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Tricky Times and Sweet Spots.

In the first 2 and a half years of a baby’s life there are going to be many ebbs and flows in their development and behaviour, which impacts sleep for everyone involved. 

We call these times of increased challenge “tricky times” and smoother days the “sweet spots”. Tricky times can include the second night of a baby’s life the first 3 months out of the womb (their fourth trimester) or any times of illness or change (travel, house move, welcoming a new sibling) that will upset a baby’s world and routine. 

Conversely , a “sweet spot” would include periods of development where a baby is working on skills that make him or her relatively more easy and adaptable and less prone to serious separation anxiety. (Lewis and Granic, 2011.

Tricky Times: 

*Night 2 and the whole fourth trimester (0 to 3 months).

*4 months: the baby is just waking up; coming out of his fourth trimester 

*9 months: this is a time of heightened separation anxiety as the baby becomes more of a social being and starts to cruise, seeing the world from a different vantage point.

*18 months: linguistic skills and socialness are dramatically improved which can result in a lot of pre bed chattiness. This is a very heightened state of separation distress so it is not a good time for making changes. 

Make sure your toddler’s emotional tank is full and that they have enough exercise during the day.

*24 months: toddler may begin power struggles as they are becoming their own person. Use playfulness and positivity to gain cooperation. Nap strikes can happen at this age. Routines and visuals to show ‘what happens when?’ help.

Sweet spots:

6 – 7.5 months: separation anxiety is relatively low and baby’s memory works in such a way that what is out of sight is out of mind. The baby is really focused on motor skill development and less on the social world.

12-16 months: The love affair with the world! Another motor skill window, cruising is now mastered and walking is being refined. Baby’s focus is more physical and less social. 

27 months: The toddler is generally more secure with person permanence now and knows that the parent will come back when they go. 

However separation will probably still be challenging for a few years to come!

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