A sleep schedule seems like it would be easy to stick to, right? But as all parents know, every single day is unpredictable, and sometimes (a lot of the time!), schedules go right out the window when things get really busy. However, it's important that your kids are getting an optimal amount of sleep every day and night! Not getting enough sleep can affect their behavior, especially when it comes to toddlers. If you need help establishing a sleep schedule for your toddler and are wondering how much sleep they need and what time your toddler should go to bed, we can help.
Toddler sleep: what you need to know
You've probably figured this out by now, but your active toddler needs a lot of sleep! Between the ages of 1-3, your toddler should be getting about 10-14 hours of sleep per day. This includes their nap; by 18 months, most toddlers have dropped their morning or evening nap, but keep their afternoon nap. If your toddler is still napping twice a day, that's OK too! They'll likely take a shorter nap earlier in the day, and sleep for longer in the afternoon. But you should try to discourage your toddler from napping later in the day, as it can affect their bedtime and nighttime sleep.
Toddler sleep schedule
Your toddler's sleep schedule will really depend on your family's schedule. If you typically eat dinner later or are late risers, for example, it doesn't make since to set your toddler's bedtime too early in the evening. Pick a bedtime that gives you the best chance of sticking to the routine, and make sure to stay consistent. In general, toddlers should go to bed between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and will sleep until 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. That will give them between 10-11 hours of sleep a night. Try to stick to the same bedtime and wake time, and stick to roughly the same schedule for naps. No matter what your routine and schedule look like, the key is consistency!
Toddler bedtime routine
Like your toddler's sleep schedule, your toddler's bedtime routine will be pretty specific to your family. Some families start their bedtime routine as much as an hour before bedtime, with a bath, a story or some snuggle time, bathroom duties like using the toilet and brushing teeth, and then a quiet and calm goodnight in their room. A nice, soothing bath near bedtime can help calm your toddler and relax them for bedtime, and you should try to include some quiet one-on-one time with your toddler to unwind from the day. As with EVERYTHING to do with toddlers, you just have to be consistent and firm. Your toddler will likely try to delay or get out of their bedtime routine, but it won't be long until they start to look forward to this predictable time in their day.
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