Toddler Sleep Patterns: Schedules, Routines & Common Problems

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Unlock the secrets to peaceful nights and happy days with our guide on making the perfect Sleep Schedule. Your ultimate parenting resource awaits!

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Okay, tackling the toddler phase is a rollercoaster, and let's be honest, getting them to sleep is a whole mission. This guide spills the beans on tricks and tips to help you whip up a chill sleep routine for your little one, making life easier for you and your mini-me.

Understanding toddler sleep patterns

Have you ever wondered why your toddler transforms into a bedtime ninja when you're ready to unwind?  

We'll dive into the age-old question: how much sleep do kids really need? We've got the lowdown on how much sleep your tiny human needs at different ages. So, you'll rock the toddler bedtime game with ease!

Toddlers from 12 to 18 months should no longer have morning naps; instead, they should have more daytime sleep and a longer afternoon nap.

Typical Sleep Patterns for Toddlers

1 year

Up to 12 months, toddlers need 12 to 16 hours of sleep, including two naps in the morning and afternoon, each lasting 1-2 hours. By 12 months, the recommended total sleep is around 14 hours, including naps.

2 years

Up to 18 months, toddlers require 11 to 14 hours of sleep, with no morning nap and a longer afternoon nap. By 24 months, the ideal sleep range remains at 11 to 14 hours, with daytime naps, including an afternoon nap lasting 1-2 hours.

3 years

At 3 years old, toddlers typically need around 12 hours of sleep at night and may benefit from a short nap lasting an hour or less during a quiet time of the day.

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How to create a toddler sleep schedule 

1. Recognize when your toddler is ready for bed

  Spotting your toddler's sleep signals is the secret sauce to helping your baby sleep better. It's the roadmap to a smoother bedtime routine, making those Zzz's easier for your little one. Tune in, catch the cues, and master in understanding your baby's sleep needs. You can do it by paying attention to the following signs: 

  • Clinginess
  • Grumpy behavior
  • Grizzling or crying
  • Demand for attention
  • Boredom with toys
  • Rubbing eyes

2. Create a sample sleep schedule chart

Making a sleep schedule chart helps parents set a regular bedtime routine using simple sleep training methods. Although, the schedule you should stick to depends on your kid´s age.

  •  7 am: Wake up and breakfast
  • 9 am: Snack
  • 10 am: Playtime
  • Noon: Lunch
  • 1 pm to 3 pm: Nap
  • 3.30 pm: Snack
  • 4 pm: Playtime
  • 6 pm: Dinner
  • 6.30 pm to 7 pm: Bedtime routine
  • 7 pm: Bedtime

To get more information about this, here are some other examples of toddler sleep schedules by age.

3. Establish a soothing bedtime routine

Discover a quick and enjoyable routine filled with playful steps to make going to sleep a happy experience for your little one. From cool PJs to funny Storybook App time, it's all about creating a cozy vibe for sweet dreams. 

🛀 Bath time!

Bathing: The warm water feels so nice as it washes away the day's adventures. 

Brushing teeth: Now it's time to sparkle those pearly whites before bedtime.

Pooping: Taking care of business – a necessary step for a good night's sleep!

Put on favorite pajamas: Slip into those comfy PJs, it's like wrapping up in a cozy hug.

📚 Snuggle up with a fun story and a massage

Grab the best bedtime stories from our App – trust me, it's a storyland goldmine. And guess what? Funny voices are non-negotiable! Make those characters pop! As you dive into the tale, give your kiddo a relaxing massage. 

Follow the Storybook App video guide shown below for the sweet spots – shoulders, lower back, upper back, neck, and head. Imagine soothing rubs while you unravel the story – a one-two punch for the best bedtime ever. Stories, giggles, and massages – now that's a recipe for the sweetest dreams! 

toddler massage

🎵 Put on some cool white noise for background tunes 

Pop on over to our Storybook App's extras section – you'll find the most soothing sounds to create the perfect background tunes for the perfect bedtime routine for kids. Let your kid enjoy their meditation moment while listening to some words of affirmation from the Storybook App.

💤 Light off! 

Time for the ultimate adventure: drifting into dreamland for a solid night's snooze.

4. Create a sleep-conducive environment

Start with chill playtime, dim the lights for a comfy vibe, and add some cool white noise for background tunes. Transform the room into a cozy haven, setting the scene for a night of sweet dreams. 

5. Build a balanced toddler nap schedule

Navigating toddler nap schedules can be puzzling, but fear not – here are answers to common questions, especially if your toddler is refusing to nap. This part provides practical tips for building a balanced nap routine, ensuring both healthy sleep and happier days for your little ones and you. 

  • How long should a toddler nap?

The ideal duration for a toddler's daytime nap, typically ranges from 1 to 2 hours. However, it's crucial to consider reliable sources.

Infants until one year of age will take naps 1–4 times per day. By 18-24 months, children need only one nap each day. Children who take early afternoon naps for a set duration of fewer than 60 minutes.

  • When should toddlers nap?

Toddlers generally benefit from a nap in the early to mid-afternoon, aligning with their natural circadian rhythms. A suitable nap time is often between 1 pm and 3 pm, fostering a refreshing break in their day.

  • When do kids stop napping?

Kids usually start to stop napping around 3 to 4 years old. But every kid is different, so some might stop a bit earlier or later. It depends on your child and their needs. 

Just keep an eye out for signs that they're ready, like not being sleepy during the day or having trouble falling asleep at night. When they're ready, they'll let you know! 

6. Be flexible and consistent

Sometimes you might need to change when your first toddler wakes from naps - that's okay! But, it's also good to do the same things every day, like napping and going to bed at the same time. It helps your little one know what to expect, making everything a bit easier for everyone.


Examples of toddler sleep schedules by age

1-year-old toddler sleep schedule

1-year-old toddler sleep schedule

Remember, each child is unique, so feel free to adjust the schedule to your toddler's rhythm. Normally 1-year olds approximate total sleep: 11-14 hours. Consistency and adaptability go hand in hand for a well-rested and happy little one.

“Young toddlers may still take two naps, but most drop down to one nap a day by 18 months.”
💡 KidsHealth

2-year-old toddler sleep schedule

For a 2-year-old toddler, a consistent sleep routine remains crucial, with an approximate total sleep duration of 11-14 hours. Here's a snapshot of sleep medicine:

2-year-old toddler sleep schedule

3-year-old toddler sleep schedule

How do you crack the code of your 3-year-old's sleep routine? With a sweet spot of around 11-14 hours of shut-eye, their days are filled with play, giggles, and some good old-fashioned naps. 

3-year-old toddler sleep schedule

To make bedtime a breeze, why not throw in a few new parent hacks? Think cozy stories, maybe a lullaby or two, and you've got the secret sauce for turning toddler bedtime routine into a little nightly adventure for both you and your little one.

Additionally, you can take up from this bedtime routine as a guide to know when to transition to toddler bed.

Factors influencing toddler sleep schedules

Sleep hiccups

So, your little one hits a patch of sleep regression – normal in toddler land. It's like a hiccup in their snooze game, often triggered by new skills or life tweaks like a different babysitter or a furry addition. Even big moves or gaining a sibling can stir things up.


Cue the arrival of canines, incisors, and molars – a.k.a. teething round two. This means discomfort that can throw a wrench into sleep routines. Navigating this calls for patience and soothing moves to keep both toddler and parent sane.

Separation anxiety

So, when your little one begs you to stay after lights out, it's not some game; it's the real deal – separation anxiety in action. 

The fix? Easy peasy. Have a brief chat about their day, keeping it light. Here are many tips for when your toddler won't sleep: exit before they drift off to sidestep any midnight search missions for your comforting presence. It's one of those tried-and-true tips for smoother toddler snoozing.

Tips for adjusting your toddler's sleep schedule

Adequate sleep not only for children's health and supports their physical and cognitive development but also contributes to a more harmonious household.

  • Consistent bedtime routine:

Stick to a bedtime routine. It helps signal bedtime and makes it a breeze for your little one to wind down. You can help yourself from this article about how to put a toddler to sleep in 40 seconds to help your toddler sleep better!

  • Create a relaxing bedtime setting:

Make their room cozy – quiet, dim, and a bit cool. A perfect sleep haven! In the Storybook App you can find meditations and affirmations that can help you with this.

  • Tech-free zone:

Keep electronic devices, such as computers and televisions, out of the bedroom. Additionally, power down all electronics at least an hour before bedtime to reduce stimulation and promote relaxation.

  • Consistent wake-up time:

Get them up at the same time every morning. Consistency is the secret sauce for a smoother, calming bedtime routine.

  • Avoid stimulants before bed:

Avoid caffeine or sugar in snacks, drinks, or meds close to bedtime. No one needs a caffeine buzz before lights out!

  • Balanced pre-bedtime nutrition:

Don't go to bed hungry, but don't do a feast either. A light snack is the Goldilocks solution.

  • Easy on the exercise:

Keep it chill with physical activity two hours before bedtime. Let's save the ninja moves for daytime!

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