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—no more squeezing fun outings between three or four naps.
On the other hand, fewer naps also means fewer breaks. No matter how erratic or short those naps could be, they were often a welcome source of time alone.
But perhaps the hardest adjustment to the toddler stage is establishing a 1 year old nap schedule.
You know how it goes: some days, your child needs a nap, while on others, he’s totally fine without one. Or maybe he 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 he often wakes up cranky.
The worst part? The lack of structure or sleep causes him to wake up two or three times a night crying, especially on those days when he doesn’t nap well.
No wonder you feel like you don’t know what to do. Even if you’ve always relied on schedules, you might feel overwhelmed adjusting to your baby-turned-toddler’s changing needs.
Free resource: 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 he naps. You’ll also get my newsletters, which readers LOVE:
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1 year old nap schedule examples
Over time, I learned 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 daily structure, including:
- how long your child sleeps
- the time he wakes up
- any events during the day
- the time he goes to bed
- temporary changes like vacations or getting sick
Another question is how long your 1 year old should nap for. Assuming he’s sleeping well at night, below are the hours he should be napping throughout the day, based on his 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
- 9:15 am – 10:45 am: First nap
- 1:45 pm – 3:15 pm: Second nap
- 6:15 pm: Bedtime
- 6:30 am: Wake up
- 9:30 am – 11 am: First nap
- 3 pm – 4:30 pm: Second nap
- 7:30 pm: Bedtime
- 6 am: Wake up
- 9 am – 10:30 am: First nap
- 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Second nap
- 7pm: Bedtime
One-nap schedule examples
Many toddlers will drop to one nap around 14-18 months old. Here’s how your day can look like when that happens:
- 7 am: Wake up
- 12 pm – 2 pm: Nap
- 7 pm: Bedtime
- 8 am: Wake up
- 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Nap
- 8pm: Bedtime
- 6:45 am: Wake up
- 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Nap
- 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 he’s taking two naps a day, aim to have 3 to 4 hours of awake time between sleep. If he’s taking one nap a day, aim for 4 to 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 his tiredness.
- Find ways to fill his awake time with activities to tire him 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 him sleep in the car when out on short drives, as this can make it harder for him to take a nap once you get home. Talk to him in the car, or give him a toy to play with or even a snack to eat to keep him 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.
But a 1 year old nap schedule also needs to be flexible—after all, kids aren’t robots. Life happens, like when he takes a 30-minute nap one day, and a three-hour nap the next. When the car wash took longer than you expected, or he 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 far from your usual routine.
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
Don’t forget: 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 he naps. Join my newsletter and grab your copy below: