Jordan Cass broke into the house on Common Lane at East Ardsley, Wakefield, and stole a handbag and a mobile phone and keys to a Mercedes Sprinter van, which was taken in the raid, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Cass, 28, also stole a ring, which was of great sentimental value to the homeowner,
Prosecutor, Beverley Wright, said the homeowners heard the van's engine start before it was driven off at speed in the early hours of March 2.
Cass, of Conference Road, Armley, got into the house after breaking a lock on the rear patio door, causing £150 damage.
Miss Wright said all the stolen items were later recovered, except for the ring.
Miss Wright said: "There was a three-year-old child in the house and they were very anxious she may have walked downstairs when the individuals were in.
"The ring had survived the Second World War and was taken in seconds, she was upset about that."
Shortly after the burglary, police found the Mercedes Sprinter van along with a Toyota Yaris car, which had been stolen following another house burglary.
Police searched the Yaris and found a stolen mobile phone, which had Cass's fingerprints on it.
Miss Wright said on March, 3 Cass assaulted a man outside Coverdale House in Leeds city centre, leaving him with a cut eye.
And on April 1, Cass stole a BMW 3 series from a woman after his then girlfriend gave him the car keys.
The court heard Cass crashed the BMW, causing £4,500 damage to the car and a fence.
Cass admitted burglary at the house on Common Lane at East Ardsley, handling the stolen Toyota Yaris, assault and theft of the BMW.
He has 21 previous convictions for 39 offences, starting with a burglary conviction when he was 13-years-old, followed by four further burglary offences and convictions for robbery and violence.
Kara Frith, mitigating, said Cass's mother was murdered in a house fire when he was 14 and he was brought up by his grandmother.
Miss Frith said he was told his grandmother was terminally ill, adding: "She has been the only constant in his life and he couldn't cope."
Miss Frith added: "He believes he may have had a breakdown."
Jailing Cass for five-and-a-half-years, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told him: "A ring was taken belonging to the owner's great grandmother and has not been recovered.
"It was of great sentimental value and it was a despicable thing to do."