Are you a parent of an 18 month old who is having trouble creating a nap schedule? Are you struggling to transition from two naps to one?

Trust me, I understand how you feel! We all want our kids to get the sleep they require for growth and general wellbeing as parents. It’s sometimes simpler said than done though.

In this article I am discussing an ideal 18 month old schedule for one nap. We will also review how to move from two naps to one. After reading this article, you’ll be prepared to assist your toddler in getting the sleep he or she needs.

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How Many Naps Do 18 Month Old Toddlers Typically Take?

Given that sleep times can vary greatly based on a child’s specific needs and developmental stage, it’s normal for parents to feel unsure about this – especially if they are new to parenting. Most toddlers have switched from having two naps per day to one by the time they are 18 months old. Some children at this age could still need two naps to get their required amount of sleep though.

An 18 month old toddler should sleep 11-14 hours a day on average. This includes both naps and sleep at night.

If your toddler is still taking two naps a day, you may find that he becomes increasingly resistant to that afternoon nap as he heads closer to the 18 month mark. Do not fight this. Your toddler is beginning to set his own sleep pattern and it is for his benefit, as well as your own.

The main thing to be aware of is when your toddler starts taking one nap a day, it needs to be sufficient sleep. This will ensure he is getting the rest that he needs. Sleep and rest are imperative for growth and development at this stage.

Sample 18 Month Old Schedule for One Nap

It can be difficult to get your 18 month old into a solid nap routine. But, it’s crucial for their growth and general wellbeing. At this stage in a toddler’s life he is growing rapidly and learning new things.

Sleeping might not seem like an option for 18 month-olds. They just want to explore and definitely have a form of FOMO (fear of missing out).

Almost all parents go through this difficulty. So, figuring out and setting an established nap time routine that works for you and your toddler is important.

That’s why I am providing you with an example 18 month old schedule for one nap. This plan is based on the average behavior and sleep requirements of toddlers. It’s vital to keep in mind that each child is different though.

You may design a nap schedule that works best for your child by using this sample schedule as a model. This will ensure that he gets the sleep required to develop and flourish.

SAMPLE 18 MONTH OLD ROUTINE (includes meal times and other sensory and developmental exercises)

  • 8am: Wake up and eat breakfast
  • 9am: Playtime
  • 10am: Snack
  • 10:30 am: Outdoor activities – errands, playgroup, play date, etc.
  • 12pm: Lunch
  • 1pm: Nap
  • 3:30pm: Wake up and eat a snack
  • 4pm: Playtime
  • 6pm: Dinner
  • 7:30 pm: Bedtime routine – bath, quiet play, put on pajamas, story, etc.
  • 8pm: Sleep

Remember this is purely for example. Having a good routine is definitely the simplest way to ensure your 18 month old toddler is getting the best out of his day.

To get a simple, printable version of this schedule, along with a blank one you can fill in yourself, just click the link below.

Sample Toddler Schedule For One Nap

What Is The Best Nap Time for an 18 Month Old?

So far we have established that a sustainable daily schedule is imperative for your 18 month old to fully rest with one nap per day. But what is the best nap time for your toddler?

Again, it is important to know that not all children are the same and not all families have the same circumstances. If you have a say in what time your toddler naps, the best time is early afternoon.

From my own experience, I found that getting my toddlers settled and ready to nap at around 12:30pm worked best. By this time toddlers are rather stimulated by what has been happening in their little life all day. They generally will be ready to get some shuteye at this time.

Personally, I would try to not to let your toddler start napping any later than 1:30pm. This is because the nighttime routine may become a little difficult and your child might not be tired at bedtime.

Typical Nap Length For an 18 Month Old

The length of time your toddler naps can vary. In early infancy, babies will sleep for as much as 4 hours per nap. But as they get older and start to develop more, these nap times will slowly get shorter.

The typical nap length for an 18 month old is around 2 hours. If your child is unwell or had a rough night, he will possibly sleep a little longer during his nap. A 2-3 hour nap is the perfect amount to ensure toddlers are well rested and ready to play and experience life till they head off to bed.

Awake Time For an 18 Month Old (Wake Windows)

Now let’s take a look at what the ideal awake time is for an 18 month old. These are typically referred to as “wake windows“. These are the times in which your toddler will be awake and ready to interact with the world around them. 

The general rule of thumb is that toddlers should not be awake for longer than 4 hours between each sleep time. From the time your child wakes up in the morning, you should count 4 hours (if possible) and try to get your toddler down for a nap shortly after. 

At night, the same thing will pertain to bedtime. Although you could probably push it to 5 hours if necessary.

I would say try to not go over a 5 hour wake window. When you do, it can cause your toddler to be overtired and overstimulated, and this will make getting him to sleep very difficult. 

Time 18 Month Old Toddlers Should Go To Bed

Although you may want to keep their bedtime the same every single night, sometimes this may not be possible. It is a good idea to have some kind of flexibility.

The time your toddler goes to sleep at night will greatly depend on various factors. You will need to work out a schedule that fits in with your lifestyle, but also allows your child (and also yourself) to get enough rest.

Ideally, you will want to have your 18 month old in bed and either asleep or settling down to sleep between 7:30pm and 8:30pm. The best way to help this happen is to have an established bedtime routine.

Dinner, bath time, quiet play, and reading should all be done roughly at the same time at night. Make sure things are quiet and calm while going through the bedtime routine. Then, let your little one settle in for the night.

18 month schedule for 1 nap.

When Do Toddlers Transition from 2 Naps to 1?

Since we have been talking a lot about having your 18 month old drop from 2 naps to 1, you may be wondering when this transition will start to take place. This is all dependent on your child, but most toddlers start dropping that second nap from around 15 months old.

You may find that every second day your toddler tries to fight one of their naps. Maybe the nap they take is super short. This is when you will know that your toddler is starting to make the change.

How To Transition To One Nap

Last but not least, let’s discuss how to transition to one nap. This will require a lot of observation and patience on your behalf. If your toddler is in daycare during the day, you may ask that his caregiver gives you feedback on how the naps are going. You might find it useful to have them use a log to document nap patterns.

Also, let them know you are wanting to transition your child to 1 nap during the day. Do it slowly and let them lead as much as possible.

If you are home with your toddler, follow these steps to transition from 2 naps to 1 nap.

  1. Gradually adjust the morning nap – Reduce the duration of the morning nap in 15 minute increments until the morning nap is eliminated.
  2. Extend the midday nap – Gradually increase the duration of the midday nap. Aim for a longer nap to make up for the missed morning nap.
  3. Move the midday nap up – Slowly shift the timing of the afternoon nap closer to midday. This will help consolidate sleep into a single nap.

It’s also important to make sure your child is not completely overstimulated during the day. This could tire him out quickly and make him want to sleep more than once during this transition.

More Toddler Sleep Help

And finally before we move on, if you are just struggling A LOT with your toddler’s sleep, I have some relief and help for you. In this case, I highly recommend checking out this Toddler Sleep Course!

It was created by a certified pediatric sleep consultant to help you deal with all sorts of toddler sleep problems including co-sleeping, bedtime struggles, toddlers getting out of bed or waking throughout the night, and much more. It is definitely worth the investment to get everyone on a good sleep schedule in your household.

Once you have established an 18 month old schedule for one nap be sure to stick to your routine as much as possible.

The key takeaway from this article should be the fact that your toddler will in a roundabout way tell you and show you that he or she is ready to drop a nap during the day. The transition from 2 naps to 1 is not always easy, but you will get there eventually.

When your child starts showing signs such as resistance to napping or going to bed at night or having a shorter sleep for one of nap, it may be time to establish a schedule that allows for only one nap during the day.

Although an 18 month old schedule still requires one nap during the day, toddlers also need enough awake time to explore their environment, to grow and develop in a happy and healthy way.

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