Thursday, October 8, 2015

Help, She stands up and can't get back down, now how do I get her to bed?

A common problem that happens with helping 7-10 month old babies sleeping on their own is standing and not being able to get back down. They have reached the developmental milestone of being able to pull themselves to stand but they have not mastered the skill of plopping back down on their bottoms and then laying down again. If this is the stage they are in, you will need to help them to lay down. Don't lay them down. Think of it as helping them to help themselves. They must do some of the work and you do some of the work. You are just helping them, not doing it for them.

There is a great game that you can play that will help them with the skill. I'm sure you know it. Ring Around The Rosy. Kim West, the author of Good Night Sleep Tight, mentions it in her book in her 9 to 12 months section. I thought this was a great idea.  

Here's how I do it:
In the living room by your sofa, have your baby pull themselves to stand at the sofa and you sit on your hunches or squat down so that your feet on the floor but you're as close to the babies level as possible. Sing the song "Ring around the Rosie" and when you say "we all fall down" then you fall down on your bum and laugh in a silly way that makes your baby laugh. Encourage your baby to plop down on their bum. Maybe you need to push in the back of their knees, gently pull them down or do it again. When your baby plops down on their bum successfully, then laugh in your silly way again. Your baby will want to plop down on their bum again in order to get you to laugh like that again so play the game over and over and over. This develops the muscle memory of standing up and sitting down without too much thought. The next step is to play this game in the crib. Play this game during playtime, not right before sleep time. Place your baby in the crib and you stand outside the crib and sing the song and plop down on your bum and laugh. When your baby plops themselves down on their bum, then laugh again.  Don't forget that YOU are your baby's favorite toy. 

When your baby has mastered the skill, then you can have the confidence that they can get themselves down when they pull themselves to stand after you put them in bed and in the middle of the night. Encourage them to lay down but don't lay them down yourself. Allow them to practice using their own skill. It will be a hump to get over to get them to do it at night time. You can do it. 

If you need help with the sleep plan, give me a call. 

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

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