How To Handle My 18 Month Old’s Screaming Fits At Night

Babies are indeed a blessing, but one problem that many parents face at their early stages are when they scream at night and wake everyone in the house up. Sleep-deprived parents who just want a full night’s rest are quite common. 

However, you think it would go away with time, especially at 18 months. Your baby is a year and a half, so you figure they could sleep more independently. However, at 18 months, there may be a problem. This is known as the 18-month sleep regression. What is that? Let’s find out. 


Sleep Regression

As your baby grows, their sleeping patterns as well. However, it’s not a straight line in evolution. Sometimes, it can take some steps forward, and then some steps back. This is known as sleep regression. 

Sleep regression is when a toddler who was sleeping fine at first suddenly doesn’t want to. They may wake up and cry, will wake up frequently, or just not fall back asleep. 

This is because a toddler’s brain is developing, and sometimes, this can affect how a baby sleeps. Your baby’s sleep schedule may reboot, disrupting their sleep and leading to some unhappy toddlers and even more unhappy parents. Sleep regressions can be due to other factors as well, such as stress, teething, a routine change, travel, and sickness. 


Sleep is important to a toddler. At that age, the brain is growing, and by not sleeping, it can cause them growth problem. A toddler may sleep up to 14 hours a day. Not getting enough sleep may cause behavior troubles and mental health problems. 

When does it end? It all depends on the child. Some sleep regressions end a few days to a few weeks after it becomes a problem. The time it ends can depend on the person, and how you handle it. If you handle it ASAP, you can reduce the amount of time it takes for your child to end sleep regression. 

Handling Sleep Regression

If a toddler wakes up in the middle of the night and is throwing a fit, here’s what you can do. 

  • Keep A Wind-Down Routine

Winding down is always important when you’re trying to get your toddler to sleep. Give them a nice, relaxing bath before bedtime. Listen to some relaxing music with your toddler. Don’t eat too much before bedtime.

  • Keep Calm 

This can be hard for some parents to do. You’re sleep-deprived, so you’re not your most rational. It’s easy to lose your temper and snap on the child, but that’s not something you should do. Instead, you should keep calm and try to comfort your child. Tell your child that everything is going to be okay, and try to rock them back to sleep. 

  • Get Your Toddler Up A Little Bit 

If your toddler keeps trying to fall asleep on the bed, they may start associating the bed with being awake. If your toddler can’t sleep, let them up around the house for a little bit and do some activities that keep them calm. Then, return them to the bed when they are tired again, and repeat if needed.

  • Try Co-Sleeping

This is when the parents sleep with the toddler. A toddler being close to their parents may be able to help them sleep better at night. With that said, you do want to make sure this isn’t a habit. Sometimes, a toddler won’t want to sleep in their own bed ever again. However, they may often return to their bed soon.

  • Keep A Consistent Bedtime Routine

Being consistent is always a good thing. With both adults and kids, having a consistent bedtime routine can help fix your body’s internal clock. We know that sometimes you may go to bed a little earlier or later depending on the circumstances, but try to be as consistent as possible. This can help fix your child’s sleep schedule quite well. 

  • Avoid Screens Too Close To Bedtime 

If your toddler is watching TV or playing on a tablet too close to bedtime, this may be a problem, especially if you don’t have any blue light filters. Many people are having a hard time going to bed because of screens. The dopamine rush these can bring can keep you up at night. Try limiting the usage a few hours before bed. 

  • Talk To A Counselor Or Therapist

If you’re still at a loss as to what you can do for your child, a sleep counselor or therapist may be able to help. There may be problems in your routine that causes your child to not be able to fall asleep. There may be problems in the child as well. Sometimes, your child may have a disorder or mental health problem preventing them from sleeping. Odds are, that’s not the case and they’re experiencing a normal part of toddlerhood, but as they say, better safe than sorry. 

When To Go To A Doctor 

It’s important to go to a doctor if the problem persists even without troubleshooting. Many toddlers may have sleep disorders when they grow older, and it’s important to nip it in the bud as it’s happening. A doctor may be able to help give your toddler some medicine to wind them down that’s non-habit-forming and can keep them sleep well through the night. The doctor can also help rule out any sleep disorders the toddler can have. 

This way, they can return to getting a great night’s sleep without having to worry about insomnia and all that jazz.

Insomnia and other sleep disorders are common, and they may start at a young age. By ruling them out, you can make sure that your toddler doesn’t develop one as they grow older. 



It can be very frustrating dealing with a toddler who can’t sleep, but keep your cool. You will soon be on your way to better sleep and having a better time. Just make sure your toddler keeps sleeping well. 


DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a

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