Having a baby at home is never easy due to their unstable sleeping patterns, and when a child reaches toddlerhood, it becomes somewhat a breather to the parents until they experience what we call a “sleep regression” among their young one.
If your two-year old’s sleeping pattern suddenly becomes erratic, chances are he or she might be going through a sleep regression phase.
What is sleep regression?
Sleep regression commonly happens among children when a baby or toddler’s stable sleeping pattern becomes suddenly disrupted for a certain period that usually lasts for three to six weeks. At this stage, your child may resist the urge to rest, throw tantrums when it is time for bed, and/or wake up in the middle of night.
Why do they experience sleep regression?
There are several factors that contribute to a child’s sleep regression and it varies from child to child. It could be due to:
- Developmental milestones. Remember that your child is growing and that they are learning new things about themselves. These discoveries may get too overwhelming and cause sleeping difficulties.
- Teething. We all know how uncomfortable it is to deal with tooth problems. At this age, children get their two-year molars and it can be a very unpleasant time for them as they are experiencing extreme discomfort or pain.
- Separation anxiety. Toddlers may begin to act clingy at this stage and that is a normal part of their emotional transitioning. They may find it frightening to be separated from their parents or other people who are usually around them.
- Changes in routine. Because they are going through developmental milestones, children at this age will inevitably experience changes within them, internally and externally, and the adjustment may be a little too tough.
- Addition of a family member. A sudden change to family dynamics such as the introduction of a sibling into the picture may not be a huge deal to adults, but for children, especially at a very young age, this may cause an emotional turmoil.
Aside from these, there could be other reasons why a child may experience sleep regression.
What can I do to ease my child’s discomfort during this period?
- Maintain a regular sleeping pattern. Most children easily get used to changes when practiced with consistency. Even if it is challenging for them, try your best to stick to your routine. We understand that this is one of the most difficult things a parent must deal with.We recommend getting toys that encourage them to follow routines such as this Skip Hop Training Alarm Clock which can help your child keep up with the sleep pattern you want them to follow. The toy featured several light colors that give cues for when it is time for bed and when it is time to get up. Cool, right?
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- Establish limits. Do not allow your child’s tantrums or displeasure get the best out of you. Keep in mind that you are in charge but set limits in a non-traumatizing manner.
- Empathize with your child. The reasons for experiencing sleep regression we mentioned earlier are all new to them. During this period, parents should have an extra dose of patience and understanding towards their anxious child.
- Avoid introducing unnecessary new activities. Your child is already going through a lot of new experiences that are overwhelming, hence the sleep regression. Please do not add to that.
- Prioritize their health and safety. Due to the discomfort it brings to the entire household, this problem may cause parents or the involved adults to lose focus on some important things such as the child’s welfare. Make sure that their basic needs are met first before addressing the other issues.
- Think of personalized ways to effectively deal with it. Now that you have a wider idea about sleep regression, it is time you brainstorm within the family of ways you can deal with it based on your own experiences and environment. As the child’s parent, you are the one who knows what is best for them.
Sleep regression among two-year olds may cause a great deal of frustration for parents. When this happens, remind yourself that this is a natural occurrence among youngsters and that it is only for a certain time. Soon, you will get past this stage.