Sleep regressions are pretty common for a growing child. At 18 months, your little one may have surpassed three sleep regression periods already! He may now be sleeping soundly throughout the night (and on schedule too!), but as they transition into a toddler, they soon have to experience yet another sleep regression that is considered by most parents as one of the toughest of all.
Why is this happening?
At 18 months, their bodies are undergoing rapid changes that affect their mental and physical development. That’s why it’s quite understandable to have a sleep regression at this point because just like any other sleep regressions, their little minds are trying to comprehend every change they experience all the same time. Here are some notable growth spurts that can affect the way they sleep:
By this time, children typically have 4 canine teeth including some of their first molars. This may give them a terrible feeling of discomfort that prevents them from falling asleep easily.
They’re becoming more aware of their surroundings, and this includes your presence in the room. 18-month-olds tend to be clingy and want to be with you all the time. If they sleep in a different room as yours, then it will be difficult leaving them alone during bedtime.
Stronger desire for independence
Kids at this age now know how to feed themselves with a utensil, drink from a cup on their own, or even remove their own clothing. While this budding sense of independence is a great indication of their mental and physical growth, it can be a problem when it’s already bedtime. They may start protesting, and may not want to sleep at all.
How to deal with 18 Month Sleep Regression
As with all sleep regressions, this too shall pass. At this point, sleep training should be a norm for you as a parent, but you can still try different approaches such as the following. Keep in mind that this period is quite important, because any habit that you allow them to do at 18 months may last longer than the sleep regression itself, so try not to follow any routines you wouldn’t want them to continue.
Establish a bedtime routine.
Let them take a bath, brush their teeth, put on pajamas, read a bedtime story, or sing them a lullaby. These may sound like a lot of activities to do before bedtime, but these preparations condition them to think that it’s already bedtime and they’ll eventually have to fall asleep once they’re done. This way, they’ll fall asleep on their own.
Be consistent with their bedtime schedule.
By sticking to a schedule, you are training them how to be disciplined when it comes to bedtime and it makes it easier to return to normal once the sleep regression is over.
In case of tantrums, stay calm.
Get these naps in any way possible. You might need to require the car, stroller, or run them When it comes to sleep regressions, the only fussy person should be your child. If you model appropriate behaviors calmly, you allow your child to learn how to be calm as well and eventually agree to sleep.
If you made it past the 4-month and 7-month sleep regressions, then you can rest assured that you can make it through this one as well! This may be one of the hardest sleep regressions to deal with, but always keep in mind that consistency is key. Introduce bedtime routines that they can follow everyday, and steer clear from any bad habits that you don’t want to deal with in the long run.