19 Month Sleep Regression: What to Know

19 Month Sleep Regression Tips

By the time a child is 19 months old, most parents are starting to feel good because they believe the sleep training period is over. If you’re like most parents, it was a difficult process that took a lot of patience, but you’re happy it’s over. Just when you’re getting excited about sleeping through the night and waking up feeling refreshed, you start to notice that your little one is reverting back to sleep patterns from months ago. It’s called sleep regression and it can happen at 19 months.

By the age of 19 months, sleep regression can become a difficult experience because it tends to be a lot more dramatic than in earlier months. There’s a good chance that your little one will completely rebel and absolutely refuse to go to sleep. This might include long periods of crying, coupled with even longer periods of staying awake in the middle of the night for reasons you cannot seem to understand. This is an issue that has left many parents confused and unable to comprehend what’s happening. The idea of sleep regression is one of those topics that doesn’t get discussed a lot so you don’t really understand what’s going on when it occurs.

Yes, it’s normal.

The first thing you need to know is that sleep regression at 19 months is completely normal. It’s something that is a natural part of your child’s development. When a child is maturing, their sleep patterns will constantly change and sometimes that change is a regression. It’s an issue that most parents encounter and something that shouldn’t cause you any concern. It’s also important to understand that sleep regression at 19 months probably isn’t the last time you’ll experience a change in your child’s sleep patterns.

When a 19 month sleep regression occurs, you’ll probably want to find a solution right away. Fortunately, you don’t have to just deal with it until the problem goes away. You can actually take action to help your child sleep more restfully sooner than later. Let’s take a closer look at the 19 month sleep regression, including how you can respond.

Understanding the 19 Month Sleep Regression

Your child is experiencing a lot of different changes at the age of 19 months. It’s the reason why sleep regression occurs. For instance, there are likely issues with teething and even the changes that take place when a child is going to daycare. There’s also the issue of going from a crib to a kid’s bed, which can be a major contributing factor when it comes to how your child sleeps.

Many experts believe that the main reason why sleep regression happens at 19 months is because your child is starting to feel independent. They believe it’s a way in which children engage in a sleep strike as they start to test the boundaries of their independence. This isn’t a bad thing and it’s something that happens often when children reach 19 months of age. As with many stages and phases in your child’s development, it’s important to understand that this nighttime standoff is a common occurrence.

What often happens during this timeframe is your little one will start to resist many routines that were once met with compliance. What would usually take just a few minutes will start to time much longer. For instance, if your child used to go to sleep during naptime without much effort, there’s a good chance that naptime will be spent having fun. In fact, your toddler will actively try to stay awake. When your child doesn’t go to sleep during naptime, it can result in problems at night and exacerbate the issue of sleep regression at 19 months.

Responding During a 19 Month Sleep Regression

There are many ways to overcome a 19 month sleep regression. For starters, you need to understand that being consistent will be the most important thing you can do. This means you’ll need to make sure all activities and routines are routine so that your toddler will develop a natural rhythm for sleep time. It’s also important to be efficient because spending too much time on any single step in your routine can become disruptive and result in your child getting distracted. For instance, bath time should occur during the same time of day, every single day without fail.

Activities before bedtime should never be anything that’s long and drawn out. If you choose to read a book to your little one, it should be short, just like all other processes before bedtime. While your toddler cannot possibly know what time of day it is, there is a recognition of what’s coming next based on the sequence of events. By keeping the sequence of events short, your child will start to fall in line with what’s supposed to happen next based on what has preceded sleep in days past.

Establishing a Sleep Routine at 19 Months

It’s important to decide on a sleep routine for your 19 month old and stick to it. The routine that works for your little one might not be the same routine that works for others. A basic and common sleep routine for a 19 month old will often include taking a bath, putting on pajamas, enjoying a book and then turning out the lights before wishing your toddler a good night sleep. Whether you choose to add a different element to this routine or subtract from it, you’ll need to be consistent. For instance, some parents choose to sing a lullaby. If you choose to do so, just remember to be consistent. Your child will notice patterns.

Even if you feel your child resisting the routine, you’ll need to stick with it. In fact, it wouldn’t be outside of the norm if your 19 month old wakes up at night when you’re taking steps to overcome a 19 month sleep regression. Whether they wake up once or multiple times during the night, it’s important to let them go back to sleep. This means your child should be able to go back to sleep independently without your help. If that’s something that your toddler is not yet able to do, you might consider getting the help of a sleep consultant. You should also consider the additional tips below.

Sleep Training Tips for Your 19 Month Old

If your little one starts waking up in the middle of the night during a 19 month sleep regression, you can first wait for a little while to see what happens. There’s a good chance that your child will go back to sleep without your assistance. You can check in periodically to see what’s happening. If you think it’s necessary, you can provide a little support by reassuring your little one with back rubbing. Another soothing technique is using your voice to reassure your child that everything is okay. The combination of the back rubbing and your soothing voice will often get the job done.

You might be tempted to let your child sleep in your bed during a 19 month sleep regression, but that’s not usually advised. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your child’s side, you can sit in a chair nearby until your child is able to learn sleep independence and go back to sleep without your help. If you choose to sit in a chair near your child, there will be a point when that’s no longer needed. This is a technique that has been used successfully for many decades during a 19 month sleep regression. Just keep in mind that any technique you try is something that is a short-term solution and should resolve the issue of sleep regression in a relatively short period of time.

Helpful Reminders During a 19 Month Sleep Regression

  • During a 19 month sleep regression, make sure activities that take place just before bedtime are not counterproductive. For instance, you should avoid screen time at least a full hour before your child’s normal bedtime. The same applies to other activities that would cause your child to feel energized.
  • The use of transitional sleep items are popular because they work. This might be a blanket, stuffed animal or some other object that helps your little on fall asleep. Whatever you choose to use, just make sure it’s consistent.
  • It’s fine to comfort your little one before bedtime in whatever way has worked in the past when they wake up in the middle of the night. However, you want to minimize the frequency so that your child doesn’t become reliant on that activity. For instance, you should minimize the amount of time you spend holding your child at night during a 19 month sleep regression because they can become dependent on being held and unwilling to go to sleep otherwise.

Conclusion

All of these tips for handling a 19 month sleep regression can help to get your little one back on track. Just remember that what you’re experiencing is normal. If you continue to have issues and you start to become concerned, you should always consult with your child’s doctor.

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