How can I help my toddler establish normal sleeping habits?

Infants are notorious for being erratic sleepers, but there usually seems to be a point at which they begin sleeping through the night. But toddlerhood brings a whole new period of growth, so moms, what have you found your toddler's sleeping habits are like?

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page

13  Answers

3 4

All toddlers are different. My 1 year old takes one 3-4 hour nap a day, and only sleeps about 8 hours at night, but my 3 year old takes a 2-3 hour nap every day, and sleeps 9-10 hours at night. My 3 year old would probably sleep more than that at night, but I wake him up at 9:00 every morning, or he won't take a nap, and then is crabby and crazy! Both of kids have had a routine since birth, with the exception of set nap and bedtimes. They fall asleep when they get tired for naps, which could be anywhere between noon and 5 p.m., and they both go to bed when they get tired at night, which obviously depends on when their nap was. Typically they go to bed between 10 and 11:30 p.m. I am a stay at home mom, so I choose to stay up later with them at night and sleep in, in the morning. They are both good sleepers and happy children, so I don't see the point in forcing them to nap at a specific time when they aren't necessarily tired. :)

76 8

Routines, routines, routines, that's the key. I'm a follower of Tizzie Hall's Save Our Sleep methods but have relaxed them a bit as my daughter has become older. She's 19 months and sleeps between 11 and 12 hours at night, plus a 1.5 - 2.5 hour nap daily. According to the book, her naptime should be after lunch, but Ari chooses to sleep somewhere between 10 am and midday depending on what we're doing, but it works out alright. In the morning, if she wakes up after less than 11 hours 45 mins of sleep (i.e., before 6:45 am) I go to her room and lay her down again in her cot and tell her it's still time to sleep. Then I leave the room, close the door, and go back to sleep. She might complain for a few seconds, but then she just goes back to sleep.

18 26

My 3 year old daughter has never followed a sleep routine until this school year. We decided to put her in a 3 year old preschool, which is from 7:40am to 11:10am. When she get out of school, we feed her and change her clothes then she's sleep by 12:30pm. I usually wake her between 3:00pm and 4:00 depending on what activities she has that day. She take's a bath around 8:00pm and falls a sleep between 10:00pm and 11:00pm. These new busy days have really helped me.

1 17

First of all I wouldnt say a "normal toddler" sleeping habits. All toddlers are different and will all have different sleep patterns. Not all toddlers need the typical 12hrs that parents think. I have two children, one aged 4 and the other aged 2. My eldest will sleep at least between 11 and 13 hrs, he always has done. My youngest on the the other hand has never been a good sleeper and will only sleep between 8 and 10hrs. Both have a strict bedtime routine. I've asked many people about what can I do to get him to sleep longer and everytime I have been told the same thing, he clearly doesn't need 12hrs sleep. He eats well and is learning well so it's not affecting him mentally. Cutting naps out didn't make a difference either.
So my advice would be try not to worry about what the "normal toddler sleep time" is and work out how much sleep your toddler needs to function. That combined with a balanced diet, good bedtime routine, exercise and making sure your toddler doesn't nap too late will hopefully lead to your toddler sleeping better and eventually longer.

674 12

I almost feel at this point there's no need to add my input. But being a mom of twins, I started with a strict bedtime routine early, mostly to keep my sanity! Even though i've hit some bumps in the road with their willingness to go to bed, i've found that consistency wins everytime. I don't know about everyone else, but if my boys don't get all the sleep they need, everyone will be miserable! lol And like all of you other moms say, all kids need different amounts of sleep. With their nap, mine still sleep 13-15 hours a day.

0 16

Be more consistent. I found out that allowing my children to nap and sleep when they want would not be the best idea for the future! It's harder to get in routine when you allow them to do that. So they are up by 7am nap between 12pm and 3pm up before 4pm and bath and bed by 8:30pm! It works for normal day to day activities and some work schedules!

1 3

My 2 year old has always been a good sleeper & would easily sleep in untill 11am if I let him, but around a year ago he started getting fussy with his bedtimes, so I started a bedtime routine. About an hour & a half before bedtime I bath him & read stories while he's in there. While I'm getting him dry & into his pjs we watch a film (his favourite is Rio atm). I talk about things were going to do tomorrow and say its bedtime now. Put him in bed read a story and ask him what he would like whether it be warm milk etc and say ill be back in a minute you close your eyes and go to sleep, mummy loves you and within 5 mins he's asleep! :) sometimes he gets upset in which case I bring him his milk but I try not to let him go to bed with his beaker but its working great for me! The routine was the best thing I did. By half 8, he's asleep and I still have enough energy to tidy up and relax

15 39

I am happy to read other moms posting that they are letting their kids go to bed later. My hubby and I have always had a later schedule sp when my 2 YO was born we were happy if she was sleeping by midnight, now when I tell some moms that they look at me like I'm crazy. It's 10am now ad my daughter is still sleeping and she went to bed around 1030 lastnight. I never was a morning person and I don't see a reason to have to put my girl to bed at 630pm. Do what works best for your family right, and don't let others judge whats right for you and your family :)

4 1

my daughter is 21 months old she has a nap around 1pm and 4 pm for 1-3 hours. shes up till around 9 sometime 11pm. and she doesnt sleep through the night at all. the only way she sleeps through the night is if she sleep with me. I know its a bad habbit but if i didnt let her sleep in my bed she would stay up and scream and scream. ( she wakes up around 830/10:00) at the latest

6 51

Bath time with lavender is great. The warm water and the gentle wrap of a towel works. Singing with the lights out always worked for me too. I still do it and my boys are almost 9 and 10. Good luck

80 10

I was harrassed by my maternal nurse for not getting my new born to sleep long times during the day yet she slept long at night, I even had the sleep nurse come out and watch and she came to the conclusion that my child was not tired! Every child is different so I just followed what my child signalls were - it's one less arguement I want to have. I still have a basic routine which is by what she wants and needs. I always try to have a quiet day at home in between days that I'm out just to keep the routine. Since putting her in childcare her pattern is very similar which is good. She still needs an afternoon nap 12- 2/3 or whenever she wakes, then bedtime is normally 8.30 or 9 on hot nights. We also found giving her a cold shower or bath before bed during summer helps her to sleep right thru, we have always done this when she was a baby and it works a treat!

38 0

I have 22 month old twin boys. They have been sleeping about 11-12 hours a night and 2 hours in the afternoon for their nap.
Lately, one of them has been waking up in the middle of the night crying......repeatedly. I talked to the doctor about it and she said that is normal for toddlers between 21 and 23 to go through a sleep pattern change and also start having night terrors.
It makes me very sad thinking that toddlers can already have such terrible nightmares. What can they possibly dream about? And worse...they can't even tell us. :(

1 17

My eldest had a period of night terrors. It's horrible seeing them so upset. I found that some things in his room was making shadows that he said were scary so moved them around and that seemed to help him as well as a night light which switched to a tourch. I was told that the best thing to do was to just reassure him then come away, it was hard to do as it was unlike him but it didn't last too long. I should imagine that you worry about him waking his brother. It shouldn't last long which is a good thing. :-)

View More
5 27

Once your child has made the transition from infant to toddler, it's really time to establish a routine. If you fail to do this you may end up with a toddler who dictates the sleeping schedule for the rest of the household. They need around 12 hours of sleep at night and some may require a 1-2 hour nap at some point during the day. Set a bedtime and stick with it. It will be tough at first but stick with it and make it clear bedtime is bedtime. It's fine to go in an reassure them that you are there and everything is okay but remind them that it's sleepytime.


Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms