Toddler Sleep Regression

18 (and 24) month old Sleep Regression

Everything goes quite smooth and then all of a sudden your toddler screams bloody murder at bedtime and makes sounds at night that could wake up the entire neighboorhood… What the hack is going on, you probably think. What could be causing your toddler (sudden) sleep issues? Could this be an ear infection? Is he overstimulated from daycare? Is he experiencing nightmares or seperation anxiety? Or is it the 18/24 month sleep regression?

It could truly be any of the above. But it could also be the 18 months or 24 month sleep regression.

What are the signs of a Sleep Regression?

  • Resistance to Sleep
  • Waking at night
  • Shorter naps
  • Changes in behavior and or appetite

Luckily a sleep regression is a temporary change, that can last between two to six weeks. Most of the time, your child will fall asleep peacefully at bedtime and starts to sleep through the night again once the cause of the sleep regression has stabilized.

How Many Hours of Sleep Should an 18-Month-Old Get?

An18 months old needs an average of 2,5 hours of daytime and 11 hours of night time sleep. Most 18-month-olds will be taking a single afternoon nap. If you have a 2 year old, he needs 2 hours a day vs 11 at night. Most toddlers are sleeping once a day at this age or are in the transition phase of two to one nap, this  could be causing some disruption as well.

What Causes a Sleep Regression at 18 Months?

Your child has been developing rapidly in the first 18 months leading to him mastering all new skills. He by now knows he is part of a bigger world and and he understands that with his behaviour he can influence and control responses and outcomes. He loves his increased independence. Having said this, you might understand you are no longer dealing with a simple sleep regression, but with a little person who can choose to refuse to sleep. That’s right. Some children will consciously refuse sleep. It’s a control issue. Thankfully, this is temporary.

5 Tips to Help You Survive

  • Stick to your daily routines and time schedule as much a spossible. If you have a very independent and tempered little one, they’re going to test, and that’s okay. Understand that there are going to be some long days and long nights.
  • Make sure that your toddler sleeps as much as possible during the day. You may have to rely on the car or stroller but do your best to ensure that your toddler is getting some sleep in. When he becomes overtired, bedtime and nights suffer even more.
  • Communicate with your toddler. Try to give simple instructions and set boundaries with him to help him feel safe.
  • Understand this is temporary. That thought alone may save your sanity when your child is screaming and refusing to nap.


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