Sleep in young children is not so much problematic as it is subject to change. We can accept that there is a need to develop certain rituals and conduct some sort of sleep training. However, even children who sleep well already and do not wake up at night have their crisis periods. There may be many reasons for this, such as being sick or going on vacation.
Situations of sleep regression occur during different periods in a child’s life. In each case, the reasons will vary. Here, we’ll be looking at the situation of an eighteen-month-old and a 2-year-old going through a sleep regression, analyzing the reasons, and providing effective solutions. It is at this time that problems with sleep appear most often, seemingly out of nowhere.
18 months old
Any sleep disturbance is connected with the physical and mental development of your little one. As your baby turns 18 months, there is a lot going on and this will probably cause trouble.
- separation anxiety, which begins at approximately 8 months.
- teething – one of the greatest nightmares for parents, it is unavoidable but the effects can be mitigated.
- increasing sense of independence – our little person wants to prove that they make independent decisions and they often do not want to follow commands, such as their parents’ decision about when to go to bed and sleep.
Children around 18 months old are already showing very individual characteristics and they have their own perspective on many situations. It is during this time that they often refuse to take a nap during the day, and they do everything to avoid falling asleep. They also wake up at night and have plenty of ideas about how to spend their time. Naturally, sleep deficit will soon take its toll and the little ones will become fussy.
The 2-year-old crisis
This stage of life also presents several reasons for sleep-related complications.
- Waking time is increasingly longer. For this reason, the current routine of naps and bedtime hours gradually becomes more and more inadequate.
- Separation anxiety may reappear. The child fears the time when their parents are not there and needs a sense of security.
- Moving to their own bed and other major changes at home, such as waiting for the birth of siblings, or potty training.
- Nightmares. Nightmares start appearing at this age, so your child may be afraid of the dark or that monster under the bed.
How do I deal with it?
There is no foolproof solution here to solve all these problems. But there are ways to deal with sleep deprivation (both the child’s and your own).
- Firstly, keep in mind that this is only a transitional phase. The time will come when your baby sleeps through the night and putting them to bed is no longer an uphill battle.
- Set clear boundaries so that they do not resort to tantrums when it’s time for a nap or their nighttime sleep.
- Do not change the daytime&sleep schedule of your little one suddenly. Slowly guide them along the right track, and avoid any sudden moves in this area.
As you can see, putting your child to sleep is not as hard as it might initially have seemed. The bottom line is to identify what is causing the disturbance in their sleep in the first place. Only then should you intervene.
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