Dealing with toddler sleep regressions

For whatever reason, it seems that your toddler has regressed. Perhaps he’s waking at midnight, three in the morning and screaming uncontrollably. The first thing we’d obviously check is if something’s wrong. He’s hurt, he’s sick, etc. When we start seeing this night after night after night and he is happy if he comes into our bed, then it’s probably a behavioural thing.

There’s nothing he actually needs. We’ve tried pain medication, checked for fever, etc. so there’s no pain. If it were pain, he would still be upset in your bed. So it’s not that. It’s some kind of behavioural issue.

It’s around the age of two years that they develop fear, so if they’re around this age that’s the one thing it could be. I would definitely make sure there’s a night light in the room and make sure that night light is on red. Red light is best for not interfering with melatonin, which is our sleepy hormone.

Aside from that and assuming he’s a well fed, healthy, happy little boy, it would really just be a behavioural thing. In which case, you need to work out a consistent way you’re going to respond. I don’t want you to shut the door and not go back. That’s loco. I just want you to work out a consistent way that you can respond so that he knows you’re here, everything’s okay, it’s just time for sleep, and how you respond will differ from family to family, but I want you to sit down during the day, and work out how you’re going to respond to these wakings, and keep them really consistent. It’s not going to work in 15 minutes, it’s not going to work in one night. It’s going to take some time, a few days, and a consistent response so that you can get him sleeping better again.

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