Sleep regressions are HARD. No matter the age. James has been the best sleeper from day one. When we put James down to bed at night, he sucks his thumb and puts himself to sleep. But as soon as James turned two, a switch went off. He had the toughest time going to bed, crying and screaming, almost fearful of being in his crib. And to top it off, he skipped all his naps. And as a mom who LIVES for naps, this was not easy. We spent a lot of our time outdoors to try to release the energy to get tired but it didn’t work.
I’ve teamed up with my friend and sleep consultant Emily Freilino to share some tips to help you survive the regression. It’s not easy but YOU CAN DO IT! This phase too shall pass.
What is a Sleep Regression?
– A sleep regression is defined as any period of time (generally 1-2 weeks) where your child’s sleep patterns change (i.e. trouble with bedtime, middle of the night wakings, early mornings, or trouble during nap time) due to developmental milestones. For children who already have independent sleep skills these changes are usually minimal and quickly pass whereas children who have always had trouble sleeping tend to see longer term issues with sleep continue even after the regression is complete.
Why does a sleep regression occur?
– Generally, sleep regressions occur due to developmental changes. The biggest sleep regression most parents are aware of is the 4 month sleep regression as this is a period of time with many changes for baby including a complete re-orginization of how their body interprets sleep. Other common “regressions” can occur at 1 year and then again at 2 years but these are usually less likely to be regressions and are more likely due to scheduling changes needed as the child ages or will pass in just a few days time with consistency in response by the parents. For more information on the 4 month sleep regression you can visit our blog article here: https://sleepwiseconsulting.com/have-you-considered/the-four-month-sleep-regression/.
Tips During Sleep Regression
Consistency – Stay consistent with your routine. We continued to do nap time and bedtime routines as done before. If the nap didn’t take after 20 minutes, we would take James out of his crib and play downstairs. Bedtime was harder but we typically let James cry it out and if it didn’t work we would come back into his room, comfort him for a few minutes and then leave. It’s easy to start bad habits, so stay consistent as possible!
Comfort – James sleeps with a bunch of stuffed animals which he LOVES. We started giving Henry some too and he enjoys the company in his crib as well. I love the idea of giving your child a special tee-shirt or something of mommy’s or daddy’s that they can hold at night.
Less Sleep – The average amount of sleep a two year old needs is between 11 – 14 hours. In a typical day, James sleeps for 12 hours at night and takes a 2 – 3 hour nap. We moved James’ bedtime back from 7:00pm to 7:30pm to lessen the total time he was sleeping. If that didn’t work, capping naps after about 2 hours was suggested. For more information on the total hours of sleep recommended for your child by the National Sleep Foundation see the graphic below!