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12 month progression

Updated: May 25, 2021

Sleep can become quite disrupted around your little ones first birthday and often parents take this as a sign that their child is ready to drop to one nap.


However, I strongly recommend you persist with both the morning and midday nap as it is very uncommon for children so young to only need one day time sleep. Most children won't drop to one nap until somewhere between 15-18 months of age. Keep consistent and patient and it will return! If we do drop to one nap too early it can lead to a very overtired baby; resulting in numerous overnight wakes, early starts and nap refusals. Continue to offer both naps and leave your baby in their rooms for the nap duration - even if they are just having some quiet time until the nap returns; you can both have a break!



Around 12 months of age we will also see a big change in their physical development. Often kids are now standing and walking along furniture or learning to walk unassisted. Their communication will also be progressing and they will let you know exactly what they want rather loudly!


You might also notice new skills developing like pointing at objects, waving goodbye and high fives – all signs that their gross and fine motor skills are changing in leaps and bounds. It’s also an age where your toddler can become incredibly frustrated. They know what they mean and what they want, but can’t quite communicate this to you – argh how frustrating!


This can all impact their sleep and some toddlers sleep may be disrupted as a result. They might struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep for long as they have a fear of missing out and their little minds are working in overdrive; thinking, babbling and being inquisitive. I suggest incorporating some quiet time before dinner and pre-sleep. Have some stories, do a puzzle or a quiet activity just to switch off their busy minds before sleep time.


What happens around 12 months developmentally?


  1. Social development – waving, high fives, lots of smiling and recognising new and known faces

  2. Physical development – pulling themselves up on furniture, walking with a trolley or some might even be walking unaided

  3. Language development – starting to say a few words, recognise their own names and understand some stories. Animal books are a great way to encourage this cognitive and speech explosion.


What can the 12 month regression look like?


  • Your baby might start to refuse their naps

  • They could fight going to bed at bedtime

  • Their naps might be shorter in length

  • More frequent night waking

  • Starting the day well before the sun is up!

  • They might choose sleep time to practice their new skills


How to get through the 12 month regression


  • Stick with your normal routine if you have one. Dropping their first nap too early will result in a very overtired baby come evening.

  • Encourage your little love to practise their new skills during the day. Lots of games, songs, reading and talking during the day will help to get the practise in, and tire them out in the process!

  • Your little toddler may need some additional support at sleep time. Unless you want to continue patting, rocking or feeding your toddler to sleep I suggest supporting them whilst still allowing them to settle to sleep without being dependant on you.

  • Try not to have too much change. The 12 month regression isn’t a suitable time to change their routine, remove and much loved sleep prop or start sleep training. Support them during this developmental phase and leave change until you are both out the other side.

Congratulations - if you have a little one who has just transitioned from baby-hood to toddler-hood you will have a busy, boisterious and loud household. Enjoy!


If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at amy@littledreamers.co.nz to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to talk about what is happening for your baby and how we help.

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