Baby standing in their cot

If your baby or toddler has suddenly started to stand up in their cot, it can be really frustrating! So in this blog, I’ll be going through why they are standing, when they start standing and what you can do about it.

Why are they standing?

When babies start to learn a new skill, they just want to practice it… All. Of. The. Time! Sometimes their favourite time to practice is when they’re in their cot, when they should be napping or sleeping at night. This is normal, and while it may be frustrating, it’s actually a great sign of their development and excitement to perfect their newly learned skill.

For older babies and toddlers, who likely perfected their standing skills a while ago, standing in their cot is often for different reasons. They may not quite be ready for their nap or bedtime and be trying to tell you that they aren’t quite tired yet. It may also be that they have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and, despite being tired and ready for sleep, they may not want to give in yet!

When do they start to stand?

Every child is truly different and will develop skills at their own pace so the age range for babies to start standing can vary from 6-10 months or older.

Every child is different and will develop skills at their own rate, so the urge to practice the skill of standing can happen across a wide age bracket. It may happen as young as 6 months or it could be closer to 10 months of age or beyond. Some babies never stand in their cots and keep this activity to awake times, so don’t worry if you don’t experience any cot standing at all!

As with all milestones, be confident that your baby will get their in their own time and don’t panic about hitting certain milestones by specific ages. Provide them opportunities to practice and let them follow their own development path when they’re ready. If you’re concerned about their development, then contact your doctor, health visitor or paediatrician.

Older babies and toddlers may start to stand in their cot at any age:

1- It may be a sign of them needing a slight routine tweak

2- They may feel unsettled after a big change e.g starting nursery, house move, new sibling etc, and need more reassurance and support

3- They may be learning other new skills and start standing to practice everything together

4- It may just be a phase that they go through!

What can you do about it?

Like with many phases of development, standing in the cot often doesn’t last for a long time and you will come out the other side in a few days or weeks. You can’t force your little one to stop standing but here are some tips that can help you while they’re going through this phase.

- Practice- The ability to stand is often mastered before they develop the skill of being able to return to sitting/ lying down on their own. You can help them practice this during their waking hours. Place some toys on the floor when they’re standing and let them practice bending to pick it up. You can help them bend their legs and encourage them to reach for a toy/book they like.

- Review sleep timings- It may be time for them to have slightly longer stretches of awake time between their naps, or even reduce their daytime sleep if they are going to bed very awake. Sometimes standing in the cot or resisting sleep can be a sign that the balance of sleep and timings needs some tweaking.

- Avoid turning it into a game- If your little one keeps sitting or standing in their cot, you want to avoid constantly trying to lie them back down again and again. It can be frustrating for everyone or too stimulating. If they are calm, you can try leaving the room or taking a step back to give them some more space to lie back down themselves. Alternatively, you can sit next to the cot as you are settling them and just tap the mattress with your hand, giving them signal that it is time to lie down.

- Try a sleeping bag- If they don’t already use one, it may be a good time to move to a sleeping bag so you don’t need to worry about blankets falling off when they stand

- Provide boundaries- We want to help your babies through this phase but also giving loving boundaries that it’s still time for them to sleep. Make sure their needs have been met (nappy change, not hungry, not uncomfortable, ready for sleep etc) and support them to settle back to sleep. This may mean staying with them even if you don’t usually or giving them more space to settle themselves

- Be patient- Try and remind yourself that this is just a phase! It can take time and patience- you just want to consistently give them the signal that there isn’t anything else happening at this time other than calmly preparing for sleep

- Don’t push it- If they are sitting or standing after a short nap, try and resettle him. If it’s clear they aren’t going to fall back to sleep, then move on and get them up.

Take a step back and look at what might be the reason for standing. Support them to practice new skills, tweak their routine if it feels like the time is right and patiently support them to settle to sleep.

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