23 Month Sleep Regression Tips
With your toddler quite close to the age of two, you’re likely in store for a whole host of changes to their personality, behavior, and sleep patterns, At 23-months-old, your toddler is rapidly growing and needs about 12 hours of rest a day. With most of your toddler’s sleep happening at bedtime, it can be quite challenging to transition to having more waking hours in the day.
As a result of all the changes your toddler is experiencing, they will likely have some trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Known as the 23 month sleep regression, your toddler’s body and bedtime are trying to accommodate to everything this new stage in life will bring.
If you’re struggling with this 23 month sleep regression, don’t fear. The following tips will help you gain a better handle on how to survive this change and make sure your toddler is getting the sleep they need:
1. Ease Your Toddler’s Fears at Night
The 23 month sleep regression often occurs as a result of new fears your toddler has thanks to their rapid growth and development. As your toddler’s imagination is constantly at work, this may contribute to new fears that they never experienced when they were younger.
At this time, it isn’t uncommon for your toddler to question what’s hiding in the closet or under the bed as night time can bring about these types of thoughts. Tame these fears for your toddler by walking with them around their room and talking about everything. By showing your toddler there’s nothing to fear in their bedroom, you’ll hopefully be able to help them feel more at ease.
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Another important way to help put these fears to bed is to use a nightlight. With the power of a nightlight, you’ll find that your toddler isn’t as worried about what might be hiding in the darkest corners of their room.
2. Spend Quality Time with Your Toddler During the Day
When it comes to dealing with the 23 month sleep regression, many parents find that the more quality time they spend with their child during the day, the easier it is for their toddler to adjust to these new changes. As nighttime often brings separation anxiety for toddlers, parents can make up for these long hours apart by having fulfilling playtime sessions when your toddler is wide awake.
These one-on-one periods of time will serve to reassure your toddler that you love them, no matter where you are or what room you may be sleeping in.
3. Set an Early Bedtime if Your Toddler is Overtired
Parents of toddlers often make the mistake of believing that overtired toddlers tend to sleep better. However, this belief is actually contributing to the 23 month sleep regression.
An overtired toddler is one that is overstimulated. This means that at bedtime, your toddler will have a more challenging time falling asleep. Moreover, when they are overtired, they won’t be receiving the highest quality of sleep that they need to be well-rested.
Avoid this dangerous cycle of sleep deprivation by setting an early bedtime. Make sure your toddler has the option to get to sleep when they are already drowsy rather than extremely tired. By experimenting with the bedtime and moving the time up every 25 – 30 minutes until you find the ideal time, you’ll be able to make sure your toddler is getting the perfect amount of sleep.
4. Perform the Bedtime Routine in Your Toddler’s Room
Bedtime routines are an important way to work through the 23 month sleep regression. These nighttime routines begin with a calming activity that helps to ease your child into getting ready to sleep.
Typically, these routines feature a bath, pajama time, storytelling, lullabies, and bed. During this process, it’s important to spend most or all of this routine in your toddler’s room. By including your toddler’s room as the primary location for this routine, you’re already communicating to them that this is the best place for them to be.
When it’s time for them to fall asleep, they will already feel more at ease in their room. While they still may have some issues adjusting to being left alone by mom or dad, going through the routine in their bedroom will help make the transition more bearable.
5. Give Your Toddler a Comfort Item
It is during the 23 month sleep regression that many parents see an attachment to their stuffed animals or other comfort items. During this regression, toddlers gravitate towards these comfort objects to help them fall asleep at night.
These comfort objects help to alleviate toddlers’ fears of being alone at night. As these objects tend to represent positive feelings and safety, having them with them amidst the difficulties of sleep regression will make a toddler feel more at peace during bedtime.
Additionally, these comfort items serve as a way to teach your child to self-soothe. Instead of relying on you to come back into their room and comfort them, they use their favorite pillow or stuffed animal to remind themselves that everything will be okay.
6. Hold Your Ground at Bedtime
The 23 month sleep regression brings on a variety of different behaviors. Whether your toddler is asking to stay up an extra 10 minutes or is hoping to spend another night sleeping in your bed, at this age toddlers are looking for a way to push the envelope and see how far the boundaries will go.
Parents must stand their ground at this time to make sure their children know what’s allowed and what isn’t. Oftentimes, parents may want to bend the rules when faced with a tantrum or incessant crying, but giving up isn’t the answer your toddler needs. By standing your ground and reminding your toddler why they need to get enough sleep and sleep in their own bed, you’ll be working to establish more healthy bedtime routines for everyone at home.
7. Stay Consistent as Much as Possible
Amidst all the changes and tantrums it can be difficult to stick to the exact same sleeping routine every night. However, the only way out of the 23 month sleep regression is to be consistent. While this isn’t as easy as it sounds, consistency is exactly what your toddler needs at this time.
With a stable nighttime routine and bedtime, your toddler will be able to get to sleep on time, ensuring they aren’t too overtired and that they know that is one routine that won’t change.
Signs of 23 Month Sleep Regression
As your child moves closer to the two-year mark, chances are they are going to exhibit more signs of the 23 month sleep regression. Worried that your child is in this regression? Read on for the most common signs to watch out for during this regression:
Separation anxiety is one big sign of sleep regression. This anxiety often strikes at night but can happen at any point. At the 23-month mark, separation anxiety is often based on fear.
Similarly, this separation anxiety can stem from the fear of missing out. Oftentimes at this age, your toddler is experiencing so many new abilities that they want to stay awake for as long as possible.
Longer Awake Time
As a 23-year-old, your toddler is transitioning to a sleep schedule that includes more time awake during the day. However, toddlers still need to nap at least once during the day.
Amidst these changes, you may find that your child has developed a resistance to going to bed at night, doesn’t want to nap during the day, or has begun to wake up too early. These new habits will lead to less sleep, making your child overtired and further intensifying this sleep regression.
Disruptive Life Changes
During this time, your child will reach a number of milestones. As they are now almost two-years-old, your toddler is likely potty training and transitioning into their new big kid bed. Additionally, many families at this time may be welcoming new babies, making your toddler feel even more uncomfortable with what’s happening in their life.
All these changes can lead to sleep regression as they try to make sense of their new world. Parents that notice this sign of sleep regression can help alleviate this issue by speaking to their children about the changes in their life before they happen. With this reassurance from their parents, toddlers will better be able to manage their feelings.
Don’t lose hope when going through the 23 month sleep regression. With the right strategies and a commitment to your child’s bedtime routine, you’ll be able to transition to this next stage in life seamlessly. As your 23-month-old approaches their second year, be sure to keep this guide in mind.