23 Month Old Sleep Schedule Tips
It is normal for sleep patterns to shift during the baby and toddler years. The 23 month old sleep schedule may shift dramatically from when he was younger. If he is generally a good sleeper, that may continue through his toddler years. If sleep has been an issue, you may continue to wrestle with sleep and nap problems. You may wonder if there are some particular 23 month old sleep schedule tips to help your baby stay on track.
Less time sleeping or skipping naps can be a signal of sleep problems or maybe a result of your baby maturing. Look for these signs your baby is getting enough sleep:
- He is still sleeping at least 11 hours in each 24-hour cycle.
- Napping at least once a day.
- He can be put down for a nap or bedtime while sleepy, but awake, and will go to sleep.
If he is struggling in any of these areas, he may not be as well rested as he should beT. His sleep schedule may need some help, but there are several 23 month old sleep schedule tips that can make things easier for the entire family.
1. Build repetition into the 23 month old sleep schedule.
An important 23 month old sleep schedule tip to remember is that babies this age love repetition. Patterns that repeat themselves help your baby learn what to expect and what will happen next. At this age, when they are starting to recognize that they are separate and apart from their caregivers, the calming knowledge that they can know and understand what happens next gives them confidence.
You can use this 23 month old sleep schedule tip to your advantage by devoting a little time to freshening up the sleep time routine. If you haven’t had an official nap and sleep-time routine before, now is the time to develop one. It doesn’t have to be complex or long, just a period to wind down and transition from what he is doing to going to bed. It can include songs, reading, finger play, and baths.
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Modifications to Your Existing Schedule
If you have a schedule, consider making some modifications. Are there parts of the 23 month old sleep schedule that your baby seems to enjoy more than others? Are there activities that he seems to resist? If he loves to sing and play songs but gets restless while you read to him, move the reading to another part of the day. The goal of the routine is for it to settle him, and anything he resists will move you both further away from that goal.
Once you have a routine that works, stick with it. You will find that he begins to look forward to the routine and will be quick to point out if you try to shorten it or skip a step, so be sure you can stick to this routine. One of the great things about the routine is that even if he doesn’t think he is tired, once he becomes accustomed to it, the actual act of the routine will put him in the right frame of mind to sleep.
2. Understand that fears and anxiety can develop at this age.
Another 23 month old sleep schedule tip to keep in mind is that this is the age when fears and anxiety can begin to develop. Separation anxiety, nightmares, and other real fears can have a strong impact on your baby’s ability to sleep. This is normal. What you can do is reassure your baby and work to keep these fears from wrecking his sleep routine.
If your baby has a solid sleep routine, you should be able to weather these fears with minimal problems. When he wakes up during the night afraid and lonely, go to him and let him know you are there. Ideally, you want him to go back to sleep without picking him up. Pat him gently on the back or rub his arms and legs and talk calmly and quietly.
Sometimes he will get more worked up and upset. When this happens you
want to soothe him, even if this involves removing him from his crib. When he calms down, lay him back in his bed. Holding him while he falls asleep is a bad habit that develops quickly. You need to balance the importance of soothing him before he gets so upset he legitimately cannot go back to sleep with the need to encourage self-soothing behavior.
3. Mobility makes sleeping hard.
Another of the 23 month old sleep schedule tips you should keep in mind is that mobility can be a good thing or a bad thing. Your increasingly active 23 month old has a very busy mind and body. He wants to explore and learn every second possible. That can mean climbing out of the crib and exploring the house during the night.
Escaping the Crib
When your baby discovers that he can escape the crib, you will need to make some adjustments. Lower the crib mattress to the lowest position as soon as you notice your baby developing an interest in swinging a leg over the side. You should also remove any bumpers or pillows he can use to boost himself out of the crib.
If he still manages to get out of the crib, be matter of fact when returning him to bed. Remember, he considers this an awfully big adventure, and if he gets a reaction out of you, whether it is positive or negative, he will probably continue with the escapes. To keep your 23 month old sleep schedule on track, calmly put him back in his bed and tell him he needs to stay there until morning. Repeat as necessary. You should also make sure that the house is safe so if he continues these nighttime explorations without waking you he stays safe.
Use his mobility to your advantage during the day. Come up with active games to play during the day so that he sleeps well at night. Break up the activities so that he gets several bursts during the day, whether it is kicking a ball back and forth, singing a silly song with lots of motions, or taking a walk around the block. It may seem like he gets plenty of activity on his own, in fact, many babies this age seem like they are rarely still, but adding in guided physical activity several times each day helps ensure your baby is ready for sleep when the time is right.
4. Introduce a lovey.
Many babies adopt a lovey naturally. If your child has not, you can encourage the behavior. Assuming your baby has a particular favorite stuffed animal or another object, it makes the perfect lovey. If not, you can pick something you think he may like. Of course, you can’t just hand him the item and tell him it is his comfort object. Instead, include it in the sleep time routine.
When adding a lovey to your 23 month old sleep schedule, tuck it between you and him while you read, have it participate in a sing-along, and otherwise integrate it into his life. When you settle your baby into his crib, include the lovey alongside. It may take a few days, but he will start reaching for the lovey automatically when he wants comfort. This 23 month old sleep schedule tip uses your baby’s love of routine to develop the lovey association.
5. Take a good look at mealtimes.
If your baby is suddenly restless during the night or otherwise experiencing changes to his sleep patterns make note of how he is eating. These two things may not seem related, but they are often closely interlocked. As your baby’s independence grows, he may have trouble consuming enough calories to keep him full. Although mealtimes are about nourishment to you, many babies consider them time to explore the world with their mouths.
You want to encourage good eating habits but you also want to be sure your baby is getting enough calories so he doesn’t wake up hungry during the night. Make sure each meal includes something that he will find easy to eat. While he may enjoy the taste and feel of slices of slippery fruit, pasta or whole wheat bread “fingers” will provide some substance to his meal. Meat is often a novel addition at this age, but many 23 month olds will not consume enough to keep their belly full overnight. To make certain your baby is not waking up overnight due to hunger, each meal should include a variety of foods, including at least one that you know he can manage well or something that he will allow you to feed to him.