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21 Month Sleep Regression

The development of a child after the first year of life is more measured and not so dynamic. There are no strong jumps in growth. Children mostly sleep calmly for 21 months and without severe disturbances. Most babies of this age did not experience sleep regression.

A breakthrough in development and growth occurs closer to 24 months. Relative calm and stability make it possible to take a break before the regression of 24 months. Symptoms of sleep disorders are not pronounced. Sleep regression at 21 months is almost imperceptible.

Symptoms of Sleep Regression

Sleep regression is fairly easy to identify. Its symptoms are always sudden and prolonged. The behavior of the child changes and the regime shifts significantly. Symptoms of a possible regression at 21 months will most likely not be so pronounced. This is an atypical regression that all children are subjected to.

Consider the possible symptoms of 21 month sleep regression:

  • There are difficulties with laying down at night
  • Significantly reduced quality of night sleep
  • Deterioration of naps
  • Anxiety, irritability, increased tearfulness
  • Instability of appetite

Symptoms of sleep regression at this age should significantly worsen the general regime of the day. It will be noticeable to the parents and tangible to the baby. If regression occurred at 1 year and 9 months, then it may no longer be by 24 months.

You should not worry about the onset of regression, even though all of its symptoms are negative. This stage is passing and will not take a very long period.

Does Every Child Have Regression?

Almost every child experiences sleep regression. The intensity of the symptoms is different for everyone and depends on the individual ability of the baby to adapt. Sleep regression most often occurs at 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24 months. There are also intermediate sleep disorders that differ in slightly less pronounced symptoms.

Regression is not a disease or a deviation. This is a natural process that testifies to the growth and development of the baby. Its duration depends on how quickly the child gets used to the new conditions.

There are cases when parents do not observe signs of sleep regression in their child. This indicates good adaptive skills of the baby. He quickly adapts to sudden changes in development without significantly disturbing the regime.

Night and Nap Changes During 21 Month Sleep Regression

The total daily sleep that will allow the baby to fully restore his strength should be 12–13.5 hours. These are the norms for ages from 1.5 to 2 years. These indicators are significantly reduced with the possible beginning of regression.

The night rest of a child at 1 year and 9 months should be approximately 11 hours. Sleep should ideally be uninterrupted and restful. Sleeps most often become fragmented and very restless. The child may wake up frequently and find it difficult to return to sleep.

The duration of daytime sleep at 21 months should be from 1.5 to 2 hours. It doesn’t have to be one long sleep. You can divide this time if the baby is used to sleeping 2 times. Sleep regression can manifest itself in the fact that there will be a refusal of daytime sleep. The child will increasingly resist going to bed or postpone naps.

Shifts in the regime due to regression adversely affect the stability of the child’s rest. An accumulation of fatigue may occur.

Development Changes That Cause Sleep Regression at 21 Month

Sleep regression can be caused by sudden jumps in development time to a certain age. There are mostly no such jumps at 21 months. Some features of development can be noted. They can vary in the degree to affect the quality of sleep of the baby.

Consider the major developmental changes that can cause sleep regression at 21 months:

1. False nap rejection

This feature is typical for children aged from one and a half to two years. Mothers are noticing that their children are becoming increasingly resistant to daytime naps. They act up, throw tantrums, and prefer to stay awake longer.

False refusal of daytime sleep is the next stage of growing up as a child, both physical and emotional. The kid starts to protest if he doesn’t like something. He has his own opinion and his habits from which he is not ready to give up. This significantly impairs the daily routine and affects the overall quality of sleep.

2. Jump in physical activity

Children become very mobile after a year and a half. They run a lot, jump, and overcome all sorts of obstacles. Such activity requires rest and obligatory daytime sleep. Children at 21 months have good control over their bodies. They can simultaneously perform several movements, can play ball, confidently hold objects in their hands and manipulate them.

Physical activity without rest is fraught with the accumulation of fatigue, which can cause problems with falling asleep.

3. Active work of the brain

All the information received during the day must be processed by the brain during the night’s sleep. A large abundance of impressions, emotions, and knowledge significantly load the brain.

The formation of new neural connections requires a lot of effort and energy. The baby will have a very difficult night if he does not sleep during the day. Brain activity will not give stability to sleep and can provoke constant awakenings.

5. Nightmares

A baby at 21 months old may be disturbed by nightmares. This happens due to vivid impressions received during the day or from emotional overexcitation. The child receives a huge amount of information and experiences a lot of new feelings during the day.

Terrible dreams make the child’s rest restless. The baby may wake up screaming and crying, afraid to fall asleep again. This feature accompanies the child in different periods of his life and with different intensities.

5. Bright emotional palette

A child at this age experiences a wide range of emotions. The feelings of the baby are overflowing with various colors and not always positive. A child can change his mood several times within an hour.

Such emotional swings always greatly overload the child’s psyche. It is still extremely difficult for him to cope with his position. Many tantrums, tears, screams, crying and laughter – all these are integral companions of a child’s life for up to 3 or even 5 years.

The child begins to sleep restlessly, cries in his sleep, or laughs, having felt the whole palette of emotions during the day.

How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?

The duration of sleep regression is always relative. It is impossible to say exactly how long the sleep and daily routine will be disturbed. There are general norms according to which the regression period is within the framework of 2-4 weeks.

The regression is timed to coincide with the beginning of a sharp jump in growth and development. The end of this process is the complete adaptation of the child to new conditions and the development of new skills and abilities. How long the child will get used to his position depends on his adaptive abilities.

Sometimes the duration of regression exceeds 4 weeks. The conditionality of such a period is associated with concomitant complications: illness, a strong shift in the regime, and the presence of external factors.

How to Deal with 21 Month Sleep Regression

The manifestation of sleep regression at 21 months is most often not bright and is characterized by mild symptoms. It is worth helping the baby if he is very worried about these symptoms and the daily routine is significantly disturbed.

Keep calm

You always need to control yourself and remember who the adult here is. Significant sleep disturbances can adversely affect the overall family atmosphere. This period is temporary and will soon pass.

Try to train endurance and remain calm in all situations. Remember that a child at 21 months old can read and mirror any of your emotions and states. The baby will become more confident if you remain calm.

Relax with the child

All babies at 21 months should sleep during the day. Use this time for your relaxation and not for solving everyday problems. This will allow you to save resources and much easier to solve the problems that arise during a sleep regression.

Try to go to bed at the same time as your child. So your biorhythms will coincide as much as possible, and you will not experience fatigue during the period when the baby wants to be awake and needs attention.

Activity in the morning

Try to spend the first half of the day as actively as possible adjusting to the regime. The baby must spend enough energy for the first 6 hours of wakefulness to sleep well during the day. A strong and calm daytime sleep will unload the psyche and give strength for the rest of the day.

A child who sleeps well during the day will sleep well at night. Activity during the day contributes to the proper development and growth of the child.

Floating day mode

Do not insist on returning to the old regimen if it has shifted significantly during the regression period. Be more loyal and do not injure the baby. It is very difficult for him to adapt to the new conditions of his life. It is worth helping him with all his might.

Watch the biorhythms and habits of the child. Try to shift the schedule a little by putting a little earlier in the daytime sleep if he began to fall asleep late. Put your baby to bed as early as possible at night if he missed a nap during the day. Adjust to new circumstances with the baby and gradually establish an acceptable daily routine.

Stable sleeping conditions

Do not stop using techniques for falling asleep and rituals familiar to the child. Children are extremely conservative and everything that happens around them should be predictable to them. This gives them a sense of security and stability.

Keep the rituals and basic conditions for sleep: a clean and comfortable bed, a dark room, silence, and fresh air in the room.

Avoid Spontaneous Falling Asleep

The life position of all mothers is different. Not every woman is ready to sacrifice her activity for the sake of a born child and prefers to combine motherhood with her activities. Mothers often take their babies to work, to the store, and on trips.

This way of life leads to the fact that babies sleep during the day spontaneously, inconsistently, and in unusual conditions. Try to observe the “purity” of the child’s daytime sleep. This nap should be predominantly at home in his crib and a static position. Avoid sleeping in a stroller, car seat, or arms.

Don’t insist on falling asleep on his own

Many mothers at 21 months try to practice falling asleep with children on their own. It is better to postpone these practices in the period of regression if it has not been previously vaccinated.

It is already difficult for a child to cope with new conditions and he cannot deal with this on his own. Do not add problems to the child during the period of sleep regression. It is necessary to try to increase its adaptive abilities and not slow down with additional difficulties.

FAQ about 21 Month Sleep Regression

Q1: Must there be a sleep regression at this age?

A1: No, it is not required. Sleep regression can occur at any age. The most common regressions are 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24 months. Intermediate regressions are individual features or prolonged regressions of the designated ages.


Q2: Can the regression of 21 months be the beginning of the regression of 24 months?

A2: It all depends on the individual growth and development of the baby. It is also possible that the regression of 2 years began a little earlier. Most likely this will be an exception. This is most likely an intermediate regression or ordinary sleep disturbances associated with other circumstances.


Q3: How long can a 21 month sleep regression last?

A3: How long will the adaptation of the child take so much and there will be a regression. This process is not predictable. Build on how your baby has overcome previous sleep regressions.

Relative norms are set at 2-4 weeks. It is this period that is considered normal for getting used to new conditions.


Q4: Is it worth removing daytime sleep for the regression period to improve night sleep?

A4: You should not deprive a child of daytime sleep at 21 months. It is necessary to introduce a flexible mode of the day. Adjust to the child’s biorhythms, control the time of wakefulness, shift the schedule based on morning awakenings, and practice early bedtime.


Q5: The child began to wake up very often at night during the regression period, what should I do?

A5: Dose your baby’s communication in the evening. Separate active rest and mental activities. Do not overload your child with developmental activities before bedtime. Try to create stable conditions for sleep.

Practice soothing rituals before bed more often: a warm bath with essential oils and salt, a calm bedtime story, strokes, a lullaby. Be there always. Avoid overwork and the accumulation of negative emotions.

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