Developmental Milestones - Rolling, Crawling, Standing, Talking etc.

Often when your child is about to learn a skill or has just learned a skill there will be disruptions in sleep. If your child is simply having fun practicing these skills there isn't much you can do but wait it out. As soon as your child has gotten over the excitement of his new skill (and no longer wants to practice it during his entire nap!) he should start sleeping
better again. Unfortunately, once one skill is learned a new one is sure to pop up before you know it!

Some skills can also cause problems sleeping because they can be frustrating. Take rolling over for example. Your baby rolls onto his stomach and then can't get back to his back by himself. Or your baby stands up and can't get back down. The best thing you can do for this is practice with your baby during awake times. Practice not only on the floor, but also in the crib. Practicing these skills during awake times may also help take some of the novelty out of the skill and end sleep disruptions sooner.

So what do you do when your baby/toddler gets stuck in an undesirable position (rolling or standing)? After giving your baby a moment to see if he can figure things out on his own, you can go in and help your baby out as long as these visits don't become constant, increasingly common, or enjoyable for baby. If this is the case, then you may want to leave your baby alone to figure things out by himself. It shouldn't take more than a couple naps for this to happen, if not sooner.

Prevention of sleep problems
The best thing you can do to prevent sleep poblems during these milestones is to have good solid sleep habits established before issues pop up. This is one of the reasons I encourage establishing good sleep patterns early on--it saves you a lot if work down the road in more ways than one! By solid keep habits I mean a consistent nap and bedtime pre-sleep routine, a good bedtime hour, a good nap schedule and the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own(a lovey is fine.

Also, when your child goes through these milestones, try to keep things as normal as you can. If you need to give some extra attention, do so, but keep it to the minimum. Kids are smart cookies. They will have you in there every hour in two days time if you let them!

How to fix problems that pop up
So the milestone passed and you are now left with a sleepless child, and coincidentally, some slepless parents. Maybe you are still stuck in the middle of the milestone and nobody is getting any sleep. Don't worry, you are certainly not the only one this has happened to (otherwise I wouldn't be mentioning this here, right?).

If you are passed the milestone I would go back to how things were before it started. Same naps and bedtime(maybe a bit earlier if your child is overtired etc. then wait a few dys. Things I'll often improve on their own. If things are still leaving you up all hours of the night then do the sleep training method you did previously to get to where you we're not so long ago. Haven't ever one any sort of sleep training? Well, welcome to the club :)

If you are still in the milestone but things have gotten out of hand, try to go back to how things have been in he past. Wean your child from your attention. Possibly even do some form of sleep training. Your child will learn to master the skill or get used to the new sleeping position they have gotten themselves into. And they won't crack their head open from falling from a standing position in the crib. That just doesn't happen (although I'd obviously still check on my child if I thought he got hurt).

If you have never had a child with good sleep habits and want to start now, I would probably wait unil a more stable time. If you feel you are going to lose it then 1)get some friendly support and 2) go ahead and jump into some form of sleep trining.

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