As your toddler reaches the 18-month mark, you’re likely witnessing a whirlwind of physical, cognitive, and emotional growth. With these exciting milestones comes the 18-month sleep regression—a phase that can disrupt your little one’s sleep patterns. But fear not, in this blog, we’ll navigate through the challenges caused by physical milestones, cognitive leaps, feeding changes, and schedule adjustments during this regression. We’ll also provide practical strategies to ensure everyone gets the sleep they need.
Growth and development don’t happen on a fixed timeline. Recurrent sleep issues can happen throughout your little one’s early years depending on what they’re learning and practicing. If your little one’s ease and quality of sleep have suddenly declined, they might be experiencing the 18-month sleep regression.
The degree to which sleep disruptions due to developmental growth impact your family can depend on your little one’s temperament, and also on your routines and responses. Generally, signs of regression include fighting sleep at naps and bedtime, increased night waking, early rising, and nap troubles. However, keep in mind that even during these times, your child has not regressed in their ability to sleep, they are just going through a period of intense growth or learning that is impacting their (and your) sleep. Let’s take a closer look at some of the developmental factors that can influence sleep patterns between 14-18 months of age.
By 18 months, your toddler has likely mastered walking and is now exploring running and climbing.
Your 18-month-old is busy exploring their world, testing boundaries, and seeking more autonomy. They may venture away from you during the day but seek reassurance at night after being apart.
Additionally, they might start stringing words together into 3-word sentences, marking another language milestone. While exciting, this new ability may lead to frustration and tantrums as they struggle to express themselves verbally.
In addition to the physical, cognitive, and emotional milestones that are common in the 14-18 month range, your little one may also be getting their first molars. Teething and newfound independence can lead to variations in eating habits. Picky eating is a normal phase during toddlerhood, where your role is to offer a variety of healthy foods while allowing your child to make choices.
As the 18-month sleep regression unfolds, your child may still be transitioning from 2 naps to 1 nap. Most toddlers have successfully made this transition by 18 months, and continuing with 2 naps can lead to late bedtimes and restlessness.
Most sleep regressions last 2-6 weeks, however, the duration can be affected by your little one’s temperament, and also by your routines and responses to their sleep challenges. While managing sleep challenges during this time, remember that sleep associations can impact your child’s sleep patterns and turn a temporary phase into a long-term problem.
At Batelle, we understand that parenthood is a journey filled with remarkable growth and discovery, not just for your child, but for you as a parent.
With Batelle, you’re not just addressing parenting challenges; you’re building a foundation for your child’s emotional well-being and resilience. Our tailored strategies for toddlers, combined with our comprehensive support and education through our app, can help you take bedtime from a struggle to a dream.