How to Survive Toddler Sleep Regression
The toddler years are definitely one of the more difficult times throughout your parenting career, though the newborn age and teenage years are a strong competitors. The toddler brain is quickly developing and their little systems are undergoing so many changes, it can be frustrating for everyone. One of the hardest things to cope with is the toddler sleep regression which hits at 18 months and then again at 2 years old. Let’s investigate the toddler sleep regressions, why they occur, what kinds of issues they create, and how you can cope (besides an extra shot of espresso in your coffee in the morning).
Sleep regressions are defined as:
A period of time during which a baby stops sleeping as well as previously, typically one that appears to occur at a particular stage in the baby’s development.
Understanding the 2 Year Old Sleep Regression
There are quite a few factors that contribute to the 2 year old sleep regression. The time that children at two years old need to sleep is getting less, which is why your toddler may start rebelling against naptime and bedtime. It’s generally advised for parent’s to treat the 2 year old naptime resistance as a phase, instead of eliminating naps, try to push through it.
Separation anxiety may resurface, as children develop independence during toddlerhood, it can cause them to become even more aware of separations. These behaviors at separations will be loud, tearful, and difficult to stop.
Big transitions sometimes happen in the home around the two year mark. Many 2 year olds are facing transitions like moving to a big kid bed, awaiting the birth of a new sibling, or potty training — and all of these transitions disrupt sleep.
Nightmares, and general fear of the dark also appears at this age. Your imaginative 2 year old may suddenly feel afraid of monsters under the bed and also remember all the fun things to do outside the bedroom, and that can affect naps and bedtime.
What Can I Do?
There is no real one answer for handling sleep regressions. Here are our strategies to minimize your toddler’s new sleep pattern and to keep sane during this phase:
- Set clear boundaries and limits with your toddler, especially at nap time and bedtime. This will help nip any sleep-related tantrums in the bud.
- Try a new routine that may comfort them, like turning off all the lights together and saying “Night Night” to the family pets.
- Don’t rush into altering your toddler’s schedule, or dropping naps. Sleep regressions will resolve themselves, and it’s important to treat this as a phase as like all things in life this shall pass.
- While you’re exhausted and want to throw in the towel, and thinking of locking yourself in the bathroom, try to stay strong and keep consistent.
- Be careful about chalking everything up to this sleep regression, and if too much time goes by without change from the sleep regression, it might be time to analyze what is going on in other areas that might be affecting sleep.
For further support with getting through toddler sleep regression or any other parenting concern, check out the largest Facebook group for Vegan Parents and get insight from other families worldwide! Also check out the Instagram to continue connecting with parents who can lend you a shoulder to cry on or an ear for daily frustrations. Raise Vegan is here for you!