Is this you? “Not again…Not. Again”. First it was the 4 month sleep regression, then the 8, 9, and/10 month sleep regressions, now another one?? Yep, so sorry but it’s true. The worst of the worst, the 18 month sleep regression. Knowing that this is the last (proven) regression, does that make you feel better? No? Not really? Ok. But like last time let me help you through it!
Oh, but there is one thing about this regression that is different than the others…it is totally behavioural! Yep, this is not because your tot does not know how to sleep, it’s because they know that they can push the limits and still get what they want (like bottle, sleep in your bed, rocked to sleep, etc.).
At this age, your tot is naturally curious, but all of that curiosity appears to show itself at bedtime, maybe with climbing out of the crib, jumping, singing or the old trick of screaming a screeching song. So here we go, just like the other regressions – I will help you get through this:
Set your limits and stick to them. Toddlers naturally will test the limits, usually to get a reaction out of mom and/or dad. If you let them take an inch, you betcha’ they will take an extra mile! Stand your ground, you are the rule-maker and they are the (soon-to-be) rule follower.
Stay consistent with the message:
Without consistency there will not be change! If you crack, even once with that bottle, rocks, or co-sleep, it makes it just that much harder to make the transition. Gear yourself up and have your partner tag up/take breaks when needed. Plus, consistency provides your child the knowledge of what to expect next…
Stay consistent with the schedule:
Keep the quiet and calming bedtime routine to prepare for sleep. But if it takes your tot 2 hrs to fall asleep at naptime or bedtime, this does not mean that they get that extra time to “sleep in”. It is sooo important to stay on schedule, you may have a few days of tired, grumpy kids, but once they catch up; it’s all gravy!
DO NOT move them out of the crib:
Because of their new found climbing talent, this does not warrant a move. I will promise you one thing…if you move your tot, you are only asking for more problems. If they are climbing, try using a sleep sac (even backwards if they are zipper savvy), or turn the crib around (if the back is higher), remove anything in the crib that could be used as leverage, like a stuffed animal, pillow or crib entertainment, and lastly, use your “be firm” technique.
Wait it out:
Change does not happen overnight. When you see even the slightest improvement (with your method) – celebrate. In the morning, walk in with a huge smile on your face and open up those blinds happily and praise the socks right off your tot! Because we know how much kids want our positive attention! It may feel like forever, but with a consistent message, this 18 month sleep regression will be over before you know it.
Ask for help from a sleep professional:
This is not my first rodeo. I have experience with toddlers and school aged kiddos. Like mentioned before, it may take some time. I will support you with different tricks and tips if this regression seems to be too much. I want to support YOU during this regression transition!
You can do this!!