The 2 Year Sleep Regression & Fun Thanksgiving Playground Workout Video

Did you know there is a 2 year sleep regression? I didn’t thank god because it’s miserable. Luckily, we figured out what it was fast and nipped it in the bud.

The Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, our beloved blonde haired, blue eyed man child went to bed talking to himself for an hour. He then woke up crying about 2 hours later. We went in to check on him and realized nothing was wrong and after cuddling him and rocking him and reading him a story, we put him back in his crib. He was not happy.

He wailed for awhile and refused to go back to sleep. I assumed something must be wrong and went upstairs to save him. I took his temperature, it was normal. I couldn’t figure out what could be wrong and so we gave him baby tylenol. He wouldn’t stop crying so we let him watch a show which usually calms him down. Finally, Nick put him down around 11 pm and he fell asleep.

He then woke up again about 2.5 hours later! I went in to save him convinced he was in pain and he stopped crying immediately (which should have been a sign). I brought him into our bed and he could not get comfortable. He just wanted to watch a “show” again. We refused and he continued to so the worm as we tried to sleep. Finally, after not settling down for 2 hours, I put him back in his room and sadly he cried for an hour before falling asleep. This was one of the hardest 60 minutes of the past year as a parent for me.

Tommy slept in until 8 am thank goodness so he wasn’t a total zombie the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

We packed up the car to drive to Cape Cod to stay at my Mom’s for Thanksgiving Wednesday night and Tommy slept almost 3 hours straight in the car. It doesn’t take 3 hours to drive to the Cape but we had a few stops and a lot of traffic.

After waking up at 3 pm upon arrival, bed time at 7 pm was good to go in the new pack and play. Ours mysteriously vanished during a Tommy handoff between grandmas. We think it was left on the curb and either got stolen or thrown out as it was trash day. It was the BabyBjorn which is the best!!! We will never know what happened but this was a new(ish) Graco crib for T. He had slept in it once or twice before but not routinely.

He began to crawl out of pack and plays at the end of the summer and also learned how to open the doors in my mom’s house. We somehow forgot.

So Nick and I like the young, cool couple we are went to bed at 10 pm. All of a sudden at 11 I heard a faint cry and then a thud in the other room. I knew…

Next, I hear little feet pitter patter and then a door knob being jerked. I jumped out of bed and there he was on his way to come get us in our room. I, of course, brought him into our bed hoping he would fall asleep.

No luck.

Nick decided to try to sleep in the same room as him to keep an eye on him in the pack and play. After being put back in the pen, he climbed out in record time. Nick decided to attempt a few technique I’m going to leave off the blog to keep Tommy in his crib but he was not having any of it and neither was I so I brought Tommy in to sleep with me. He kicked me and wormed around for 3 hours but finally fell asleep and slept until 8 am once again.

My sister-in-law the next morning told me her son had a terrible time sleeping during the terrible twos. A few of you messaged me on Instagram to share your 3-week horror stories.



I can’t be up from midnight to 3 am for 3 weeks. I did some googling like “two year sleep regression cry it out?” because how else was this going to resolve fast???? There weren’t too many free solutions.

We had planned to stay in the cape Thursday night but opted to leave early so Tommy could sleep in his crib that he can’t get out of since we lowered the mattress to the floor (sort of).

Tommy fell asleep on the drive home at 6:30 pm, something we had assumed would happen so he was already in his pj’s. He transferred easily into his crib.

He woke up right on schedule around 11 pm and we let him cry. I know it sounds so heartless as I type but we knew it was the only way he would get a good night’s sleep. Sure enough he fell back asleep within 20-30 minutes and slept through the night.

The same thing happened the following night but the crying only lasted 10-15 minutes.

And now, he still wakes up between 9 and 11 pm after going down easily right at 7 pm but he falls back asleep shortly after. Every time it happens though, I get sick to my stomach thinking he will be awake for the next three hours.

I share all of this because I had no idea this was a thing!? I’m sharing this because while you may not believe in “cry it out”, I believe in my sanity and I can’t be up for 3 hours in the middle of the night for 3 weeks. It worked for us in 3 days. I’m hoping we are past the tough part but I’m prepared for it to come back with a vengeance.

family picture sarah fit

If you found a better remedy for this sleep regression, share it below in the comments.

As for our Thanksgiving, here is a cute little “playground workout” we shot the morning of… yes the one where I was on like 5 hours of sleep.

The 2 Year Sleep Regression & Fun Thanksgiving Playground Workout Video

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  • Alison

    Children get more opinionated and stubborn as they get older and try to test their limits in different ways. We had to let both our girls cry it out at various different points. My first figured out if she threw up we’d come get her. Thankfully she grew out of that. ???? My second child would climb out of her crib in the night so we got one of those door knobs she couldn’t turn ????.

  • Kheira

    Hi Sarah! Our daughter is 23 months and we experienced a rough few weeks about a month ago and then we’ve recently had a few nights of her waking up crying. We too found the best approach was to leaver her alone. After a few nights of us intervening and the entire house being awake multiple times a night we knew we were just causing more harm than good. We’ve found that if we leave her be she’ll usually fall back asleep in less than a minute, which is ultimately the best thing for her and us. It’s hard to hear her cry, especially when she’s calling for me but I just remind myself that she’s crying because she’s tired and awake -- she needs rest. We asked her pediatrician about the night wakings we experienced during the last rough patch and he said that when they are reaching a new developmental milestone or mastering a new skill they have increased brain activity and that can cause them to wake up at night. Which totally makes sense at this age when they are little sponges absorbing and trying ALL of the things!!

  • Briana Lucas

    I have 3 Kids. My first and second were great from the start. Did cry it out basically at 4 months and only a few hiccups here and there. Ffwd to my now 14 month old I’ve down cry it out w him 3-4 times. It always works within a couple of days. It’s not heartless. It’s necessary. Kids need sleep. Parents need slee. I’ll take 3-4 days of crying for 60 min over a lifetime of not sleeping because it’s “hard to hear them cry”. Kids will test limits and the more you give in the more they will push. That’s the parenting part of parenting. I personally am a huge believer in cry it out and sounds like you made the right choice. Hoping for easier nights for you on the days and weeks and years ahead! Good luck mama. You got this!

  • Mouna

    We are totally going through this 2 year regression too. We are letting him cry it out and he usually cries when we leave the room on and off for 10 minutes before he gets all chatty in the crib and eventually falls asleep, but man it is hard to hear the initial screams as soon as I walk out of the door. I hope this ends soon!!! He used to fall asleep so easily!

  • Donovan

    My wife and received a book at our baby shower titled “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”. The author is a doctor who researched sleep patterns of thousands of kids from infant to adolescent, and provides recommendations for how t exncourage roper and restful sleep. It worked so well for our child that we have bought the book many times for each new parent in our circle of friends and family. It’s not a “one-size fits all” approach. It does lay out factual evidence of how sleep patterns change from one age to the next. Good luck!

    • Sarah

      No! We let him cry it out and it wasn’t bad at all! It creeps up on you though and scares you because you think something is seriously wrong but they are fine!

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