24 Month Sleep Regression Tips
There’s no doubt that being a mother is a joyful experience, even when there are challenges. By the time your toddler turns 24 months, you’ve gotten into a groove and feel more than confident about all of the progress that’s been made. If your two year old starts to experience a sleep regression, that can feel overwhelming because it’s something you just didn’t expect to happen.
It’s common for moms to be caught off guard when something like a 24 month sleep regression occurs because that’s the time in your little one’s life when you feel like you have everything under control. What’s important to remember is that children go through different phases in life and this won’t be the last one.
Just like there were many changes that occurred in prior months, you will continue to experience new phases. It’s simply part of the development process. Let’s take a look at how you can respond to your child’s sleep regression.
1. Establishing Boundaries
What’s amazing about this stage in your child’s life is she understands that she can explore and respond to her feelings. It’s unlike months prior when there wasn’t as much awareness of feelings. This awareness is why there is a tendency for children experiencing a 24 month sleep regression to question authority.
Children at this age have emotions and desires that are contrary to what they’re being told to do. They may start to test authority to see what they can get away with. In fact, this is precisely why it’s important to handle a sleep regression without letting it get the best of your emotions. Instead, it’s necessary to respond calmly and consistently.
A common technique that’s used as a way to establish boundaries but still provide your child with some autonomy is allowing her to provide input. For instance, during the bedtime routine, you can involve your child in the process by letting her determine what she wants to wear to bed.
This could be a choice of pajamas that you already had in mind. If old enough, you can try letting your child decide what to wear to sleep. Likewise, you can have your little one choose the story that will be read at bedtime. Since your child is exploring independence, this gives her a chance to respond to the emotions that are being felt.
Another way to establish boundaries is by letting your child know that bedtime is non-negotiable. While you might be tempted to let your child get out of bed, it’s best not to give in. This doesn’t mean you force your child to go to sleep. It’s just important that a child experiencing a 24 month sleep regression remain in bed at the time designated so that boundaries are maintained by not giving in to pressure. It’s perfectly fine if it takes her child extra time to fall asleep during a sleep regression.
2. Scheduling Activities
Turning 2 years old is a wonderful thing for a child because they will have many new experiences in life. There’s quite a bit that goes on in the life of a child at this age, which is often what precipitates a 24 month sleep regression.
Whether it’s potty training, daycare, play dates or some other activity, your child is experiencing a lot that’s exciting. With everything that’s new, there’s bound to be a change that impacts your little one’s ability to go to sleep at night. Sometimes it happens because the day was packed with far too many activities and it’s necessary to scale back.
To address a 24 month sleep regression, you need to make sure there is plenty of consistency in your child’s life by scheduling activities that your little one will come to expect. Here are a few examples:
- If your child has play dates, they should be scheduled at a certain time of the day.
- Screen time should be limited and end at least an hour before bedtime. This will help you avoid early evening activities that tend to make children stay awake at night.
- Bedtime should be scheduled at the same time each day of the week.
When the 24 month sleep regression shows up as a result of the many different changes in your child’s life, you can combat the issue by ensuring activities happen life clockwork.
3. Developing a Plan
Instead of going about your day without a clear plan, it’s important to develop a strategy based on the issues that you’ve observed during your child’s 24 month sleep regression.
For instance, if you’ve noticed that there’s a problem with your child going to sleep at a specific time, consider changing that time to later in the evening. This means you can adjust other activities of the day accordingly and also pinpoint what might be causing your little one to stay awake at night. If it’s screen time, you can stop allowing your child to engage with any kind of screen or technology hours before bedtime.
The solution for resolving a 24 month sleep regression will vary because the issues are not always the same. For instance, you might be able to close the door of your child’s room when you notice a sleep regression.
However, if this is something that causes a problem for your child, it’s best to leave the door open. If you have a tendency to feed your child later in the day, you might want to change meal times as yet another way to address the issue of sleep regression.
4. Returning to the Routine
There are many usual situations that can arise and result in a 24 month sleep regression. For instance, teething is something that can disrupt your child’s routine and cause a serious problem. Since teething often causes discomfort, it can be the reason why a 24 month sleep regression begins.
If that’s the case, you can address the discomfort that your child feels from teething, but return to any routines that you have established once that’s been done.
Just like teething, there are other painful experiences that your child might have that can result in a 24 month sleep regression. Sometimes an injury or an illness can disrupt your child’s ability to maintain a sleep routine.
This might result in you breaking your child’s routine to provide the comfort and care needed. When that’s the case, it’s important to return to that routine when your little one is all better. If your child is in daycare, there’s a good chance that the issue of illness will be a recurring one since children get sick often and share colds.
If that happens, you want to return to your normal routine each time. It’s important to make sure time spent out of a routine because of a sickness doesn’t turn into a long-term habit.
5. Maintaining Balance
Experiencing a 24 month sleep regression doesn’t mean your child doesn’t still need the same amount of sleep that’s often recommended for that age, which is about 12 hours or more. It’s also important to know that many 24 month olds take a nap at some point during the day.
With all of the sleep time that occurs during naps and bedtime, there should be plenty of time reserved for your little one to explore and exert energy. This will keep her from staying awake at night.
A balanced routine means there is a sufficient amount of time to play, take a nap, eat on schedule, and go to bed at the predetermined time.
When you give your child a chance to exert energy, while also staying on schedule, that balance will be the reason why the 24 month sleep regression ends after a short time. When you disrupt your child’s routine, she will no longer have the balance needed.
6. Responding Appropriately
Many of the challenges that you’re likely to experience during a 24 month sleep regression are normal and should be expected. That doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult to handle.
When you notice that your child is unable to sleep and seems frustrated at night, you’ll want to step in and make her feel better. It’s best to decide in advance how you will respond so that you don’t respond in a way that only makes the situation worse by extending the sleep regression.
For instance, instead of letting your child sleep in your bed, you can provide words of comfort.
A 24 month sleep regression isn’t a fun experience for many reasons. As mentioned, it’s something you probably thought was over long ago. The good news is that a sleep regression doesn’t last long, so things will be back to normal before you know it.