A sleep regression can be terribly frustrating. One day you have a great sleeper and the next you may feel like you don’t. Have no fear, you can get through this! Here’s how:
The thing about sleep regressions is that they all have one thing in common: they are caused by something your child is learning. Well, that is good news, right? Yes, it is. It is fun to watch our kids learn and grow, but when it gets in the way of sleep what do you do?
How to Handle a Sleep Regression?
Be Sure it’s a Sleep Regression
First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure that you are really encountering a sleep regression. Sometimes when we are missing a piece of the sleep puzzle and naps are skipped / short or night wakings are happening, it can be confused as a sleep regression.
So, first ensure that your child is on an age appropriate schedule and are falling asleep independently. If you are able to check those boxes off, then you might be in the middle of a sleep regression. Common times for sleep regressions are around 4 months, 8-10 months, 18 months and 2 years.
Both a sleep regression and a new skill can have an outcome of an overtired child. Be sure to make up for lost sleep.
For all but one (the 4 month sleep regression) of the sleep regressions, the answer is do nothing that you normally wouldn’t do, IF you had a good sleeper before the regression. Seriously, do nothing. Stay consistent in your sleep schedule and how you would normally respond. Continue to offer sleep for the length of time that they would normally sleep for.
It’s tough to say just how long a sleep regression will take to pass. Your little one may just need a little time to practice their new found skill. Hang in there, soon this will pass and your great sleeper will come back if you stay consistent 😉. Getting the theme here yet?
So, if sleep regressions are caused by new skills then let’s encourage our kids to master that new skill, right? Your child may be learning to crawl, walk, talk. Exciting stuff, but very frustrating when that beautiful new skill gets in the way of sleep. There is no new skill that is mastered in a day or two. So practice, practice that new skill in their awake time. The sooner that skill is mastered, the sooner it will stop interrupting sleep.
It is always important to make up for any lost sleep, whether it be a skipped nap because of a sleep regression or a late bedtime because of a fun family get together. The best place to make up for lost sleep is in an early bedtime. Even just 30 minutes earlier can do wonders to help keep your child well rested and to help keep away the snowball effect of sleep debt.
Hang in there! This will pass, especially if you had a great sleeper before this regression. If you stay consistent (there’s that word again), it will pass. If you continue to struggle or feel like you need further support, the team at Good Night Sleep Site is here to help you through.
Senior Certified Sleep Consultant
Good Night Sleep Site Jennie