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October 12, 2021 3 min read

Congratulations – you have a 2 year old! A fully fledged, walking, talking human being who you’ve done an AMAZING job raising. Well done you!

Baby sleep is a fickle creature, but hopefully by now you’ve at least had a taster of what a good night of sleep feels like. You also know that you can get through any regressions, no matter how challenging they feel in the heat of the moment.  

At the age of 2, children are experiencing a variety of leaps in their physical abilities, language skills, and social abilities. Your toddlers are soaking up new experiences like a sponge, but all of those developments can result in more challenging bedtimes as well as more frequent night wakings.

We’ve covered many of these topics before, but there are some points that are particularly poignant to your 2-year old and their sleep habits. These include:

Fears: Life can be overwhelming for children. This is about the time where children can develop a fear of being alone, of the dark, or simply of their complex little imaginations.

Being overtired: Some people think that keeping your child awake will help them be more sleepy at bedtime, when in reality, it can have the opposite effect. Being overtired can actually make your little one extremely overstimulated, which makes it harder for them to wind down to sleep.

Teething: Have you experienced the arrival of the 2 year molars yet? They can cause quite a lot of discomfort, particularly at night time when your toddler isn’t as distracted by the world around them.

Life Events: Has the world changed in your family unit? The arrival of a new sibling can cause quite a stir, as can other changes in routine – parents going back to work, or even your child starting daycare themselves. Any of these big life events can have an impact on how your toddler sleeps.

Nap Changes: It is quite common for 2 year olds to push the boundaries when it comes to sleep. They may start to fight their naps, or the routines of a busy day may mean that their naps are interrupted. Whether intentional or not, changes to nap schedules almost always have a resounding effect on evening sleeps too.

So how long will this regression last? That part we can’t help you with, but what we DO know is that you can get through this with a little patience and consistency.

Don’t forget to update your child’s sleeping bag/suit as they grow and their sleep needs change throughout this period.

Utilise all the skills you’ve learnt over the past two years, continue to persevere with your child’s bedtime routine, and make sure you continue to love and support your child as they go through it. (And grab yourself a really nice bag of coffee beans for yourself along the way.)

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this series on sleep regression – be sure to pass it on to your friends who may be in the thick of it right now. Here’s to better sleep!

You can read up on the other articles in the sleep regression series here:

Sleep Regression in Babies - Recognising the Signs
The 4 Month Sleep Regression
The 6 Month Sleep Regression
The 8 Month Sleep Regression
The 12 Month Sleep Regression
The 18 Month Sleep Regression