Growing up can be an exciting and stimulating experience for babies and toddlers. Count yourself lucky if your child has never had a sleep regression because frankly it is not only draining but at times overwhelming. At about 2 years of age comes a sleep regression, follow these tips to help you through it and other behavioral sleep problems.
Create the perfect sleep time environment – make sure your child’s room is warm and dark to promote sleep. Try to eliminate excess noises which can be distracting and provide your child with an item for comfort (a stuffed animal, baby blanket, etc.).
Stick to a routine – we cannot stress enough the importance of following a routine. Toddlerhood can involve many tantrums, try to eliminate bedtime resistance by following a set routine (i.e. dinnertime, bathtime, put on pajamas, a massage, a story, a kiss goodnight). Routines give your toddler structure and predictability.
It is important to be patient but firm with your little one. Toddlers love to test boundaries, make it clear that it is bedtime.
Satisfy their needs, NOT desires – Make sure your child is satisfied and all their needs are met (i.e. don’t put your child to bed hungry or soiled). Once your child’s needs are met, it is not necessary to cave to every little thing they ask for. One more story probably won’t hurt, but try to avoid bedtime delays.
Don’t skip naptime – toddlers still need a nap in most cases during the day. While there is debate when to stop napping, some children continue napping past the age of 5. A daytime nap will help ensure your child isn’t overtired come bedtime and eliminate bad behavior due to exhaustion.
Help your child “wind down” – An hour or two bedtime, eliminate screen use and try more calming activities including reading, drawing, meditation or a massage. Quiet and calming activities will help your child settle down in anticipation of bedtime.
You are definitely going to have good days and bad days. It almost feels like a miracle to have my toddler asleep by 9 in her own bed, but it is always our goal. There are definitely days I lose track of time and bedtime is a little later or nights she wants to sleep together. I personally take a deep breath and remember there’s always tomorrow to do better.
Sleep is so important for your toddler’s development, so make sure they are getting enough.