What is a toddler sleep regression?
Does the following sound familiar: Your child is a great sleeper until they start resisting bedtime, getting up in the middle of the night, or rising before the sun? Sleep regressions are these seemingly random interruptions in sleep.
When do toddler sleep regressions happen?
Sleep regressions are frequently associated with physical or developmental milestones. For example, a 3-month-old may go from waking once a night to begging for aid every hour early on! For example, consider a 9-month-old who quickly begins waking multiple times to attempt crawling and becomes trapped in an uncomfortable posture. Of course, toddler sleep can regress as well, such as when a child wakes up twice a night begging for water or your presence to comfort their concerns. Parents frequently report toddler regressions between 18 months and 2 years, while regressions can occur at any age.
What causes toddler sleep regressions?
Toddlers have double the number of buzzing brain connections as adults. This flurry of action allows your curious child to hone their talents, progressing from walking to running to speaking, playing games, and utilizing manners. Many lively toddlers avoid going to bed because they don’t want to give up the joy of these encounters. They become so excited by moving, learning, and exploring that the last thing they want to do is lay down and sleep—they’d rather stay up and observe what everyone else is up to.
Furthermore, toddlers are still learning how to navigate our world of clocks and laws. It’s no surprise they are constantly coming up against our limits and pushing to get their way! This need for independence can lead to exceedingly stubborn conduct in certain tenacious children! Another ubiquitous toddler attribute contributing to sleep problems is that the more fatigued they become, the crankier and more stubborn.
Aside from normal toddler stubbornness, there are a few more causes of toddler sleep regression:
- Your bedtime routine is incorrect. You’ve gone to bed too early or too late. Important: If your child has recently taken a nap, you will likely need to move bedtime earlier to minimize sleep issues caused by overtiredness.
- Your child is anxious. It is very normal for children to experience bouts of terror. After all, they are small individuals surrounded by yelling big people, barking huge dogs, violence on the television, and their aggressive instincts. It’s no surprise that toddlers may become concerned about the dark, strangers, dangerous guys, or other new worries.
- Your toddler is addicted to Mom or Dad’s assistance. They haven’t yet figured out how to sleep without you.
- Your child is overjoyed. Screens, roughhousing, or coffee before bedtime, as well as major life changes such as the birth of a new baby or the start of preschool, may agitate your child.
- Something is bothering them. Bright lights, loud noises, and discomfort can all disrupt sleep.
How long do toddler sleep regressions last?
It all depends. If you address the source of your child’s regression as soon as possible, it might be brief, lasting only a few days to a couple of weeks. However, troublesome sleep patterns can evolve into months-long ordeals if not treated properly.
What is the best way to handle a toddler sleep regression?
To promote toddler sleep, prepare for bedtime during the day.
I frequently tell parents that nighttime begins immediately after breakfast! That is, children sleep better after a day full of daylight, fresh air, exercise, nutritious food, play, a little breathing or mindfulness practice, and the avoidance of stimulants. It’s also a good idea to practice reading your beddy-bye book during the day: a handcrafted book with photographs that depict all of the procedures of the bedtime routine. Reading this together teaches your youngster what to expect when it’s time to sleep.
Use a predictable bedtime routine to stop toddler sleep regressions.
Then, of course, a decent nighttime routine will go a long way toward avoiding sleep problems. Begin the routine approximately an hour before going to bed. Dim the lights, play some low, rumbly white noise in the background, and turn off the screens. Reading together, taking a warm bath, or getting a massage can all be relaxing indications that evening is approaching.
Then, after putting on PJs, washing up, and brushing your teeth, it’s a good idea to organize the last 15 minutes into a highly predictable routine: snuggle in bed, read a few books, and engage in some bedtime sweet talk. Finally, a lullaby, followed by “Good night, my sweet little sleepy head.”
Solve toddler sleep regressions with Twinkle Interruptus.
For children who struggle to sleep or who rely on your presence to fall asleep, a simple approach called Twinkle Interruptus can help improve sleep without the need for crying it out. Begin by utilizing white noise every evening and night, and urge your youngster to make a companion out of a lovey. Next, stretch your patience many times a day for a week.
Finally, after going through your evening routine of stories and lullabies, remark aloud, “Oh my gosh! Wait! Wait! Only one second! I must check on Mama! I’ll be right there!” Leave the room for a few seconds and then return. When you return, thank your child for his or her patience. Next, read or sing some more and invent another excuse for why you need to go out for a little longer. When you repeat this a few times, progressively extending the waiting period, your child is likely to fall asleep while waiting a minute or two for your return over several evenings.