Struggling with your toddler’s sleep problems and naps? Discover several daily examples of a 1 year old nap schedule that actually work and are easy to customize to your needs.
Sometimes losing sleep is healthy (now there’s a novel thought!).
Because at some point after turning one, most toddlers will drop to one or two naps a day, far less than the frequent naps they’d taken as an infant.
For us parents, fewer naps can be both good and bad.
With naps often a source of frustration (especially skipped ones), we’re glad to have fewer of them. We’re also freer to do more things during the day. After all, trying to squeeze fun outings between three or four naps isn’t exactly easy.
On the other hand, fewer naps also means fewer breaks. No matter how erratic or short those naps could be, they were a welcome source of alone time.
But perhaps the harder adjustment to the toddler stage is establishing a 1 year old nap schedule.
You know how it goes: your child sometimes needs a nap, but other times she’s totally fine without it. Or maybe she fights taking a nap, but then is grumpy the rest of the day from being awake so long.
Then when you try to adjust for less sleep, the quality of the naps goes down—they’re short and fitful, and she often wakes up cranky.
The worst part? When the lack of structure or sleep causes her to wake up two or three times a night crying, especially on those days when she takes fewer naps.
No wonder we feel like we didn’t know what to do. If you’ve always relied on schedules, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to adjust your baby-turned-toddler’s schedule with these changes.
Do you struggle with getting your child to take a nap? Download my PDF, The Five Habits That Will Make Your Child’s Naps Easier! Discover the five steps you need to do to finally get a break while your child naps. You’ll also get my newsletters, which readers LOVE:
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1 year old nap schedule examples
Over time, I realized one crucial lesson: schedules are more flexible than they seem.
In fact, below I’ll share many sleep samples of a 1 year old nap schedule. Many factors influence your sleep schedule, including:
- how long your toddler sleeps
- the time she wakes up
- any events during the day
- the time she goes to bed
- temporary changes like vacations or getting sick
And how long should your 1 year old nap for? Assuming she’s sleeping well at night, below are the hours she should be napping during the day, based on her age:
- 12 month old: 2-2.5 hours
- 18 months old: 1.5-2 hours
- 24 months old: 1.25-1.5 hours*
Hopefully with these examples of both one- and two-nap schedules, you can find one that works for you:
Two-nap schedule examples
- 6:15 am: Wake up and awake for 3 hours
- 9:15 am: First nap for 1.5 hours
- 10:45 am: Wake up and awake for 3 hours
- 1:45 pm: Second nap for 1.5 hours
- 3:15 pm: Wake up and awake for 3 hours
- 6:15 pm: Bedtime
- 6:30 am: Wake up and awake for 3 hours
- 9:30 am: First nap for 1.5 hours
- 11am: Wake up and awake for 4 hours
- 3pm: Second nap for 1.5 hours
- 4:30 pm: Wake up and awake for 3 hours
- 7:30 pm: Bedtime
- 6am: Wake up and awake for 3 hours
- 9am: First nap for 1.5 hours
- 10:30 am: Wake up and awake for 4 hours
- 2:30 pm: Second nap for 1 hour
- 3:30 pm: Wake up and awake for 3.5 hours
- 7pm: Bedtime
One-nap schedule examples
Many toddlers will drop to one nap at around 14-18 months old. Here’s how your day can look like when that happens:
- 7am: Wake up and awake for 5 hours
- 12pm: Nap for 2 hours
- 2pm: Wake up and awake for 5 hours
- 7pm: Bedtime
- 8am: Wake up and awake for 4.5 hours
- 12:30 pm: Nap for 2 hours
- 2:30 pm: Wake up and awake for 5.5 hours
- 8pm: Bedtime
- 6:45 am: Wake up and awake for 5.75 hours
- 12:30 pm: Nap for 1—2 hours
- 1:30 or 2:30pm: Wake up and awake for 5—6 hours
- 6:45 pm: Bedtime
Best practices for nap time
Take a look at this video (or read the tips below) for nap time best practices:
- Rather than going by the clock, you can also adjust naps depending on how long your child has been awake and asleep. For instance, if your toddler is taking two naps a day, aim to have 3—4 hours of awake time between sleep. If she’s taking one nap a day, aim for 4—6 hours of awake time instead.
- If any of the naps were shorter than usual, move the next nap, or even bedtime, sooner to accommodate your toddler’s tiredness.
- Find ways to fill your toddler’s awake time with activities to tire her out. Activities like the YMCA, play dates, park outings, library story time, eating at a restaurant, or running errands are a few examples.
- Try not to let your toddler sleep in the car when out on short drives, as this can make it harder for her to take a nap once you get home. Talk to her in the car, give her a toy to play with, or even a snack to eat to keep her awake.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about a 1 year old nap schedule, it’s that we need to be both consistent and flexible. Consistency gives your toddler the familiarity to know what to expect, and you the structure you need to feel organized, not overwhelmed.
But a 1 year old nap schedule also needs to be flexible. Because kids aren’t robots. Life happens, like when she takes a 30-minute nap one day, and a three-hour nap the next. When the car wash took longer than you expected, or your child slept in the car on the way home from the library.
Aim for consistency, knowing it’s that regularity that will help buffer those days when you’re so far from your usual routine.
Featured reader question
“My son goes to sleep between 10 and 11, wakes up between 10 and 11, and takes one nap a day, usually between 1 and 2.
But lately he has been waking up in the middle of the night screaming, and it is hard to calm him down and put him to sleep. I have had to let him cry it out a little bit lately. What am I doing wrong?”
Most likely nothing! Often kids go through developmental milestones, from separation anxiety to new fears, that cause them to wake up in the middle of the night.
Try to respond with compassion without inflating the situation (so he doesn’t think there actually IS something to worry about). I’d also try moving his bedtime up earlier, perhaps to 8:30pm, to see if that helps.
Get more tips:
- What to Do When You’re Dealing with 1 Year Old Tantrums Already
- Helping Your Toddler Transition from Two Naps to One
- What You Need to Do When Your Toddler Won’t Nap
- How to Wake Up a Toddler Peacefully from a Nap
- What to Do When Your Toddler Is Hysterical at Bedtime
Do you struggle with getting your child to take a nap? Download my PDF, The Five Habits That Will Make Your Child’s Naps Easier! Discover the five steps you need to do to finally get a break while your child naps. Join my newsletter and grab your copy below: