LA beach community. We have pretty much been-there-done-that with every single tip ever mentioned on how to make road tripping easier when you’re toting a toddler along.
Having made that lengthy drive over a half dozen times you would think we would be experts at toddler travel by now. After all, how many learning opportunities does one need to figure that out?
Yet, road tripping with our toddler remains a constant learning experience for us. This week was no exception as our family trekked eight hours from El Segundo to Tomales Bay located on the Northern California Pacific Coast for a well-needed vacation.
Stinton Beach, CA (population 578). The best part of taking road trips is stopping at new locations along the way that you never would have seen otherwise. Zoe was happy for the opportunity to run around for a while.
As I have some depth of experience in the road-trip-with-a-toddler department, I thought for sure I would use my expertise to make this excursion particularly easy. After all, I have read about all the tricks by now: travel during baby sleep times, pack for every situation (terrible advice, boo!), make frequent stops at parks, bring lots of toys, be sure to have baggies/wipes/finger foods, yada yada yada.
My confidence had me dreaming of writing a post after our trip titled “how I mastered long-distance travel with a toddler without going crazy” or “how we helped our daughter love long distance road trips, and you can too.”
A Mom can dream, right?
Yet, once again I realized mid-way up the coast that traveling with a toddler can be messy, frustrating, and even intolerable even with the most thoughtful preparation and experience.
Toddlers are going through their very own developmental stages.
Toddler’s little bodies are immature and aren’t supposed to “sit still” for any amount of time, much less an eight hour car ride. In addition, they have under-developed communication skills to express their needs, which can lead to complete toddler meltdown on the highway (or anywhere for that matter).
This got me to thinking…
Is the key to mastering long distance travel with a toddler really just about understanding where they are in their current developmental stage? Is my job to better understand my toddler as a little, evolving human being? Do I need to adjust my expectations a little? Hmmm, maybe.
I continued to learn, even during this trip, that part of mastering toddler travel is about learning how to be a little more malleable with our daughter. Especially when she is acting exactly like, well, a toddler.
There are going to be meltdowns in between all the adorable, precious, little girl moments. That is how toddlers express themselves when they are upset and don’t have the vocabulary to communicate their frustrations. In addition, they are programmed to push their boundaries and it is our job as parents to learn how to productively handle each situation as we go along.
Tomales Bay, Ca. The long drive was totally worth the vacation. We got to hike almost everyday. If you look closely to John’s right you can see a line of large adult seals!
The final drive back home: something amazing happened!
On our last day we planned on getting up at 5am to start the dreadful trek back down the I-5 to Los Angeles County (not the amazing part). We wanted to get the drive out of the way as soon as possible. But, like many aspects of parenthood, things didn’t exactly start as we had anticipated.
Our (normally) great little sleeper decided she wanted to get up at 2:30am instead. After about 45 minutes of tears (I guess she was ready to go home?), my husband and I decided it would be better to just go ahead and start our travels. So we got ready and left by 3:30am instead.
You are probably wondering what the amazing part is, right? Well, I’m excited to say that Zoe did wonderfully and was content pretty much the entire way home! There were minimal tears and we only had to stop twice during the entire trip. It was a road trip miracle!
With a little help from Mom and Dad, she really handled the drive like a champ. And because we left so early in the morning we were home by noon. It is possible that I actually mastered the art of road tripping with a toddler after all?
Well, I’m not so sure about that. But I do think we made great progress. We did learn a few more things during this drive home.
Helpful Ideas For Long Distance Road Tripping With A Toddler:
To be clear, these tips may not be for everyone. Every toddler, and every trip, can be a different experience. These are just a few suggestions that worked for us. Here are my best ideas for surviving long distance road travel with a toddler in tow.
1. Travel during sleep times
This one is the big winner! If you can drive at night or at least during a long nap time it is so helpful. A sleeping toddler is a content toddler. One of the reasons I think our recent road trip went so well is that our toddler was able to sleep for about 3.5 hours during the start of our trip (we did leave at 3:30am after all). That got a large portion of our drive time out of the way right off the bat.
2. Don’t over pack
This was everything we packed for one week of travel. I made an exception for my yoga mat and I’m so glad I did. I used it almost everyday (there are some things you just have to make an exception for!).
I hear all the time that “when you have kids you have to bring so much stuff everywhere!” I emphatically disagree with this one. Packing light is so much easier and can actually make a trip less hectic and stressful: there is less stuff to pack/repack, take care of, store, and its feels so much better to not feel like you are carrying around your house.
Many things that get packed “just in case” never even get used and just end up getting hauled around pointlessly. You don’t have to schlep everything from home. See if the hotel can offer a crib. Buy food for the kitchenette when you get there. When packing ask yourself “is this something I really need on this vacation?”
I brought just enough clothes for myself and our daughter with the intention of doing a load of laundry at the hotel if necessary (it wasn’t). We also brought an umbrella stroller instead of the larger one we normally use.
Traveling is just easier with less stuff. It’s true that Zoe could possibly need her winter boots and coat. It can be on the cooler side on the northern California Pacific coast. But in August? Not likely that she will need them.
3. Have one adult sit in the back if possible
I sit in the back with Zoe during most of the drive (I stay in the front when she is sleeping). That way we can spend a little one-on-one time together and I can try to help sooth her before she starts to have a meltdown. I have gotten in the habit of making space for myself and whatever I think I may need in the back seat for the drive.
4. Sing and talk frequently
Did you know that a new study shows that babies’ pain levels are actually decreased when they are sung to? A London University found that children waiting for surgeries actually had a reduction in pain and heart rate after being sung lullabies.
Road trips are not actually painful, of course. But I have found that Zoe will pay close attention to my every word when I sing to her. She listens intently, quietly. It’s like I’m doing something amazing, and I’m a terrible singer! I’m probably driving my husband nuts but our kid seems to be enjoying it, so why the heck not?
Our toddler gets the benefit of learning new songs and staying engaged during the drive. I think it makes her happy too. To boot, it minimizes screaming child road rage so I see this as a win-win for everyone.
5. Keep a calm voice (especially during a meltdown).
My husband and I have found that the more calm we are when Zoe is upset, the less upset she gets and the better she is able to deal with her frustration. Our kids learn how to handle stressful situations by how we handle them.
Dr Sears, parenting expert, says that “an angry parent often leads to and even angrier child.” Being in an angry state clouds your thinking and can leave everyone feeling a bit abused. A temper tantrum from us won’t make the drive easier and it will make it more miserable.
I try to think of ways to get our daughter to laugh when I can see she is getting frustrated. Right now she is really into making noises with her mouth, and she thinks its so funny when Mom or Dad makes funny noises with her. Laughter can really be the best medicine for an angry child.
6. If all else fails, bring two sets of ear plugs and do the best you can. Or just pull over and find a neighborhood park.
We found this park on our way back from Muir Woods during our trip. Zoe met a new friend and we got an opportunity to explore a new, small beach community.
Seriously, if all else fails and the crying seams endless, nothing beats a good pair of earplugs. I’m not saying that you should ignore your child by any means! You can still hear everything and you can continue to help sooth your child. It just helps a little until you can get your bearings again (and helps minimize a pounding headache).
Or if you reach a point where you just can’t take it for another second, just pull over and find a park or a long stretch of grass. There have been a ton of studies that show that being in green grass can relieve stress and make you feel better. Getting out for some fresh air and a little nature will do everybody a little good.
I realize that not every drive will as good as our most recent one, but I do think we are on to something good here. Practice makes perfect, so I guess we will just have to plan another road trip soon!
Southern California is such a great place to live partly because there are so many amazing places we can vacation to via highway. Since our family will soon be expanding even more (we’ve got a baby boy on the way!) we have to adjust our vacation plans to accommodate our little nomads.
Next on our road trip travel list: The Grand Canyon!!
Sarah, Mother Nurse Love
Psst! Toddler backpack carriers are so great to have on an active vacation. Check out theses super cool ones!
In the sleepless daze of my daughter’s first few months of life I opened an email account for her and I truly believe it is one of the most genius ideas I have ever had as a new Mom.
My intention for creating the email account: capturing our family’s real-time life events and current world happenings for our daughter’s future reading pleasure. I have optimistically wondered, could this possibly encourage future dinner time discussions with our daughter during her teenage years when she wants nothing to do with us?
Maybe that’s a little too optimistic, but at the very least maybe it is a good way for her to someday understand her parents a little better.
Kids think that hearing about their parents past lives are cool.
Our children will get to read about how much we enjoyed going to music venues in Los Angeles (after we put them to sleep!).
Have you ever wondered what was going on in your parent’s lives when you were just a baby? What was the political environment like? What were the major life events going on at the time? How was the day-to-day living and what kind of things were your parents into doing for f
Sure, you could ask them when you’re old enough to think about it. But so much information gets lost and forgotten in the abyss of time.
Email letters are our way of giving our daughter a connection to her (and our) past lives.
The first years of our daughter’s life have been turbulent as far as current events go and yet simultaneously such an amazing time to be alive. My goals are to share some history and give her an idea about how I and her father felt about the current events going on in the world.
Growing up I would’ve loved to read letters about exactly what was going through my parent’s heads the day John Lennon or President Regan were shot, for example. Or, how cool did they think Micheal Jackson was when Thriller was released? Or even, what was it like when the Challenger exploded?
I have asked some of these questions and many others and I sort-of know how they feel about some of those things now. But it’s not the same thing as reading about things that were written in real time. Memories fade and feelings can change over time.
Benefits to opening an email account to send your child letters throughout their childhoods:
- Give real-time information with a date and a time stamp
- Have an opportunity to write diary-like letters
- Get letters from both Mom and Dad
- Talk about milestones they are reaching and how incredibly awesome they are
- Communicate about current events and attach news articles
- Write at anytime of the day or night without having to keep track of papers (God knows I don’t need any more paperwork around!)
- Grandma and grandpa or other family/ friends can write (if you choose to give them the address)
- Attach photos of them or projects/artwork they created
- Write about anything you feel like sharing at the time.
This email account is for us to send letters to our children.
My sole purpose for creating this email account is so my husband and I can send our daughter letters throughout her childhood. We will open another for our son after he is born so we can do the same for him.
Warning: I have read that opening a gmail account for your child to use for themselves when they’re older violates their terms of service. It could even result in the closing of the account.
Sending my daughter emails for her to open some day is like giving her a modern day “time capsule” of information.
About once or twice a month I’ll send her a new email. I talk to her about whatever I feel like talking about at the time. For example, I tell her how amazing she is, what current events are happening in the world today, or how she’s going to get a new little brother soon (yay!).
Email writing is so easy to do, but sometimes hard to remember in the business of parental life. So I make a point of putting a monthly reminder in my phone at least once a month to send her a new email.
It will be fun for her to read some day but I secretly think it will be really fun for her Dad and me too. And who knows, maybe it will make for some really great conversations at the dinner table someday too!
Sarah, Mother Nurse Love
(This post may contain some affiliate links. My disclosure policy is really boring but you can find it here.)
My husband and I have a favorite family activity that we frequently partake in now that we are parents: Sunday Funday at the park with a growler! (I’m excited to talk about this, can you tell?).
Before baby, my husband and I were regular daters. Meaning, we spent a lot of time doing really fun stuff together. We live in southern California and its always warm, so there is no reason not to be outside enjoying ourselves.
Then came the best thing that ever happened to us: the birth of our daughter!
So how do new parents find the time to have fun together in between sleepless nights, diaper changes and 3 hour feedings? It took us a while to figure this one out.
I’m not sure if it was the sleep deprivation or just utter desperation to get out of the house and be like regular adult humans again, but finally we found a solution to our dilemma:
Sunday funday + growler in the park = super happy parents!
What exactly is Sunday Funday?
Sunday Funday is how we spent Sundays pre-child in our Los Angeles beach suburb. It was often spent enjoying a boozy brunch on the pier or spending time at the beach with friends. And it was a very fun day of the week.
But now we have moved on to this amazing institution called parenthood. As much as I love being a Mom, sometimes we have to carve out slices of fun here and there so we don’t completely lose our minds. Hence, we began our Sunday Funday ritual so Mom and Dad can enjoy life while still being responsible parents.
Before you judge you should know that my husband and I are super responsible parents and generally very nice, good people. I’m a nurse, he’s a lawyer and we both work at a large teaching medical institution in Los Angeles. We spend our days being extraordinarily adult and doing good work.
Mom and Dad need to have some fun too! Life is way too short to be so serious all the time.
After babies come into the picture it becomes much harder to have spontaneous fun as a couple. But it’s important to both of us that we make time for each other so we don’t get lost in baby madness. Sharing a Sunday Funday growler at the park is one way we build our relationship up and continue making a happy life.
Our rational goes like this: happy parent relationship= happy baby.
So on sunny summer Sundays we delight in the opportunity to have some family time at the park. With the addition of a growler, as mentioned.
For those who don’t know, a growler is a container that allows for the transport of beer. The kind we use only fits about 4.7 beers total. It the perfect amount for us to split and sip on over an afternoon. Not enough to amp things up to party level.
We are so lucky to have an adorable local brewery about 3 blocks from where we live called the El Segundo Brewing Company. It is one of our favorite local watering holes and we are often there on our date nights.
Our task is simple: enter taproom, pick up a growler of the finest El Segundo craft beer, and head out for Sunday Funday, child-rearing version. Fortunately for us, our town is super pedestrian friendly and we can walk everywhere.
Our five essentials for Sunday Funday, parenthood version:
- Music (iphone)
- Picnic Basket with yummy snacks
- Tasty growler
- Adorable baby girl
That’s it. No muss, no fuss.
Dad, Mom and Zoe at the park in summer.
With our now 1-year-old in tow, a picnic blanket, some finger foods, music (via the iphone) and a growler of tasty craft beer fresh from the tap, we set out to to savor the day.
Our goal is to escape the routine and live in the moment.
With the sun shining, a warm breeze, and a beer or two we feel relaxed and we can talk for what seems like hours. We play barefooted on the lawn with our daughter and look at the sky.
Some of our best bonding moment as parents have come out of having growlers at the park during her first year of life. I can honestly say that it is been one of the better things we’ve done for our relationship.
Why a growler at the park makes the best date (in case you are not already convinced):
- It’s spontaneous
- It requires no planning
- It’s very low cost
- You don’t have to get dressed up
- You get to spend time outside in nature
- It gives you time to connect
On another note, I’m sure there is a law against drinking alcohol in the parks where we live. But I think those laws were put into effect mostly keep people from having parties in the parks. We are rule breakers, what can I say?
We don’t flaunt our 2.3 beers each and so far it hasn’t been a problem. Just a regular family having a picnic on a beautiful day.
Last summer our daughter was immobile which worked well for growlers at the park. We could enjoy the day while sipping our cold brews in the sunshine and not worry about her getting up and taking off.
Unfortunately, we will not have that luxury this year as she is a seriously fast runner. I love it, but it does require more focus on our parts. Good thing we keep it to only one growler.
Afterwards we walk home for a delicious home cooked Sun Basket meal. A perfect end to a beautiful day with the family. Can’t beat it.
Have I convinced you that this is a really good idea yet? If you and your man are new parents and are dying for a way to enjoy some quality time together that sort-of feels like a date too, then this might be your path to feeling like a normal adults again.
Just pack some munchies, grab a growler at your local brewery, and walk yourselves to the park!
Sarah, Mother Nurse Love
Psst! Check out some of these adorable and very functional picnic baskets!