Please know, sleep regressions are temporary and typically last a few days to a couple weeks. The best way to move through a sleep regression with minimal disruption is to be consistent with your approach to sleep. So if you’re seeing some changes in your toddler’s sleep, stick with (or work on) healthy sleep habits.
Why is my 21 month old having more tantrums at nap time or bedtime?#
You’re not alone if you’re seeing more tantrums from your 21 month old. I understand how tough this can be, and I want to help. First, let’s talk about the reasons why your 21 month old has recently started protesting naps and bedtime:
1. Developmental progression#
Your 21 month old is developing a greater understanding of cause and effect. This can look like testing boundaries and throwing tantrums. I know this can be hard, but keep in mind that testing boundaries and pushing limits is a normal (and necessary) part of toddler development!
2. Big changes#
Any time your toddler experiences a big change, sleep can be impacted. If your toddler is starting daycare, expecting a new sibling, or experiencing separation anxiety, you may see more protesting around sleep.
3. Struggles with transitions#
Transitions can be hard for some toddlers (and adults too!). They don’t want to miss out on anything! Having a consistent routine for naps and bedtime can help. (Bonus Tip: consider introducing a visual timer or bedtime chart if your toddler has a hard time with transitions).
4. Daytime routine #
Your little one’s wake windows during the day can affect naps and bedtime. On days where your little one’s nap was short or refused, your 21 month old may be overtired at bedtime. On the other hand, if they’re on the lower end of the age-appropriate wake window range, they may not be tired enough at bedtime. If your toddler is overtired or undertired, they may protest or stall at nap time or bedtime.
5. Increased independence #
At this age, toddlers have a strong desire to influence the world around them. Offering age-appropriate choices will help give your toddler a sense of control. If they are in charge of decisions they can control, they’re less likely to protest around things they can’t control (like when it’s time to go to bed).
If your 21 month old is struggling with sleep, my 5-24 Month Collection is a holistic plan that is fully-customizable to meet your family’s goals. I’ll give you a step-by-step plan for consolidated nights, solid naps, and all the bumps along the way while remaining emotionally connected through the whole process.
Still have a 20 month old? Check out 20 month old sleep schedules.