Baby Sleep Problem: My Baby Learned to Stand In His Crib and Now He Won’t Sleep!

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  • March 13, 2012

Would you like to ask your sleep question here? If so, submit your question in the “Ask The Sleep Lady” question box to the right. I will pick several baby sleep problems a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

If you have any thoughts or advice for anyone who has posted on this blog, please feel free to click the “reply” link under their comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s baby sleep problem video:

Hi! I’m Kim West, The Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Kelly’s question.

Kelly wrote in and asked this, “My 14-month-old is standing and sitting constantly, both when I put him to bed and also in the middle of the night. I’m not sure if he can lay himself down. Please help.”

Well, Kelly, this is a frequently asked question and I’m really glad that you wrote in and asked me this.

So during the day, I want you to find out if your son actually can sit himself down. So, let’s say he is standing up in the living room holding on to the couch and you put a toy down on the floor. See if he can plop down onto his bottom and crawl over and get that toy himself. If he can do it, then you know he can do it in the crib himself and you shouldn’t be doing it for him. If he can’t, then I want you to help him to practice. So, you can play a little Ring around the Rosie where you’re on your knees and you take both his hands and say, “Ring around the Rosie, we all fall down.” And you both plop down onto your bottom.You might even need to hold his hand and kind of push his knee in gently so that he’ll plop down onto his bottom, okay? And just practice this over and over again. And then, when you start to see him trying it out, when he is standing by the couch, again put a toy a little bit farther away so that he can plop down onto his bottom and then crawl over and get it.

So, while you’re working on teaching him how to do that, you’re going to have to lie him down when he stands up in the crib. Try to wait as long as you can and see if you can go over to the crib side and encourage him to lie down. You can try unclasping one hand to encourage him to lie down himself.

But once he learns, then I want you to let him do it himself. So, you can stand or sit next to crib during the Shuffle and just tap the mattress and encourage him to lie down. If you sit down in a chair next to the crib he will be more likely to want to sit and lie down himself in order to be closer and on the same eye level as you.

Be careful. Lots of times, once kids learn how to do it, we, as the parents, keep rushing in and lying them down. And we all know where that goes, we lie them down and they stand back up.

If you feel compelled to lay him down once he knows how to do it himself, do it once only and wait until you think it’s that “magical moment” where if you lay him down he will stay down. Don’t worry if you guess wrong and he pops back up, wait a little longer next time. You will both get the hang of it.

Good luck!
Sweet dreams,

Video filmed by In Focus Studios
Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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One Comment

  • Chris Lori says:

    An infant bed (commonly referred to as a cot in British English, and in American English a crib or far less commonly a cradle or stock) is a small bed specifically for infants and very young children. Infant beds are a historically recent development intended to contain a child capable of standing. The cage-like design of infant beds restricts the child to the bed. Around two or three years of age, children are able to climb out and are moved to a toddler bed to prevent an injurious fall while escaping the bed.