How can you set the sleep schedule for your toddler?

How can you set the sleep schedule for your toddler?

As your little one grows, his sleeping time reduces. Between the age of 1 and 2, a toddler usually gets a 12-hour sleep over 24 hours. The frequency of their naps also decreases and they sleep for longer hours. By age 3 children usually take an afternoon nap and a long stretch of sleep at night or as the need for feedings.

A good and well–defined sleep schedule helps your toddler to attain discipline and provide structure to his life. It helps your child to get a sufficient amount of sleep and lets you plan your day accordingly.

A toddler who is one year old usually sleeps for more than12 hours a day with 2-3 naps in between. In the case of 2 years old, it reduces down to 12 hours with a 1-afternoon nap in between. By the time they are 3 years old their sleep schedule changes completely. They sleep for a lesser time during the night with an only one-afternoon nap. At this age toddlers usually, sleep straight throughout the night without any interruptions.

A consistent routine helps in building up a good sleep schedule for your child. But be a bit flexible as he starts growing. As a parent or caregiver, it is your responsibility to help your child maintain this routine.

Consistent: Any routine can be followed only and only if there is consistency. You can be flexible with the routine but don’t be lenient with it. Try to follow a daily routine for your child including his meals, naps, and playtime. Don’t skip it until and unless you have a valid reason. Children require repetition and consistency to follow something.

Make them understand: Your child is becoming more active and aware of the world around him as he grows. Hence he’ll try to resist when you ask him to do anything at a specific time. Don’t keep nagging them or forcing them. Instead, make them sit and explain the reasons behind what you are asking them to do. A little amount of communication will solve your problem without much of tantrums.

Environment: Create a perfect ambiance for your child to sleep in. Make sure the room temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. It should be moderate. Ensure that there is complete silence and avoid making noise. Anything that could startle them from their sleep should be avoided. You can play soft and soothing music too.

You need to make the surroundings comfortable enough for your little one to sleep peacefully without waking up in the middle of the night. Babies usually tend to sleep with a soft blanket or a soft toy as it makes them feel secure and safe.

toddler sleeping

You can read a good story book or just have a conversation before putting your kid to bed. You can do different activities and play games before bedtime. As soon as they get tired they’ll sleep on their own.

Massage: Massage is the best method to ensure that your child gets a good sleep. A good massage relaxes them and releases their stress. Massage, if properly given puts them to sleep immediately.

baby child sleeping

Feeding: It is advisable not to give any food or drink to them before bedtime. It distracts them from sleeping. Many beverages contain caffeine so check the label, before giving it to your child.

Stick to the bedtime and wake up timings. It maintains the consistency of your child’s routine. Don’t change the nap timings either. Don’t let them sleep for a longer or brief period as it may affect their sleep schedule drastically.

If your child has nightmares or is facing any difficulty while sleeping, lie down along with them till they fall asleep. It will make them feel secure and assure them. Some children suffer from separation anxiety as well and being close to you helps them to sleep peacefully.
If your child has sleep deficiency or is facing difficulties in sleeping properly consult your doctor immediately.

• Be consistent in your routine you decide for your child.
• Keep talking to your child in a normal tone to whatever you would like to communicate so that he understands and avoid tantrums.
• Feed your child on time and as per schedule.
• Give proper massage which will help him get sound sleep.

Make them understand

Massage your toddler

Feeding toddler

As your little one grows, his sleeping time reduces.

It is advisable not to give any food or drink to them before bedtime.


Malathi A Ganesh is a B. Com Graduate, NTT, M.A (Lit), PGDEA (PG in Education Administration), PGDCA (PG Diploma in Computer Application), DTE (Diploma in Teaching English), ICEPT (International Certificate in Education Preschool Teaching) from Singapore and B. Ed. She has been in the field of education for the past 20 years and has an experience of running her own pre-school She is the Founder & Director Academics of Smartkidz Educare India Pvt Ltd with 275+ play schools Pan India. She is an Educationist and a Child Psychologists by profession who wants to fulfill her dream of giving Quality Education to children in their earlier years. She is also into conducting positive parenting workshops, which talks about effective child rearing. She has conducted numerous parenting workshops in all her pre schools, schools and MNC’s.

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