If you and your infant have gone through a sleep regression before, then you probably know what it is. The bad news is that such a situation may happen again in toddlers. We know it as 2.5 year old sleep regression. If your kid becomes cranky, fussy, restless, fights day-time nap, wakes up during nights, most likely you are facing 2.5 year old sleep regression. Even though the symptoms and signs are very similar to what happens during 12 month sleep regression, there are some peculiarities you should know.
2.5 year old sleep problems can last up to several weeks, and often parents are entirely unprepared, hence, they feel helpless. Are you feeling this way too? Ready to try everything to fix it? Childcare experts and experienced parents know some tricks to make parents’ life easier. They are sharing their best tips in this article to help you to stay sane and survive during a toddler sleep regression. Scroll down!
Signs And Symptoms Of 2.5 Year Old Sleep Regression
What is a 2.5 year old sleep regression? It is a situation when an infant or toddler who normally has been sleeping well for 11-12 hours at night, begins to wake up, plus, he/she refuses day-time naps. Top it off, in this period, as well as during 9 month sleep regression, the child can be fussier and more restless.
Let’s sum up the signs and symptoms of baby sleep regression:
- Your little one resists falling asleep.
- The baby stops sleeping through the night (11-12 hours of uninterrupted Zzzs).
- He/she wakes up earlier in the morning.
- The child fights day-time naps.
Note, that if your tot needs you to lie down with him/her to drift off, or wants a bottle to go back to sleep in the middle of the night, and it’s always been the part of bedtime or night ritual, this is not the case of sleep regression. Experts call it “sleep crutches” or “existing sleep association issue,” and you have to train your little one to self-soothe and sleep alone.
Sleep Regression Reasons
Actually, there are lots of factors that can cause discomfort in a child or make him/her restless, anxious. Below you’ll find the main baby sleep regression reasons.
- Teething pain
- A growth spurt
- Reaching a new developmental milestone
- An illness (ear infection, cold)
- Disruption in daily routine, e.g., starting a daycare
- Long-distance traveling, which involves Zzzs in a new environment.
- As for 2.5 year old sleep regression, add to the above list night terrors or nightmares, fear of the dark, and separation anxiety. During this period, you can often hear toddlers crying in sleep.
Usually, toddler sleep regression lasts from 2 up to 4 weeks. During this time, your baby will adapt for a new routine or milestone or recover from illness. But you should remember that the duration depends on the reason and varies from child to child.
Sleep Training For 2.5 Years Old Toddler
You can start sleep training your baby as soon as he/she is 4-month-old. However, it’s never too late, and you can begin it before or after kid’s second birthday. How much sleep does a 2.5-year-old need? Typically, children of this age sleep about 11-12 hours at night and have 1 day-time nap, so totally kids sleep about 13-14 hours out of 24. However, every child is unique, and if he/she sleeps less but feels well-rested than it’s ok.
If you haven’t trained your little one to self-soothe and fall asleep alone, here are well-tried methods from experienced parents.
- Avoid using “sleep crutches.” Experts say that when an infant is older than 4 months, parents should stop using “sleep crutches” – nursing, singing, and rocking until he/she drifts off. There is nothing bad or wrong in this ritual, but the child gets used to it and won’t be able to fall asleep on his/her own, while this is your main goal.
- Make a comfortable environment in the nursery. The right, comfortable room conditions mean everything when it comes to toddler sleep training. The nursery must be cool enough – 65-70 degrees. You should think about room-darkening shades if the child has trouble with early wake-ups or day-time naps, also, get a night light so that your kid feels safer.
- Put your baby down awake. After 10-20 minutes of a bedtime routine (reading, listening to calming music, cuddling, etc.), rest your tot in his/her bed sleepy but awake. Expect some tears, especially if he/she is used to drifting off in your arms. Stay near the bed; from time to time offer gentle touches and reassurances. If the child throws tantrum, pick and cuddle him/her, but as soon as he/she calms down, put him/her back in bed. Stay close until the child falls asleep.
- Stay consistent! The biggest mistake parents can make while sleep training the toddler is being inconsistent. This leads to frustration in children; so whichever method you use, just stay consistent and patient.
Extra Tips On How To Survive Toddler Sleep Regression
Luckily, sleep regression is a temporary situation; in about 2 weeks, everything will become normal. However, by using the below tips, you’ll be able to pass this stage easier.
- Get the toddler to bed before he/she is overtired; this way, it’ll be easier for him/her to fall asleep. Watch out for baby’s sleep signs – yawning, rubbing the eyes, fussiness, etc.
- Stick to the consistent bedtime ritual – dinner, bath, reading, cuddling, lullabies, but not until the toddler drifts off (remember about “sleep crutches”).
- Ensure that your little one always has a day-time nap so that he/she doesn’t get overtired.
- Give your child extra attention during the day, keep him/her active, encourage his/her new, exciting skills. This way, the toddler will be tired enough not to refuse naps and night sleep.
Undoubtedly, it’s frustrating when a toddler – a super sleeper – has sleep regression. However, you should remember that such a situation is normal, and “This shall pass too.” So, just stay patient and consistent! We, at top-mom.com, hope that our tips will help you to survive the hard times and become the top parents!