Ask a Sleep Expert: Sleep Regression
Q: Baby #2 is on the way and my 2.5 year old already seems to be having some of these sleep “regressions”. She was an amazing sleeper until recently. Now all of the sudden bedtime has become a battle and she is now waking up 2-3 times a night. She is recently potty trained (not at night) and is still in a crib. She still naps 1.5 hours at daycare and at home and bedtime is 7PM. Help! I don’t know what I will do if I have 2 children not sleeping through the night!
A: When a new sibling is on the way, it’s a huge adjustment for everyone. We can sometimes have unreasonable expectations with regards to how adaptable are children are. Change can be scary! They can start seeing early on that the focus is not longer 100% on them when a new brother and/or sister is soon to arrive. It’s normal for them to start acting out, pushing boundaries, especially when it comes to sleep. Here are a few things you can do to get back in track.
Don’t let them feel like they can’t manage the situation.
As our children get older, they need to feel somewhat “in control” of the situation. And suddenly there can become this push and pull of who’s in control. We parents often lose out! When it comes to bedtime, make a bedtime routine chart. Let them decorate it and then every night, allow for them to check off each step as you go. Allow for them to tell you what is next (even though you know) This way they can feel “in control” without causing battles.
Consistency and routine are key!
Children thrive off routine. They feel safe and secure when there aren’t many surprises and they know what is coming next. Keeping routine and staying consistent is best, especially when a big change is on the way.
Spend time together!
Make sure to spend one on one time together where your focus is just on them. Let your toddler pick the activity. You can make something for the new baby, write a story or just do something where the focus is just on the two of you! Most important is the time you’re spending alone together.
Laura Armstrong is a certified Sleep Consultant at Good Night Sleep Site Toronto and mother to her amazing daughter Norah, and wife to her wonderful husband Daniel. They live in the west end of Toronto. She knows the frustrations behind sleepless nights and overtired children and wants families to know that they’re not alone. When Laura isn’t helping families sleep, she works as a Registered Massage Therapist at her own practice in Toronto located in Roncesvalles Village, specializing in infant and family massage. Laura and her family also enjoy spending time up north at the cottage or just exploring the great city they live in.