How do you deal with the 18 month sleep regression?


Help! My 17.5 month old is going through what I think is the 18 month sleep regression. She has temper tantrums more often and during sleep times. She won’t let me lay her down (even though she has been able to self soothe since she was 5mos old) and she is up for hours at a time. I am pregnant and have a 3 year old as well so this makes for very long days. I would love any tips on how to get through this! We’ve never dealt with it this bad.

There are a lot of different ways to solve this type of problem. If you have a favorite intervention that you have used before, then you can use that again and your daughter should bounce back to normal (your intervention is your way of setting expectations for sleep and if she already understands what your actions mean, then it’s worth repeating a familiar intervention). The 18 month regression is a time when there is usually a bout of separation anxiety and transitions become very difficult for toddlers. You might start with just helping her manage transitions by layering what you do at bedtime. Try turning off the light before you leave and spend some time rubbing her back with the lights out. Then tell her that you’ll check on her as you leave and come back to “check” after just a few minutes. You might rub her back again and then leave and “check” again. When you interact with her go to “night mommy” mode, where you just repeat, “I love you, but it’s time to sleep.” Try not to engage or get angry, just gently tell her what you expect. It may take 3-4 days for her to adapt, but if you are very consistent, then it should work.

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    hello I have a 18 month old girl . she sleeps on her own , in her own bedroom. up to 18 month she was going fine. she has a routine since she was born. but now I think she has a sleep regression. usually ,at 23: 00, she starts to wake up she cries for us we enter the room she calms down and we leave. but this happens several times until she falls asleep. this pattern tooks 1-1,5 hour every night . I dont want to leave her alone cried out but also ı dont take her from her bed. ı just say it is night time sleep time, we all go to sleep till the morning comes. what else can I do?please help me…….

  2. Mary says:

    Hi there,
    Thanks for writing this – it is helpful. So my daughter literally just hit 18 months and is having napping and bedtime problems. We don’t have an established bedtime routine bc she has always been fine before. Recently, she screams uncontrollably when we put her down for bedtime to the point that she will not calm down. What do you recommend here? Also – I believe we have started a bad habit 😦 in the middle of the night we will bring her in our bed. Please let me know any advice you have… Thanks!

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