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Creating a 18 month Old Sleep Schedule

As a parent, helping your child establish a consistent sleep schedule can be a challenging yet crucial task. Sleep is essential for a child’s physical and mental development, and an 18-month-old toddler requires an average of 11-14 hours of restful sleep per day. In this article, we will explore how to create a sleep schedule for your 18-month-old to ensure they get the required amount of rest to support their growth.

18 month old sleep schedule
18 month old sleep schedule

Understanding Your 18-Month-Old’s Sleep Needs

Before setting up a sleep schedule, it is crucial to understand the sleep needs and patterns of your 18-month-old. Typically, at this age, they require 1-2 naps during the day, totaling 2-3 hours of sleep, and 10-12 hours of undisturbed nighttime sleep. However, each child’s sleep requirements may vary based on their activity level, mood, and overall health.

Sleep Requirements for Toddlers

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers aged 12-36 months should sleep for 11-14 hours every day, including naps and nighttime sleep. Having sufficient sleep can improve mood, cognition, memory, and overall health.

Signs of Sleep Deprivation in Toddlers

It is essential to look for signs of sleep deprivation in your child to ensure they are getting enough rest. Some signs include excessive crankiness, hyperactivity, irritability, lack of focus, and difficulty with routine tasks. If you notice any of these signs in your toddler, it may be time to reevaluate their sleep schedule and make necessary changes.

The Importance of a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Creating a consistent sleep schedule helps your toddler’s body clock adjust to a regular routine, leading to better sleep quality and overall health. It is essential to have a consistent bedtime, naptime, and wake-up time every day. This consistency can help your child fall asleep quickly and wake up rested and refreshed.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

Establishing a proper bedtime routine can help your toddler fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. You can begin by creating a relaxing pre-sleep environment, which can include dimming the lights, reducing noise levels, and lowering activity levels.

Did you know that establishing a bedtime routine can also benefit your own sleep quality? Research has shown that adults who stick to a consistent bedtime routine also experience better sleep quality and overall well-being.

Setting a Consistent Bedtime

The ideal time to put your toddler to bed is between 7-8 pm. Choose a time that works best for your family’s schedule and stick to it every day. A consistent bedtime ensures that your child’s body clock adjusts to the routine.

It’s important to note that consistency is key when it comes to establishing a bedtime routine. This means keeping the same bedtime on weekends and holidays, even if it means adjusting your schedule slightly. Consistency helps your child’s body recognize when it’s time to sleep, making it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Creating a Calming Pre-Sleep Environment

Create a comfortable atmosphere by making necessary adjustments to the temperature, humidity, and lighting. Ensure that the room is cool and quiet enough to promote sleep. Soft music or white noise can also help create a relaxing environment.

Another way to create a calming environment is by incorporating aromatherapy. Essential oils like lavender and chamomile have been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. You can diffuse these oils in your child’s room or add a few drops to a warm bath before bedtime.

Incorporating Relaxing Activities

Incorporate relaxing activities into your toddler’s bedtime routine, such as reading a book, singing a lullaby, or telling a bedtime story. This enjoyable and calming activity can help your child wind down, leading to better sleep quality.

It’s important to choose activities that your child enjoys and finds relaxing. For some children, coloring or drawing can be a calming activity, while others may prefer a gentle massage or stretching. Experiment with different activities to find what works best for your child.

Remember, establishing a bedtime routine takes time and patience. It may take a few weeks for your child to adjust to the routine, but with consistency and perseverance, you can help your child develop healthy sleep habits that will benefit them for years to come.

Navigating Nap Times

At 18 months, your toddler may require 1-2 naps every day, lasting an average of 2-3 hours. However, each child’s napping needs may vary based on their activity levels and age. Ensure that your child gets enough nap time to support their growth and development.

Did you know that nap time is just as important as night-time sleep? A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that daytime naps help children improve their memory and learning abilities. So, it’s crucial to make sure that your child gets enough rest during the day.

Transitioning from Two Naps to One

Your toddler may start to show signs of transition from two naps to one nap every day. This transition usually occurs between 15-18 months of age. You can gradually reduce the length of the first nap by 15-30 minutes to help them fall asleep faster for their second nap. Over time, your child will adjust to one nap every day.

It’s important to note that some children may transition to one nap earlier or later than others. So, don’t worry if your child is still taking two naps a day at 18 months. Follow your child’s cues and adjust their nap schedule accordingly.

Finding the Ideal Nap Time

It is essential to find the perfect nap time that works for your toddler’s needs. Some toddlers may be ready for their first nap soon after waking up, while others may benefit from a mid-day nap. Ensure your child gets enough rest during nap times to avoid sleep deprivation.

Did you know that the ideal nap time for toddlers is between 12 pm to 2 pm? This is because their body temperature naturally drops during this time, making them feel sleepy. So, try to schedule your child’s nap time during this period.

Ensuring Quality Nap Time

To promote quality nap time, create a relaxing environment free from distractions, minimize noise levels, and ensure that your child’s nap area is safe and comfortable. You can also incorporate a pre-nap routine to help your child calm down and fall asleep faster.

A pre-nap routine can include activities such as reading a book, singing a lullaby, or cuddling with your child. This routine will help signal to your child that it’s time for nap and prepare them for sleep.

Remember, nap time is an essential part of your child’s growth and development. So, make sure to prioritize it and create a routine that works for your child’s needs.

Addressing Sleep Challenges

Even with a consistent sleep schedule and routine, your 18-month-old may experience sleep challenges, including night wakings and sleep regressions. As a parent, you can use various strategies to manage these sleep challenges.

Handling Night Wakings

Your toddler may wake up at night for various reasons, including hunger, teething, or discomfort. To handle night wakings, create a consistent response routine, such as feeding, diaper change, or comforting your child until they fall asleep. Also, minimize stimulation or avoid picking up your toddler to minimize disruption to your child’s sleep routine.

Dealing with Sleep Regressions

Sleep regressions are temporary interruptions in your child’s sleep patterns, often associated with developmental milestones. You can deal with sleep regressions by maintaining consistency in the sleep routine and responding promptly to your child’s sleep needs.

Managing Separation Anxiety at Bedtime

Your toddler may experience separation anxiety, making it difficult to fall asleep without you. To manage this, create a consistent bedtime routine that includes comforting activities and positive associations with separation. You can also use positive reinforcement, such as praise, rewards, and reassurance, to help your child feel more secure and comfortable.


Creating a consistent sleep schedule for your 18-month-old may seem challenging, but it is essential for their growth and development. Understanding your child’s sleep needs, establishing a bedtime routine, navigating nap times, and addressing sleep challenges can help your toddler develop healthy sleep habits that benefit both them and you. Remember, consistency is key, and with patience and dedication, you can help your child get the sleep they need.

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