Was your little one once an amazing sleep as a baby- and as soon as she became a toddler, sleep became a thing of the past?

If bedtime battles, nap refusals, and nightwakings have become a thing in your life (or perhaps these were always a challenge?), I want you to know that you’re not alone!  Toddler sleep struggles are real!

I want you to know that it’s NEVER too late to teach your little one how to sleep like a champ.

In this episode, I’ll be discussing the biggest culprits of sleep regressions in toddlers, as well as what you can do to get this ALL fixed.  Have a listen!

Want to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night so you can be a functioning human?  Join my FREE training HERE: https://mysleepingbaby.ac-page.com/registration-page-v-2

Eva: (00:04)
Hey there, you’re listening to the My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.

Eva: (00:44)
All right. Hello everyone. Welcome back to the show. So before we dive in into this week’s new episode, I wanna just quickly read a wonderful review testimonial from a sleep Bible member. Her name is Laura and Laura said after joining the sleep Bible, we had our daughter falling asleep independently on our first attempt. She now sleeps 11 plus hours that night without waking up and goes down for her naps without a fuss. The Facebook group provided us with so much knowledge, both in answering our questions and reading what other parents were dealing with because of it, we felt prepared for the inevitable changes to our, her sleep schedule. And we were able to adjust her schedule on our own Eva sleep Bible saved my sanity and has helped our daughter become an amazing sleeper and thus a happy, energetic little toddler. If you’re having trouble sleep training, or have an infant who is waking up every 45 minutes, because it falls asleep with your help.

Eva: (01:39)
This program is for you. Thank you li so much for such a wonderful heartwarming testimonial. If you can relate to anything that Laura was talking about in terms of waking up every 45 minutes, taking forever to fall asleep, waking up throughout the night and giving you short, unpredictable naps. The sleep I program is for you. It’s gonna take you step by step through exactly what you need to do with my support along the way to help your little one, learn how to sleep like a champ. So you can feel like a functioning human again. So if you want more information about it, start off by watching my free master class located in the show notes. All right, so let’s talk about toddlers sleep regressions. This is a thing. It, this happens where your little one is let’s say was sleep trained as an infant and is sleeping beautifully throughout the night.

Eva: (02:36)
And then she becomes a toddler turns, you know, 18 months, two years old, somewhere in that ballpark. And a, all of a sudden sleep starts to become a problem again. And you’re going, wait a second. Where does this all coming from? Where did my champion sleeper go? And how do I get this champion sleeper back? So when toddlers regress in the sleep department, I find that it’s usually caused by one of four main culprits. And we’re gonna dive into all four it’s. Usually at least one, it could be, it could be more than one of these, um, but at least this way, I’m giving you all four. So you can think in the back of your mind, do I need to, in terms of checking off the checkbox here, uh, how many of those are, are culprits that are impacting your little one’s sleep? So let’s talk through these four main culprits that can cause a toddler’s sleep to fall apart.

Eva: (03:36)
And then we’re gonna talk about what you can do to get your little one back on track. Okay. Culprit number one is that your little one moved to a bed too quickly. I get it. I get it. Your little one is now two, and you’re thinking, oh, he must be ready for a big boy bed or a big girl bed. Or maybe you have another baby on the way. And you’re thinking in the back of your mind, you know what? We gotta get Johnny into a bed because we’re gonna need the crib for the baby. Right? And you see what can end up happening when, when a toddler is transitioned to a bed too soon, is that their sleep, which was ordinarily fantastic in a crib can easily end up falling apart because a bed has all this freedom where it’s more like it offers all this freedom to your toddler who is quite frankly, just not mature enough to be able to handle when they were sleeping in a crib, they have this physical boundary, you know, preventing them from getting outta, leaving the room whenever they plead.

Eva: (04:41)
But all of a sudden, they now recognize that they can just get out of bed and open the door and leave their lack of in impulses control is gonna kick in. And then they’re gonna say, Hey, why don’t I give that a try? And you don’t wanna find yourself in that kind of situation. What a lot of other people don’t realize is the crib for a lot of toddlers actually offers a certain sense of security that the bed does not offer. You see, as an adult, we look at the crib and we might think, oh, Johnny’s so big right now, he might feel so squished and contained in that crib. And he’ll sleep so much better, you know, in a big, big, he’ll be so much more comfortable. Whereas in actuality, the crib slats and the coziness of the crib really do make a lot of toddlers feel that much more safe and secure.

Eva: (05:35)
And so what oftentimes ends ends up happening is that you have a baby or a toddler who was falling as sleep by themselves in their crib, no problem. And sleeping through the night like champs. And then they’re transitioned to a bed too soon, which comes as a bit of a shock to them. And all of a sudden, they’re going, Hey, wait a second. Oh my gosh, this room is so big. They feel like they’re in the Pacific ocean. It’s overwhelming. It’s scary. And so all of a sudden they start calling out for mommy and for daddy to come and stay next to them until they fall asleep. Now, if it happens the odd time here and there, the sky isn’t gonna fall, but we all know that habits can form in a matter of days. And the problem with this becoming a habit at bedtime, even if let’s say hypothetically, it takes your kid five minutes to fall asleep with daddy sitting right there.

Eva: (06:29)
There’s now nothing stopping him from waking up at night because he needs daddy to come back and sit next to him until he falls back asleep. So transitioning gets toddler to a bed too soon can really end up having a domino effect on things, right? One probably leads to another, which leads to another. And then before you know it, you’re going, oh my gosh, where is my child who was sleeping 11 hours on corrupted? And in these sorts of situations, to be honest, the solution is to get that child back into a crib. If there is another baby on the way, get a second crib for the baby, or have the baby sleeping in a bassinet or a pack and play, or, um, some other independent sleep space so that they can both have cribs to, to be able to sleep in. Don’t be in a rush to get your little one into a bed.

Eva: (07:23)
Anytime soon as I am recording this, JJ is three and a half years old and he still sleeps in a crib. He loves it. I am a very big believer and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right. And if it’s, if your little one is sleeping like a champ in that crib, and they’re not climbing out, they’re not jumping out. Everything is working, don’t be in a rush to transition them. And by the way, if you are struggling with your little one climbing out of the crib, I do have an episode on how to go about transitioning your little one to a bed or keeping them contained in their crib. So I will link that episode, um, in the show notes below. But the moral of the story here is that if it is working, don’t be in any rush to get them out of that bed because it, out of that crib, because it could end up triggering a very big sleep regression.

Eva: (08:20)
All right. The second culprit of toddler sleep regressions that I’m talking about today is too much daytime sleep. Now I know this sounds a little bit counterintuitive because I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about over tiredness all the time, how important it is to make sure that your little one is napping like a champ during the day so that he doesn’t become over tired. And that is a hundred percent true. But I also wanna be emphasizing that there is such thing as too much of a good thing. There is such thing as too much daytime sleep, because you wanna remember that there is only so much sleep that your little one can give you over a 24 hour period. And so a two year old, for example, usually on average ends up needing about 11 hours of nighttime sleep and a two hour nap. And so if that two year old of yours is napping for say three hours or three and a half hours, and then doesn’t wanna go to bed that night or ends up waking up at 5:00 AM.

Eva: (09:22)
The next day that three hour nap is likely responsible because if your two year old needs approximately 13 hours of sleep over that 24 hour peer, and he’s sleeping three hours during the day, then mathematically, that only leaves over a 10 hours of nighttime sleep. If that, if that, and sometimes it’s not basic math where sometimes that really big afternoon nap can actually end up ceiling from your little one’s nighttime sleep totals end up resulting in less sleep over that 24 hour period. So I want you to be very, very mindful of how long your little one is napping. And I know that this must be frustrating for some of you to hear because you probably look forward to your little one’s three hour nap to be able to recoup and your breath. I get it. I do. But in the name of protecting your little one’s nighttime sleep in the name of being able to get them to bed early, it is worth making those scheduling tweaks.

Eva: (10:28)
I promise you culprit. Number three of toddler, sleep regressions is not getting enough stimulation during this day. Now let’s remember toddlers have a lot of energy. They need to shake their sillies out constantly throughout the day. And look, if your little one is in daycare or a nursery program of some kind, then it is safe to assume that your little one is getting a nice amount of stimulation, but if they are a home with you on a full time basis, then it can be tricky to make sure that you have enough opportunity or you’re giving your little one enough opportunity to get outside and run around and shake their sillies out for a lack of a better term. So, and I, and I can absolutely appreciate that during COVID lockdowns here. And, you know, as somebody that lives in Ontario, we, we know a lot about COVID lockdowns.

Eva: (11:23)
It is so much easier said than done to just take your little one outside for numerous hours every day and let the run around. Especially since the lockdowns here attended to coincide with really crappy winter weather. So I, I get that it’s a lot easier said than done, but thankfully, you know, as I’m recording this, this is April, 2022, where we are headed into some really beautiful weather where you can take your little one to the park and enjoy yourself and not have to be bundled up, you know, shivering your butt off as your little one, you know, gets all his energy out. So definitely be extra mindful of that. All right, the last culprit of toddler sleep regressions that I wanna talk about today, which is, you know, arguably the biggest of toddler sleep progressions. And that is when your toddler begins to test the boundaries.

Eva: (12:19)
It is so normal for your little one to say, Hey, wait a second. I wonder what’s gonna happen. If mommy puts me in the crib and instead of going to sleep nicely, I just say, no, right? I wonder what happens if instead of going to sleep or instead of sleeping through the night, you know, I wake up and I jump around like a monkey. Let me see what ends up happening. And they’re going to test the waters. They’re gonna test those boundaries and see what kind of reaction they get from you. And then if they get a, or a response that makes the testing of the boundaries worthwhile, that’s gonna make your little one go, Hey, that was fun. I wanna do that again. So JJ, funny enough, when he was two years old, did exactly that where suddenly one day I would put him in his crib instead of him lying down nicely.

Eva: (13:17)
And for me to tuck him in, he just would sit up and he looked at me kind of with this smirk on his face and just said, no. And it was kind of funny, cuz I looked at him and I was like, you don’t know what your mommy does for a living. Do you clearly no, you know, good, good luck bud E for effort. But uh, I got your number here. I know what you’re up to. And you see, this is a very, very common situation where regressions can happen because what would end up happening is if I said to him, okay, JJ, that’s it, I’m leaving. I’m not putting up with this and leave. He would start it to freak out. So that can make a lot of parents go, oh my gosh, how am I supposed to leave the room? If my kid is crying.

Eva: (14:01)
So instead they’re just stuck in there and they’re just sitting in the room because it keeps their kid calm for the next two hours. But then that means that they’re in baby jail. And then it also means that they’re creating probably a new habit that they don’t want in the grand scheme of things. And so what I did in a nutshell, when JJ was testing the waters and testing out those boundaries is I just said, okay, mommy’s leaving. And then I would leave and I’d let him squirm for three minutes, four minutes, that sort of thing. And then I would poke in my head and I would very calmly say, JJ, if you lie, mommy will tuck you in and he’d be standing up in the crib and he’d go, no, no. And I would go, okay. And then I would leave RINs and repeat RINs and repeat.

Eva: (14:47)
And you know, what ended up happening eventually when I popped in my head for, I don’t know, the fourth time or fifth time and said, if you lie down, mommy, we’ll tuck you in. He listened because he figured out right away that I’m not gonna play his game, that this is not gonna be worth his effort. And that the response that he’s getting from me is quite lame and actually quite boring. But I do wanna emphasize that he tried a version of this sort of thing numerous times throughout his toddler years, I would say now with three and a half, he’s, you know, more or less figured out that mom needs business. And it’s, it’s totally not worth as well, but when he was much younger and testing those boundaries, it, he did try this a handful of times. And every single time I chuckled to myself, um, thinking how adorable of an effort this is gonna, this is, you know, trying to outsmart his mommy who by the way, does this for a living.

Eva: (15:46)
Um, but the most important thing for me to emphasize that it nipped the problem in the bud immediately. All right. So to sum up, what are the four most common culprits of your toddler’s sleep regressions culprit. Number one, transitioning to a bed too soon. Culprit, number two, too much daytime sleep culprit. Number three, not enough daytime stimulation and culprit. Number four, toddlers testing the boundaries. So once again, if you are struggling with your baby or toddlers or preschoolers sleep, they aren’t keeping you up all night long. You don’t have an evening. You don’t get a break during the day and you are ready to make some changes. Check out my free master class in these show notes. How, how to get your little one consistently sleeping through the nights that you can be a functioning human again, and we can get you off on the right starts and get that problem solved as quickly as possible. Thanks everyone for tuning in. Have a good day.

Eva: (16:49)
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at eva@mysleepingbaby.com until next time have a wonderful restful nights.

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