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What To Do When Baby Won’t Lie Down At Bedtime

minnesota sleep coach explains what to do when baby stands in crib

Have you seen those hilarious photos of babies falling asleep in weird locations like lying half-way on a toy chest? Or sitting upright in their crib?

And once your child learns to stand, the “fun” begins. It’s an exciting time, a huge milestone in your child’s life… except at bedtime. Your child’s excitement about learning a new skill means they’ll pop-up at bedtime, but here’s the problem, often they haven’t learned to get back down yet. 

During the day, this doesn’t present much of an issue. Your little one can spend all day practicing going from a standing position to seated, all while you’re next to them helping them through it.

But once nighttime rolls around, this becomes a whole other issue.

The Problem – Your Baby Won’t Lie Down in the Crib.

You’ve taught your child how to sleep on their own, but now they can’t use those skills because they can’t figure out how to lie down again. 

Do you go in and help baby lay down? Or leave them when they might fall down and hurt themselves?

If you do go in, your child will quickly learn that if they stand up and fuss, mom or dad will come in to rescue them. So, how do we help your child solve the “I-can’t-lay-down” problem without creating new bad sleep habits? 

The frustrating part is that the solution is so simple. Your child just needs to lie down. And after the fifth time being summoned to their room in the night, you’ll be grumbling, “Just lie down, already!” 

I hear you. It will try your patience. But, just remember and extend some patience, they just haven’t developed the right skills yet. They may not even realize that it is so much easier to fall asleep if they’d just lie down. 

The Solution –  How To Teach Your Baby To Lie Down.

The solution is to teach your child how to develop the standing-to-sitting skill during the day. 

So, when your child pulls themselves up on the coffee table, grab their favorite toy and put it on the ground just out of reach. Gently encourage them to go and get their prize.

Once they’ve learned this skill, you now need to transfer it to nighttime. You’d think it was instinctive, but your child still might not realize that falling asleep lying down is that much easier than standing.

And even in that short time, your child may have learned that standing and fussing brings in mom and now relies on you to fall asleep. My suggestion to overcome this sleep association is to help your child lay down without involving contact. Go into the room, pat the mattress and gently say, “Lay your head down”. Before long, your child will learn that laying down makes sleeping independently that much smoother.

Even though your child seems like they’re fighting sleep, more than likely, they actually want to sleep. They just need the skills to get there on their own. Once they learn and have the confidence, they will sleep independently and your nights will be wonderful.

Still struggling with how to teach independent sleep skills? A sleep coach can give you a customized plan that will have your child sleeping soundly through the night and happily going down for naps during the day. Schedule your free chat.

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