It seems frustrating when you thought you have finally set your child’s sleeping pattern and all those sleep time drama are over but then, all of a sudden, he shifts to sleep regression. Sleeping regression among toddlers, usually begins in ages 18 months, is very common though very discouraging specially to first time parents.
Your child’s sleep cycle may be stable for a while but this ‘regression’ thing actually happens.
toddler sleep regression tips
What is sleep regression and when does it happen?
Remember those sleepless nights when you are close to giving up trying to make your baby sleep at night? Can you still recall how exhausted you feel when your baby still can’t follow sleep patterns at all? It’s really a good thing that you remember because this will happen again—not only once but twice!
Sleep regression is the term used when a child starts to change the cycle of his sleep AGAIN. This happens twice during toddlerhood. The first happens during the 18th month and the next happens around the 2 year mark.
How to figure out if your child is in sleeping regression is easy. He begins to wake up frequently at any point of the night and finds it hard to go back to sleep. He may also refuse taking naps by day causing reduced naptime and that can make you upset. You may also consider changes in his appetite and behavior.
What are the reasons behind your toddler’s sleep regression?
The question that would probably first to pop out your mind is why. Why does it have to happen again when everything is going out so well?
At 18 months, your baby is traced to have changes in his physical and mental health. Some of the contributors to your 18 month child sleep regression are teething, separation anxiety and vast sense of independence:
- Teething is very understandable at this stage as it causes discomfort among toddlers and disrupts their sleep. Their growing 4 canine teeth as well as their first molars could be the ones to blame!
- Your baby simply doesn’t want to be away from you. Separation anxiety can be worse during the 10 to 18 months of your baby. He becomes upset whenever he wakes up at night without you beside him.
- Another reason could be his vast sense of independence which causes him to practice doing things he want and refusing to things he doesn’t like.
At 2 years old, there can be more factors that are causing your child to refuse sleep. These factors can be:
- Sudden stop of naps- Eliminating naps at this stage doesn’t help. It is advised to still encourage your child to take naps and just look at his naptime resistance as a challenge that is temporary and will soon be over.
- Resurfacing separation anxiety- Separation anxiety improvement after 18 months is great but don’t celebrate too much as it may reoccur when your little one is about 2.
- Longer awake time- As your child gets bigger; he has more time awake by day. For sure he becomes more active and this makes his sleep pattern fall apart.
- Transitions at home- These transitions like awaiting birth of a new sibling, potty training or moving to a bigger bed can affect your child’s sleep.
- Nighttime fears- Your child has developed his imagination and may feel scared at night.
Handling sleep regression
To lessen your worry, here are some toddler sleep regression tips:
- Remain consistent- Consistency plays a lot in toddlerhood so you must always stick to a routine even when he suddenly begins to refuse sleep. Setting clear boundaries and being consistent with implementing rules will make you cope better with sleep regression.
- Offer bedtime snack-A high-protein bedtime snack is good to avoid hunger during the middle of night.
- Read bedtime stories- Your toddler will appreciate bedtime stories perhaps. Be sure to pick stories that are calming and may stimulate sleep.
- Leave night light on- Because your child might wake up at night and get afraid of the dark—this will be a very bad experience for him.
- Re-train if needed- This includes resetting bedtime and naptime rules.
Bear in mind that sleep regression is just a phase. It is temporary and your toddler will definitely get back to on track once both of you overcome sleep regression.