At some point in every parent’s life, they wish their child would just sleep one night through but will they grant you that few hours of pure happiness? No they won’t. Probably not even when they are teenagers…. I can already hear “Mom, did you see my silver shoes?!”
What is up with children? I know they don’t always need their sleep but parents do too! I noticed that one day my toddler will go to bed when I say it is bedtime now and everything will go smooth, but then the next day it is chaos to put him to bed. I thought he is just naughty but then when I spoke to a few girlfriends, I realized it is normal for a toddler to have different sleep habits, every single night. So, I made it my duty to find out how I can help not just myself, but all the other mommies and daddies reading this blog.
Sleep patterns change as children get older. For some parents, it gets easier to put your child to sleep every night, for others it gets more difficult. Depending on the type of baby you have and the toddler they become, it’s important to be aware of the sleep that they require at each age. Between 12 and 24 months, their sleep requirements drastically change compared to when they were a newborn up to 12 months. Your baby is now transitioning into a walking, talking and exploring toddler and with large developmental changes. Along comes the changes in sleep patterns. It’s important as a parent to be aware and informed of the changes so you can help your child get the most beneficial sleep they need in order for them to grow and enjoy the world the best they can – as a child. So what’s a normal sleep routine for a toddler aged 12 to 24 months and how can you as a parent help your toddler sleep during these ages? Read on for all the information you need.
You might also be interested to read another popular topic about about baby sleep: From What Age Should Your Baby Sleep With a Pillow?
But I am here to help you today, to not let you lose your mind but to give you advice about healthy sleeping habits your toddler should try to follow.
Good to Know
- At the age of 18 months, your child is a toddler, not a baby.
- Between the ages of 12-14 months, your child should be having two naps per day.
- By the time your toddler is 18 months old (1.5 years old), you can transition them to either an afternoon nap between 90 minutes and three hours depending on their activity level and energy levels.
- Between the age of 12 months and 24 months, your toddler should get about 14 hours of sleep a day. 11 hours during night and the rest during the day when taking a nap.
- These sleeping patterns normally are followed with toddlers up until ages 4 or 5 years old. For healthy sleep habits for older children aged 5 and up, read It’s Sleepy Time on gleefulblogger.
Do’s and Dont’s
Have a Routine
A bedtime routine is very important to have. It helps your toddler wind down and get ready for bed. Let them run all their energy out and only after running their energy out, should you do something calmer, like bathing them. If you get them to calm down before they are ready, you are only trying to push for them to do something they don’t want, and we all know how that ends. When tucking them in bed, read a bedtime story. Let them relax.
I know this might seem simple, but what’s most important is to follow your routine every night, if you’re at home or away for the weekend. Toddlers will soon adjust to the routine and then your job will become easier. Don’t just have a bedtime routine, have a daily routine eg. Nap times, eating times, bath time.
For more practical tips on how to improve the health of your family, I highly recommend Janelle’s blog, RoutetoHealthandWealth.com. She talks about all things family, but also including pregnancy and baby, aswell as frugal living (which I love!) and travel. She has an excellent blog, and I can’t recommend her enough. One of my favorite blog posts is this one about her breastfeeding journey which you can read here.
Let Your Toddler Fall Asleep on Their Own
You used to lay next to your baby while falling asleep, but now that he’s a toddler, you don’t need to rock, nurse or sing your toddler to sleep. I promise you, it won’t make you a bad parent, but if you think it does then I am honestly, the worst parent alive. I am not saying put your toddler in bed and walk away, that’s cold hearted. What I’m trying to say is, you can let your toddler nod off in your arms but as soon as they get drowsy, put her/she to bed and let them fall asleep on their own.
Important Changes: As your toddler grows, they should start growing out of the sadness that they used to wake up to when they didn’t see you first thing, like when they were a baby. As toddlers, they should start understanding that the last thing he or she saw while falling asleep was you so he will be accustomed to know that you will soon be reunited. And he or she won’t have trouble falling back to sleep.
The worst thing you can do is to take him or her out their crib or toddler bed when they start crying because you left the room, just like you used to do when they were a baby. This is one habit that is extremely important that you adjust to, to ensure healthy sleep habits for toddlers. Just calm them and they will soon realize that you are not going to pick him them every time he or she cries to be in your arms. For more information on how to get your little one to sleep (aswell as other topics such as feeling good about yourself as a Mom – which I love!) from another awesome mommy blogger, check out Romina’s blog, MiniMummiBlogger.
At 18 months your toddler will begin to walk and won’t go to bed because all he wants to do is walk around, open all the cupboards and throw everything out. That’s the truth. But don’t let the mover-power you. You are the parent. When it’s bedtime, it’s freakin bedtime baby!
So, my tip here is, let them feel independent. Let them choose their own pajamas for the night, let them decide which bedtime story to read and ask them which plate they want their food in. In that way, they will still feel independent. NEVER ask your toddler if they want to go to bed. Of course their going to say no.
It’s also important to give them the independence they want during the day and not to restrict them too much. Giving them independence will also get them more exhausted and tired for the day and this means they will be tired and ready for bed by the end of the day – a win win for both them and us. We have talked about good outdoor toddler play activities on our blog, but Brittany from Britt-and-co shares some good information on outdoor activities aswell as how to manage your home and family. These tips will get your kids extra tired but extra ready for sleepy-time!
When your toddler reaches the age where they can climb out of their own crib, do not let them in your bed because they will assume it is acceptable and will do it every night. Take them back to their crib and tuck them in again.
Another mistake some parents make is putting your toddler to bed with a bottle. They will soon get addicted to their bedtime bottle and once you stop giving them a bottle, they will cry during the night when they wake up to find that there is no bottle. Also, by giving them a bedtime bottle, you will have to change their diaper during the night.
If you really want to give them a bottle, just give them water and in about 2 weeks they won’t want the bottle anymore.
Another important tip is to ensure that you are providing your growing toddler with healthy food. We are advocates of making homemade baby food and we believe that healthy homemade baby food is the trick to calming your baby and allowing them to have a restless and beautiful sleep, each and every night. You must think that I don’t love my children from my first paragraph, but I actually love them to death. It is all fun and games when you have children!