We seem to have hit the two year old sleep regression like a brick wall, it literally came out of nowhere taking my husband and I by surprise last week. I thought it was a one off due to the heat or teething, but no, since then it has continued. We have been lucky and have enjoyed a year of being able to put our daughter into her cot, and she’ll sleep through. But hey, just like we survived the months and months of the four month sleep regression we will get through this.
After a couple of hours googling and researching the subject trying to work out whether we were doing something wrong; was she too hot, was she tired enough, was she hungry, or was she thirsty, I discovered that there is a sleep regression at 2 years of age.
Having read these countless articles and blog posts on Google the two year sleep regression is caused by toddlers suddenly becoming more aware and knowledgeable, they become anxious needing Mummy or Daddy, maybe even becoming afraid of the dark, or they just need less sleep. I wish I hadn’t read that as I’m not ready to give up the lunchtime nap right now.
So what do we do about this. Don’t panic, I’m hoping that this is only a blip or a phase.
Starting from tonight we are going to try some new tactics, and also revert back to the tips and techniques that I employed during the early days of the four month sleep regression from some wonderful sleep books I read like a crazy sleep deprived Mum at the time. We’re going to lengthen bedtime and make it more relaxing. By starting her bath a little earlier after In The Night Garden, hopefully she’ll wind down from the day, and understand that this is bedtime. We’ll also spend more time reading stories up in her room before she goes to bed, and explain bedtime a little more so she understands what is going on. We’ll also reassure her that her room is a safe place, that Mummy and Daddy are here and love her, and that it is bedtime.
Recently over the last few nights either myself or my husband have sat in her room with her until she has fallen asleep, putting her back down when she stands up in her cot and cries, but never picking her up (the books say never pick them up), singing to her and rubbing her back. Yes this maybe creating a rod for our backs, but it’s what I used to do at four months and I see it only as temporary, and we will gradually retreat from doing this until she can settle herself again.
Some people may be in favour of crying it out, until they fall asleep. We’ve done it, but I will only do it for a limited amount of time, preferring to do controlled crying instead. Simply because the little one becomes like some sort of possessed monster, kicking and screaming, headbutting the side of the cot, and making sounds like shes about to swallow her tongue or be sick. So I’m not prepared for that.
So for now we will continue to stay in her room until she’s asleep or on the cusp of being asleep, and hopefully we’ll be back to the days where we could put her in her cot and she’ll be asleep. Until then my husband and I will continue this pattern in shifts, eating our dinner separately, and not sitting down to talk until about 9pm, sometimes 10pm. That is one annoying thing about this, is that we seem to have lost our evening.
I think that Iggle Piggle and the bedtime hour have a lot to answer for, don’t you? Have you experienced the two year sleep regression? What did you do you help your child get through it?