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Behavioral Regression at 28 months

I am that mom that is fascinated with developmental milestones and reading the science of what’s happening to our babies as they learn. The Wonder Weeks book is such a great read (see my book review here), and I was astounded by the predictability of it. Unfortunately, the Wonder Weeks book stops it’s known age predictable developmental milestones at the age of 20 months. Obviously, developmental leaps still occur after this point. And, it should come as no surprise to us that, these developmental leaps cause some behavioral shifts in our children when they are happening. Toddlers are learning so much all at once, and their worlds simply keep expanding and surprising them. As they take in new knowledge and learn new skills, their behaviors and sleep can be impacted. I always like to take note of when shifts like this happen, what skills are currently being learned, and what the regression is presenting itself as (sleep or behavioral changes).

This blog allows me to kind of create my own book about our personal experiences. It is so helpful to look back on them. The regressions typically last for about 1-2 weeks (similar in length to the leaps that are listed in the Wonder Weeks book). Just about the time I start getting worried about how long this is going to go on, and I finally break down and write a blog about our “regression“, the behavior stops and our little Caroline goes back to her usual self. I am secretly hoping that the act of me writing this snaps her back to normal! LOL

When: Caroline turned 28 months old yesterday. It has been about a week of this behavior.

Skills: Caroline’s speech development has turned from simply talking to having conversations. Instead of just talking at me, she is engaged and answering questions, asking me questions, etc. She comes home from school and tells me all about her day “the playground was wet, so we went for a walk instead”. She remembers what we did during the day and is able to tell Daddy when he gets home. She asks how I am doing, and offers me tiny blueberries since she knows I like those more than the big squashy ones. She’s becoming aware of people’s feelings, and is excited to be a big girl. Everything she talks about relates to how “big” she is and she is so proud of herself! “I get a big girl plate because I’m a big girl!”.

The regression: 

– Not listening: This is the big one! She is usually a great listener. She says “Yes, Mama”, and does what I ask. Not anymore! She is literally running away from me. She covers her face and closes her eyes. She tells me “no thank you” (at least she’s polite?), and she refuses to do what I ask. This is very unlike her.

– Whining instead of talking: She’s doing a lot of whining lately. Also a lot of saying “I want ___”. Enough said LOL!

– Frustration: She’s getting frustrated very quickly if something doesn’t work, and just giving up and demanding help.

What we are doing:

– Independent play: Providing her with more room time and independent play ALWAYS helps her! She was eager to do room time this week (it’s been awhile since we’ve done it). She’s always more cheerful and gets back on track when she has her independent play time.

– Reminders: Instead of saying “Caroline it’s time to brush your teeth” (which never used to be a problem), we are now saying “Caroline in a few minutes I’m going to come tell you it’s time to brush your teeth. When I do, I want you to say ‘Yes, Mama’, and walk into the bathroom”. I also get a “Yes, Mama” from her after my above statement. This is proving to help out a lot!

– More sleep: A cranky child is either tired or hungry or both from my experience. Caroline eats more during these “leaps”, and she also needs more sleep. She takes longer to fall asleep, however, because her little brain is going a mile a minute and she is up talking to her stuffed animal “friends”. So, bedtime is earlier again. We haven’t officially changed her bedtime clock, but we make it turn blue earlier just by observing her cues. We also offer rest time in her bed. I note if it seems like she “can’t handle being awake right now”, and ask if she’d like to go rest in bed. She readily takes us up on this offer!

– Better enforcing consequences: I’m trying to be better about not only reminding, but asking one time. If she doesn’t listen, there are consequences that are logical and make sense to her. Last night she refused to brush her teeth. So, the consequence was no bedtime routine (no story, no tucking in). We put her in her pull up and she went to bed immediately. The consequences can be hard to come up with at times, but we are trying to be consistent and firm.

Update: Hopefully I’ll be back with one soon! I am guessing this phase is ending soon since it’s been a good week already.

Other Posts of Interest:

Regressions Page

Leaps and Milestones Page

“Look At Mama, Please”

What Are Sleep Regressions & Why They Happen

My Tot Clock

Something’s Gotta Give (5 months old and refusing the catnap)

Solving the Mystery of Random Middle of the Night Wakings

I’ve Been Waiting for this Sleep Disturbance

18 Month Sleep Regression- Troubleshooting

18 Month Sleep Regression- Why and What to do

Problem Solving the 2 Year Sleep Regression (22nd Month Hurdles)

“I Need Mama” Troubleshooting Sudden Tantrums and Sleep Issues (25 months)

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