What exactly happens at 24 months?! You go from having a perfect, or near perfect, sleeper and all of a sudden you have a bedtime resisting bed invading nightmare on your hands. Well it’s all to do with the 24 month sleep regression. I know I’ve said this before but the term sleep regression really should be labelled PROGRESSION as sleep troubles are often linked to great leaps in development for our little ones.
However, that said, they can still be mightily challenging whether it is a sign of progression or not. This is especially true of the 24 month sleep regression as it often comes as a bit of a surprise to parents, especially if they are out of the dark days of night time waking!
Around the age of 2 our little ones really start to feel the effects of separation anxiety. They can start to develop fears where they previously didn’t have them and can start to have bad dreams and even night terrors. It may be becoming more and more difficult to get them to go to sleep independently, or to stay in their own beds as they crave the comfort and security of being close to their parents. They may demand to sleep in your bed or have someone with them while they fall asleep.
A great way to ease their anxieties is to keep their bedtime routine consistent and try your best to make sure they don’t get overtired. Being overtired heightens emotions and makes it physiologically more difficult for them to fall asleep.
The biggest error parents make at this age is to cut down on naps during the day in the hope that if they are worn out enough they’ll go straight to sleep. They usually do fall straight to sleep through sheer exhaustion but are more likely to have increased night time wakings, heightened anxiety and early morning rising.
At the age of 24 months our little ones generally still need a good 2 hour nap in the day. So the key to surviving the 24 month regression is to maintain and optimise their daytime naps and stick to their routine.