There are so many fun things about having a toddler: playing games together, witnessing imagination at work, and watching your little one discover the world around her, to name a few. However, there are also challenges that come with toddlerhood as well. It's at this age that your little one is seeking independence and flexing her stubborn muscles. This can create a new power struggle at transition times, especially those involving sleep, like naps and bedtime. Even though she doesn't need as much sleep, it's still crucial for development. But can toddlers do cry it out, or has that opportunity expired?
Most parents start sleep training when their child is a baby and even if you found the right solution for your infant, things can change as your child grows. Now that she's reached this new phase, your toddler could start to experience sleep regressions or other changes in behavior that warrant a second round of nighttime routines, according to the Baby Sleep Site. Some parents struggle with using the cry it out method when their babies are younger but may be more open to the approach once their child has reached the toddler years. But is it still effective?
The cry it out method has different variations and can be customized to meet the comfort level of the parents as well as the temperament of the child. While some families feel more at ease with a fading method that involves minimal crying, others commit to allowing their child to cry until they fall asleep. As Today's Parent explained, allowing toddlers to cry until extinction may be most effective since it's at this age they are more aware of ways to communicate with and manipulate their parents.
Of course, this doesn't mean there is only one way to get things done. At this age, you can attempt to avoid major crying spells by creating a pre-sleep routine and tiring your toddler out before it's time to hit the sack, as Healthline explained. While this may not eliminate all tears, it could mean less intense crying for shorter periods of time, or make it easier for a child to be soothed intermittently by the parent.
As What To Expect pointed out, no matter the age, the cry it out method can be hard on parents. So keep in mind the personality of your toddler and your own comfort level with allowing her to cry before giving this a shot. If this approach is not right for you, explore other options for sleep training your child to find what feels like the best fit.