I was recently asked when posting about Walker transitioning so easily to a twin bed, what schedule we have him on. I have always run a tight ship when it comes to my kids and their sleep and keep a pretty rigid toddler sleep schedule. For us that does sometime mean more babysitters, or missing out on fun, and I will admit that I think there are benefits to a less rigid schedule as well, but for us this is what works. I will talk to you about our toddler sleep schedule, but always feel free to message me via Instagram/ comment, or email if you have questions. *and as a disclaimer – I’m not a professional, just a mom of 3 (and a half) who has kept her kids on a strict sleep schedule ha.
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Toddler Sleep Schedule
Okay first off, because I assume I will get this question. What do I actually mean age wise when I say ‘toddler’? This schedule is the same schedule I have followed for all of my kids once they have dropped to one nap a day ( 15 ash months) until Kindergarten.
This is the big one that I get asked about on Instagram – because lets face it. Nap time is the most sacred time of the day. Once my kids drop to one nap a day nap time starts right after lunch. Typically I try to make that around 12:30 because that works with us and our school pick up schedule for the older kids. Something important to remember – Nap time needs to be consistent (starting within around 45 min most days) but pick a time that best works with your schedule. When my oldest, Jack, was in his first mothers day out program it didn’t get out until 12:30 – they ate lunch and then we did pickup. So when he was Walker’s age (22 months) his nap time started at roughly 1pm daily. Now my older kids get out at 11:30 so nap time is between 12-12:30 normally. I find that the consistency of feeding the then straight down to sleep sets a good schedule, so that even if time is slightly off they aren’t phased.
Something else about naps – unless my kiddo is crying, if they don’t take a long nap I have them rest in their beds. If you get them up right away you will reinforce the shorter nap habit. Leave a little book, and some stuffed animals and all of my kids have been able to entertain themselves for quite some time. I find that they are less likely to let those little bouts of fighting naps turn long term if they don’t learn they will get to get up and play.
Alright so as all moms know – naps don’t happen if kids don’t sleep well at night, and vice versa. Good sleep promotes good sleep. (i.e. – never tell a mom who says “my kid was up all night” – “oh well I bet they will nap great today!” BECAUSE NO THEY WILL NOT.) Bed time is important – you can have a long routine, or a short routine, but whatever it is, do it consistently and at the same time. Kids typically are ready for bed much earlier than you would expect, but I know all families need slightly different schedules. So remember – this schedule is based on our families needs, and works well for us, but that doesn’t make it the only right way to do things!
All of my kids go to bed at 7pm sharp from the age the are fully sleeping through the night (roughly 3/4 months) and 6 years old. We do a: Dinner, bath/shower, quiet play upstairs/watch shows, then brush teeth and in bed routine. For us this works great. My kids have been early wakers by nature, and we like to get up and going in the morning (plus Jack and Avé now have to get to school, so early to rise is not an option). They all sleep from roughly 7 – 6 am, sometimes closer to 7 am. I know thats painful on the weekends, but for us it’s worth the time in the evenings on our own, and works best for us during the week.
Sample Daily Schedule of my Toddler Sleep Schedule
I know that this question will be asked a lot, so instead of going into that heavily here I will do another blog post on that tomorrow. But for the sake of sleep I will share that here, then share a bit more of a day in the life schedule with you in the next post!!
6/7 am – WAKE UP
12/12:30 – NAP
7 pm – BEDTIME
Bedtime is the one that I find you want to keep the most strict. And just know that likely staying up later won’t mean sleeping in, so when you can you may as well put them down on time!
I hope thats helpful for those of you with toddlers. My kids have all been really great sleepers, and I truly attribute it to following a structured schedule so they know what to expect, and what is expected of them daily!
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