image001As your child moves from babyhood to being a toddler, he is probably beginning to learn many new skills and is experimenting with old skills. As a parent, you have lived through the first year – and may think you will never have a normal sleep schedule again. The good news, your baby is able to sleep through the night soundly. By this time, only about 10 percent of children are still not on a consistent sleep schedule.

12-18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

What to Expect

Although your baby is now officially a toddler, he will still need about fourteen hours of sleep each day. Most toddlers will sleep about 11-12 hours each night. Your younger toddler may still need a morning and afternoon nap. Many older toddlers have given up the morning nap but will still need a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. Even an older toddler can benefit from two naps during a very busy day – or if he did not sleep well during the night.

Sample 12-18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

Consistency in day and night time schedules is the most important part of making sure you and your child get plenty of sleep. As the child gets holder, it is important to make sure that sleep schedules coincide with internal clocks that are driven by hormones. Disruption of these cycles will lead to a cranky child and, ultimately, a more cranky parent.

  • Try to establish a normal wake time and bed time for your toddler. Depending on your schedule, a wake time of 7:00 AM may work for you.
  • Your toddler will probably want breakfast as soon as she awakens, so start the day off right by having something planned.
  • If your toddler is fussy by mid-morning, put her down for a nap at about 9:00AM.
  • If she has given up the morning nap, plan on a mid-morning snack.
  • Plan for lunch at about 12:00 and then put her down for an afternoon nap.
  • After 2 hours nap time, she will probably wake up hungry, so plan for a light snack after nap time.
  • Dinner time should coincide with the family’s regular meal time, at about 6:00 PM.
  • Begin a calming bed time routine shortly after dinner with bed time by 8:00 PM.

How to Establish a Healthy 12-18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

The toddler will be extremely “busy” during the day so it is important to help him establish a good sleep schedule. Hopefully, you have started this process before now, but, if not, there are some things you can do to build or reinforce a healthy sleep schedule:

  • Be sure your toddler’s daytime routine is consistent. Meal times and nap times should be as consistent as possible to ensure that the bed time routine is predictable.
  • Follow a bed time ritual. This is probably the most important way you can help your toddler sleep better. Children in this age group understand when the ritual begins. Perhaps it starts with a warm bath followed by a bed time snack, brushing the teeth, and going to the bathroom. A bedtime story and “tuck in” routine is important at this age.
  • Allow your toddler to fall asleep by himself. Hopefully, you have been putting him in his crib while he is awake but sleepy. If not, it is time for him to learn to soothe himself and put himself to sleep.

For additional information on 12-18 month old sleep schedule and sleep pattern, watch this video:

Common Problems in 12-18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

Since your toddler is developing new skills each day, you may find that her sleep is disturbed as the excitement of the new skills increases. With a consistent bedtime routine, this problem may be avoided most of the time. However, if she does resist going to sleep at bedtime, you will have to be consistent about letting her “cry it out”. A few specific sleep problems can develop in the toddler:

1. Separation Anxiety

As the toddler becomes more independent in many ways, he may also begin to suffer from separation anxiety. He wants to be out on his own, but he also has a compelling need to be with you as his parent. Unfortunately, this behavior may be most pronounced at bedtime when you walk out of the room leaving your toddler alone. If he fusses when you walk out, return to his room but do not get him out of his crib. Instead, lay him down, tell him goodnight again, and sit across the room for a few minutes. Then, get up and leave the room. You may have to repeat this process a few times and you may have to let him “cry it out”.

2. Refusing to Go to Bed

Your toddler is developing physical skills that can make bed time a harrowing experience for you. As he tries to climb out of bed or begins bouncing up and down in his crib, be firm as you tell him it is time for bed. Lay him down and leave the room. If the behavior happens again, return to the room and lay him down without talking to him. As the toddler learns that his “game” is no fun, he will get the idea that bed time is time to sleep.

3. Fussiness Because of Nap Changes

As the toddler takes shorter naps, or drops the morning nap completely, you may find that you miss the quiet time – and you may find that the toddler is fussier at bed time. If the fussiness is extreme, you may want to consider keeping the morning nap for a while longer. In fact, many experts recommend that you keep the two-nap schedule as long as possible!

4. Early Rising

Just as adults have different natural wake times, so do toddlers. If your child gets up very early in the morning, the answer is NOT to keep him up later in the evening. The 12-18 month old with this issue may be ready to give up the morning nap so he is more tired at bed time. Adjust nap and bed times until you find the schedule that works!

5. Toddler Tantrums

As the toddler becomes more independent, bed time can become a struggle. The best way to avoid these toddler tantrums is to be consistent in bed time but allow the child to make choices about the rituals. For example, pull out several pajamas and ask him to choose which pair he wants to wear. Give a choice of bed time snacks. Allow the toddler to choose which story to read – and be prepared to read it more than once. Offering a few choices to the independent toddler will help him understand that bed time is not negotiable – but there are choices that he can make!