Based on my Google searches while researching this topic, I believe most parents of toddlers understand this issue that we have recently conquered in our home.
This issue is a natural one that occurred when our daughter learned to pull herself up and was just too excited about it to stop because it was naptime! The catch was that she hadn’t learned to get down from that standing position, so thus started a vicious cycle:
She would pull herself up in her crib…enjoy it for a couple minutes…make it clear she needed help down…I would help her down and walk back out of the room…then she would remember how fun it is to stand up…and here we go again…and again…and again.
I found that it no only frustrated her but it became clear that it was significantly interrupting her sleep when after an hour and a half of this process, she was still awake and popping up every time I left the room!
The great experiment
Something I am realizing, the longer I am a parent, is that this entire process is truly one big experiment. There are so many opinions, theories, and testimonies of success or failure out there that there is really no way to be completely sure of any parenting technique before trying it. Thankfully, God will never leave us or forsake us…even when our experiments completely flop.
So this is how the situation went down. Once the scenario I outlined about began I started researching like crazy to see what had worked for other parents. It seemed most of them suggested just waiting it out for a few days; until the excitement of pulling up faded a bit.
Then I had a decision to make…go through this incredibly frustrating process for days on end, or use this as a training opportunity. If you’ve read many of my child training posts you won’t be surprised to hear that I decided it would be best to train.
But then the question is: what is the best way to communicate to a one-year-old that she needs to stop pulling up when it’s time to go to sleep but it is wonderful to pull up at any other time?
That day I went through MANY “experiments” before finding a good solution.
- At first I sat next to her crib and would pull her hand down every time she started pulling up and as long as I was sitting there she got to the point that she wasn’t attempting it anymore…but the moment I left the room she popped up again.
- Next I stood next to her crib and held her down/tried to soothe her to sleep until she seemed asleep…but again, as soon as I was out of the room it was as though an alarm went off and before I knew it she was standing again.
- There were several other methods that I briefly tried and let’s just say that after TWO HOURS of attempted training we had gotten NOWHERE!
At that point, I called my hubby because I had an idea of what to try next but I wanted to talk through it with him first. If you have not yet read my post of teaching a nine-month-old the word “no”, I would check that out now.
The basic idea of it is that once children reach a certain age or maturity level it become necessary to offer some motivation to respect what you say. I believe Heidi was understanding what I was saying every time I laid her back down and said, “go to sleep, sweetie”, but she was still more motivated by her excitement to pull up. I had to add a bit more motivation to my side.
After getting the OK from Josh, I got our “I love you stick” and went back into her room. She was already standing back up so I walked up, gave her a small swat on the leg while saying “no” and then laid her back down while saying “go to sleep, sweetie”. Then I turned around and walked back out of the room. Because she is so familiar with the word “no”, this process was much easier. After the first swat I was able to stand outside the door, while watching her on the monitor and as soon as a little hand would start pulling up, I stuck my head inside the door and said, “NO”…and the little hand would go back down.
After two hours of no success with that other methods, this method had her trained and asleep within 15 minutes! It took two more short training sessions during subsequent naps to make it a permanent change but we have not had an issue since!
This process was made easier by the fact that we have a video monitor; the same process can take place with a regular monitor but you just have to spend a bit more time monitoring from inside the room.
*An important P.S. to this training technique is that once I got her up from her nap I immediately started playing with her and encouraged her to pull up. As soon as she did, I praised her to the skies. That way she associated “go to sleep, sweetie” with NOT pulling up and playtime outside of the crib as pull up and explore time!
I’m the last person who wants to swat my little sweetie (I might have shed a few tears during that training session), but if training her to obey teaches her respect, keeps her safer, and is what is best for her future…how can I not do whatever it takes?
I would love to know if you’ve experienced any similar situations and any successful experiments you’ve had!