It's one of the most talked-about subjects in childhood sleep. Possibly feared the most by parents.
There's lots of stigma and misinterpretation when it comes to sleep regressions. Children may have disrupted sleep throughout their childhood when they are witnessing a developmental, social or emotional milestone. This means a child is actually “progressing” in an area of their life however their sleep may appear to regress. Remember not all babies and children witness regressions. Some may have a disturbance in sleep at all of the milestones mentioned below and others may have disturbances on one, two or none. Each child is different. I’m going to cover a few aspects of sleep regressions in this blog. When they may happen, tell-tale signs and why they may happen. This month I’m going to cover lots of ways we can help our little ones get through these regressions and get back to positive sleep.
When may my child have a sleep regression?
Regressions in babies can happen as early as 2 months but you’re likely to see one around:
- 3 - 6 months.
- 8 months
- 12 months
- 18-22 months
So why are these ages significant?
The ages above generally when children develop physically, emotionally or socially. It may even be because there is a combination are desperate to develop in a certain area but are coming against restrictions. For example, many toddler’s communication becomes a real barrier. They are desperately trying to communicate but they cannot and their peers, parents and caregivers misinterpret their speech or direction. This can cause communication frustration that will affect how easily they settle at night. There are so many reasons why your child may regress here’s a handy tick list of the most common reasons a little one may regress.
Changes in eating habits
Gross motor development
Learning to vocalize
The arrival of a new sibling
Parent returning to work
These milestones can have huge developmental, social or emotional effects on a child.
How do I know if my child is having a sleep regression? The first tell-tale signs
Harder to get the baby to fall asleep
A baby may wake up after a very short time
A baby may resist naps
More fragmented night-time sleep
How to monitor or Help.
When you notice your little one’s sleep habits change start to schedule and log the changes. Before making large changes to their routine. Rule out asleep regression before transitioning or dropping naps. This could be counterproductive as generally during sleep regressions we need to help them maximise their daytime sleep to achieve enough sleep when they’re experiencing fragmented sleep during the night. Go through the general lists of general reasons that sleep regressions may happen.
There are a lot of ways we can aid all of the reasons above its pinpointing what the cause of the sleep disruption is. The next step is to aid them in achieving their goals and milestones. You can do this by creating play opportunities this is something we’re going to be exploring over the next few months. We’ve already talked about how to help aid anxieties in previous blogs but we will start to explore the rest of these in this guest area!