On average, a baby will start to pull up to stand on his own at around 8 month as this is about when his torso and leg muscles are strong enough for this new task. As every child is different, some will do this a bit sooner and some a bit later – and both are completely ok. Guess when they like to practice this skill? At naptime! This is because a baby’s naps serve differing biological purposes. The afternoon nap is physically restorative for your baby and is often when they decide to practice their newfound gross motor skills. Once this skill is on the rise, many babies go through a bit of a nap regression and skip or postpone their afternoon nap while perfecting their “stand.” If your little one has been a rock star napper and is suddenly standing for an hour rather than sleeping, it can be very frustrating. Can he lie down on his own? Does he know how to do this safely? While the urge to go in and lay your child down (or at least attempt to reason with him to do so on his own) is huge, do not do it! If you intervene, this “stand off” will last days and days. If you leave him be to figure this out on his own, one of two things will happen: 1. He will learn to lay himself down and go to sleep all on his own or 2. He will learn to not stand up in the first place. Going in to assist him will not allow him to experience how to handle the conflict of getting back down on his own and will also give him reason to stand for even longer the next day as he will have high hopes of your return. For many kids it can even become a game of cause in effect as they know you will just keep coming back in to lie them down. What to do?
- Often when a child is trying to master this skill, it takes them a very long time to fall asleep for his afternoon nap. In fact, often they practice for so long that they become super overtired and wind up skipping the nap all together. If you see this happening, put your child down about 30 minutes earlier than normal in hopes that he will practice, get it out of his system, and then fall asleep before be becomes overtired.
- If that doesn’t work and he still decides to stand up through his entire nap or take a very late catnap, an early bedtime will save the day and will help him from becoming woefully overtired. At this age, that means 5pm with no second nap!
- Stay consistent and offer the nap at the correct time (or a few minutes early) everyday and within a few days, this new skill will be out of his system and his nap will come back.
- Do not go in and lay your child down as this will just prolong the return to his norm and usually becomes a game, as at this time, he does in fact understand cause and effect.
- During playtime, practice standing up and safely getting back down over and over. If you can help him master this skill at awake times, it will hopefully impact his naps even less.
Follow these simple rules and your child’s “great stand” will be over as quickly as it began.