What to do:
Self-talk. Say to yourself, "I can see how much fun my son has when he climbs all over our furniture. I just need to teach him what is safe to climb and what isn't. It's best that I stay calm, so he will stay calm, too."
Empathy. Ask yourself, "How would I feel if I wanted to climb and was told not to? I can understand why my child is mad when he cannot climb on the furniture."
Teach. Tell yourself, "I can help my child learn how to climb safely."
Be There. Climbing up stairs, on a chair or the couch-those are big steps to be applauded! But the first step for you is to let him do so safely. Watch him and encourage his safe climbing. You may need to be there, right beside him, at first. As he grows, you will see how when he is balanced and strong enough to climb things without your being close by. The goal is to encourage his independence, while not making him afraid. That requires you to know when and how climbing can be fun and healthy at the same time.
Anchor Tall Furniture to the Wall. Furniture anchors won't keep your child from climbing, but they will prevent bad accidents if he forgets the rule and climbs his bookcase or dresser. Talk with your healthcare provider about where to get them for your home.
Make Climbing Rules. Put colored dots on furniture that is okay to climb, and a different color on those that aren't. This has an added benefit of teaching colors! Saying, "Here's the rule about climbing on our furniture and Grandma's: You are safe to climb everything with a blue dot!" will help remind him of the rule.
Redirect. When your child starts to climb something that's not safe to climb, redirect him to something that he is. Say, "I'm sorry, you may not climb the dresser, but when we go to the park, you can climb on the swing set.
Play with Climbing Toys, Slides and Jungle Gyms. If your child loves to climb, take him to climbing areas that can safely use his energy and strength. Watch him and encourage his safe climbing.
What not to do:
Don't Panic. Stay calm and quietly remove him from what he is climbing.
Don't Threaten to Spank or Spank. Telling your child that you will spank him (or actually doing so) if he climbs something that is "off limits" will only encourage him to sneak behind your back to climb something so he can avoid getting caught.
Don't Guilt-Trip. Don't say, "You know that I get so worried whenever you start climbing things. You don't want to upset me, do you?" Using guilt will not motivate your child to stop climbing something, but it will lead him to do the forbidden climbing when you're not around. That way, his thinking goes, he won't feel guilty about upsetting you.
Don't Use Fear. Telling your child "If you climb up on that couch, you will fall and get hurt," is simply daring him to try to see if that happens instead of keeping him from climbing. But when he climbs and doesn't fall, it will suggest to him that you are not believable and he doesn't need to listen to you.