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Surviving Toddler Sleep Regressions: A Guide for Rest-Deprived Parents

Surviving toddler sleep regressions

If you’re not already aware, your child is going to go through multiple sleep regressions throughout the first couple of years.

What is a sleep regression? A sleep regression is when your child had been sleeping well, then all of a sudden they are struggling to sleep.

Sleep regressions often coincide with major developmental milestones.

What age can you expect your child to go through sleep regressions?

  • 4 months

  • 6 months

  • 9 months

  • 12 months

  • 18 months

  • and between 2-2.5 years old.

Toddlers may not be learning as many physical skills as before, but they are learning a lot more verbal & cognitive skills. In this blog, we are going to focus on the toddler age sleep regressions.

What are developmental milestones: Developmental milestones are physical or behavioral signs of development of infants and children. And what developmental milestones are toddlers experiencing at these ages?

  • 12 months: begin to say one word, stand on their own, may be able to take a couple of steps on their own, waves bye bye, may drink from a cup, hands object to someone, and more,

  • 18 months: walking on their own, can say 8+ words, scribbles, can get in and out of a chair, holds a spoon, shows more independence, plays peekaboo, and increased temper tantrums due to frustration of not being able to express what they want to say.

  • 2-2.5 years: talking, walking, jumping, running, climbing, sort shapes and colors, uses 2-3 word sentences, and may show signs of toilet readiness.

While learning all of these new skills, the brain is able to retain new information while you sleep. The brain retains the information and then processes it so you can continue to remember and perform said skill/action. However, during a sleep regression, the brain is working overtime when learning new skills.

Therefore, a sleep regression and/or developmental milestone can affect sleep due to the brain working overtime during the day and can’t switch off when it's time to sleep. Have you ever experienced this as an adult? Your brain is on overdrive and it just won't shut off at night, and therefore you can't sleep. Same thing happens to your toddler!

If your toddler is not getting the recommended amount of sleep, it takes longer to learn the skills because the brain isn’t able to process and retain as well as when it's getting the needed sleep to work efficiently.

Don’t be alarmed! This is all natural! This also explains why when children learn new skills, it takes a few days/weeks/months to be able to do said skill. That is why sleep is affected for weeks as well.

So how do you stay on top of a sleep regression? Follow these important steps:

  • Ideal sleep environment

  • Age appropriate daytime AND nighttime schedule

  • Stay as consistent as possible with a routine and daily schedule

  • Put your toddler to sleep the same way every time (including bedtime, middle of the night, early mornings, and naps)

  • DO NOT add in a bunch of desperate additions to the routine in order to help them fall asleep

  • DO NOT add in anything that you don’t want to become a new habit if they weren’t already needing it to fall asleep (i.e. feeding/motion to sleep, co-sleeping if didn’t do it before, etc)

  • Give yourself grace!

Remember these two facts about sleep regressions:

  1. They last roughly 2+ weeks and,

  2. Are developmentally appropriate & normal & natural.

So if your child’s sleep habits have changed and they are not sleeping well for more than 2 weeks, it may be time to get 1:1 sleep support.

Toddler sleep consultant

Hi 👋 I’m Anna and I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a sleep consultant specializing in toddler sleep in East Tennessee and all over the US. My family (hubby, 3 kids, and our dog) just moved here from Ohio and we have had our fare share of sleep struggles this summer due to traveling and all the life changes.

I’m here to tell you that we CAN improve your toddler’s sleep, from my personal and professional experiences. You don’t have to do the research anymore or try to guess if your child needs more or less sleep.

My families go from:

  • Endless bedtime battles

  • Constant wake ups at night

  • Exhausting early mornings

  • Toddler negotiations

  • Nap protesting


  • Peaceful & enjoyable bedtimes

  • Longer stretches of nighttime sleep

  • Sleeping through the night

  • Parents getting their evenings back

  • Champion napper

In as little as 1-3 weeks! Are you ready to get those same results for your family? Schedule a free call to go over my Toddler Sleep Solutions program, and so I can learn more about you and your little one!

*My Toddler Sleep Solutions program is an investment of $899. Learn more here! Wondering what other families have experienced after working with me? Read before + after stories HERE!

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