The 2 1/2-3 year sleep regression

Can we just talk about this sleep regression?

I talk a lot here about the 4-month sleep regression (when you feel bewildered and bleak), the 8-9-month sleep regression (when you feel defeated and hopeless), and the 18-month sleep regression (when you feel insulted and irate). But I haven’t talked much about the 3-year sleep regression. We’re in the middle of it here (although he won’t be 3 until May), so i thought maybe some of you would like to complain along with me.

The other sleep regressions seem to be characterized by frequent wakings throughout the night, but this 3-year one seems to be all about not going to sleep at bedtime. When he first goes into his bed at 8, and is still awake at 9:45, it starts to piss me off. There’s only so much water a kid can drink, the monster-scarer is in full effect, the temperature is fine, and no you cannot come out and read with me. And, what’s more, your brother needs to stay asleep so he won’t be tired for school tomorrow.

Honestly, at this point I don’t even care if the little one actually goes to sleep, I just want him to be quiet so he won’t wake up his brother. (The progressive lowering of standards also seems to be characteristic of the 3-year sleep regression.)

What I’ve finally come to is that I can provide him the opportunity to sleep, but cannot make him do it. We have a temporary peace with his staying in his bed quietly (so he doesn’t wake his brother) and my not caring if he’s asleep or not. I definitely don’t think it’s something he’s doing on purpose. I think it’s the same thing that happens at the other sleep regressions–the kids are working on something mentally or developmentally, and their bodies and minds just simply can’t sleep right then.

This too shall pass.

Anyone else want to complain about the 3-year sleep regression? (And, moms of older kids, is there one coming at 6 years?)

0 thoughts on “The 2 1/2-3 year sleep regression”

  1. Oh thought it was just me! Lol. My lb started not wanting to go to bed shortly after (3 weeks) we took his cot bed sides off ( 2years 2 month’s old) he never tried climbing out or didnt mind going to bed or sleep but we thought he was too old to bed in a cot so toom them down. It also coincided with the clocks goung forward which really didn’t help. He stsrted saying "not want to go to bed" this was mid afternoon most days so clearly on his mind bless of him. Struggleed wirh the whole screaming at door (stairgste in place) tried climbing out over stairgate and fell and hurt himself ihh it was endless (me being 6months pregnant too not helpful) eventually got star chart and for every night he stays in bed he gets a star the next morning. If he gets 6 I take him to a place of his choice on my day off. usually to the indoor fun zone or farm place nearby. I let him choose and make it a special day and refer to it being because he got all his stars for good sleeping. That’s working well but still yet to crack the 5am starts. Even a gro clock not working! any suggestions?

  2. I’m in the middle of this right now and not sure what to do! She’s exhausted at nap time but not going to sleep and that of course disrupts her nighttime sleep. We are going on almost two weeks of no nap…any suggestions or just hang in there as this too shall pass?

  3. Ughhhhh going through it now. Daughter is 2.5 months shy of 3. All week she’s been dragging out bed time for HOURS! Kicking, scanning, hungry, thirsty, gotta pee, can’t find my__… We’re going insane! If only her freaking crib had been made for tall toddlers, we’d have kept her in there! I miss the good old crib days.

  4. Crap, you mean last night was probably not a fluke thing? My son will be 3 in a month and a half and last night he slept from 8:30 to 1, was up from 1 to 4:30 and then slept until 7. It was a miserable night!

    1. We are living the same life right now. That schedule exactly! As I type this I’m hoping she is finally back down for the night!

  5. My 32 month old was taking forever to fall asleep at naptime so I took his nap away. For a week, he was sleeping 9 pm-9 am, but the last two days has been waking up at 6 am. Will he eventually go back to sleeping 12 hours at night? I certainly hope so. Haha

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