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Are you looking to find a solid schedule for your toddler to get them into more of a routine?
Check out our easy to follow 18 month old schedule with one nap!
It’s no secret babies, toddlers, kids, teenagers, and, yes, even adults thrive on routine! I’ve found it especially helpful during the toddler stage because as their (fierce) independence is growing, they seem to appreciate knowing what comes next and the general structure of a day.
You’ll notice we start our day at 7:30am. I explain why below, but keep in mind you can easily modify naps and bedtime to fit both your lifestyle and your toddler’s natural sleep rhythms.
Our 18 month old sleep schedule
The one nap life makes the 18 month old sleep schedule very simple. Ours looks like this:
7:30am wake up
8:15 light’s out
We like to start our daughter’s day at 7:30am (I’m usually up earlier to have a little me time). This time is somewhat arbitrary, you can obviously choose to start your day earlier or later. We came to 7:30 because it fit her natural sleep schedule. We noticed she was easy to put down to sleep around 8/8:15, and she would wake up most days 11 hours later. This landed us at 7:30. She naturally wakes up at that time, and it fits our lifestyle. Occasionally we’ll let her sleep in until 8 if she’s going through a growth spurt or teething.
I have plenty of mom friends whose toddlers insist on waking up at 6:30am. This is totally normal and typically means your toddler will go to bed earlier!
My 18 month old daughter takes one afternoon nap from 1:30-3:30. This is probably my favorite thing ever! She was such a chronic cat napper as a baby (38 minutes like a clock) so to have this consolidated nap actually gives me time to rest or get some things done on my own. I’m savoring every minute of it before she outgrows napping all together!
Lastly, we start a 30-minute bedtime routine at 7:45 (not including bath). On bath nights, that begins at 7:30. This gives her plenty of time to wind down from the day and get ready for sleep.
Not quite 18 months old? Check out our 15 month old sample schedule here.
Our 18 month old bedtime routine
If it’s bath night, we start the bath 45-60 minutes before lights out. Half an hour before I want her to be asleep, we put on pajamas and have a sippy cup of milk and read books together. Next, we brush her teeth, snuggle up in the rocking chair and sing a couple songs. At 8:15 she goes in her crib with her favorite stuffed animals, and she’s typically asleep within 5-15 minutes.
18 month old sleep schedule FAQ’s:
What time should bedtime be for an 18 month old?
I’m sure the baby sleep experts out there will tell you there’s a magical time toddlers should go to bed. From speaking with most of the toddler moms I know, anywhere from 6:30-9 seem to be common. It’s really going to depend on your daily routine, what time you have to wake up in the morning and YOUR toddler’s sleep rhythms. If you have any concerns, I always recommend speaking with your pediatrician about your toddler’s sleep.
To be perfectly honest, 8:15 is a later bedtime than I would like as I’m an early to sleep kinda mom myself. I’ve played with the times, and it doesn’t seem to matter if I pull the whole day an hour ahead. She still treats any bedtime in the 7 o’clock hour like a nap and will be up 45 minutes later and ready to party. I’ve accepted it, and now appreciate the time I have to myself in the morning before she wakes up!
How much sleep does an 18 month old need anyways?
The recommended amount of total sleep in a 24-hour period for 18 month old toddlers is somewhere in the ballpark of 11-14 hours (SleepFoundation.org).
A quick calculation of our schedule listed above means my 18 month old is sleeping on average 13 hours a day. Of course this varies. She’s a toddler! Some days she fights naps and only gets in 30 minutes. It happens.
How many naps does an 18 month old need?
By 18 months of age most toddlers have transitioned down to one afternoon nap, my daughter included. However, there are plenty who still take multiple naps too!
A complete sample 18 month old schedule & daily routine
When you consider an 18 month old has 1 nap, 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day, you can create a structured daily routine around these activities. Is it flexible? Absolutely! Life needs room for spontaneity too. I find having a routine helps my toddler know when to expect meals, independent play time, outdoor time, and bedtime.
Our typical day looks like this:
7:30am wake up & milk, independent play time (in childproofed room with me in it)
9-10am learning activities and/or free play
10:30am outdoor time, errands
1:00pm books & nap routine
4:15pm workout with mommy
5:00pm kitchen play while mommy cooks & cleans
6:30-7pm daddy time
7-7:30pm family play
7:30pm bath & bedtime routine
8:15pm lights out
As you can see, it’s pretty structured around when she needs to eat and sleep. Having this routine is super helpful for planning out errands and appointments, and play dates and meetups.
Of course, we throw it all to the wind occasionally to go on day trips, to events or parties or other activities. It’s never been a problem as she seems to know things don’t go exactly to schedule when we are out of the house.
At home, it’s interesting to note she knows this schedule like the back of her hand. She can’t tell time yet, but she’ll walk over to her high chair and say “sit” when it’s breakfast or snack time!
Use this 18 month old schedule with one nap to inspire your own daily routine!
Drop me any questions of comments below.
Enjoy this age! Their little personalities are really starting to shine. They can be stubborn and the toddler-tude starts to come out, but it’s so fun watching them learn, play and grow!