Can you believe a whole year has gone by since you first welcomed your baby into the world?
And now they’re not a baby anymore — they’re a toddler!
But, with all that zooming around, they’ll still benefit from a balanced 12-month-old sleep schedule to keep them well-rested.
In fact, even though your little one has officially reached toddlerhood, their sleep needs are very similar to what they have been over the last couple of months.
So, rather than thinking of a one-year-old sleep schedule as a completely new start, think of it as a continuation of your existing routine.
Let’s take a closer look.
In this article: 📝
- What does a 12-month-old sleep schedule look like?
- How much awake time in a 1-year-old schedule?
- How much sleep does a 1-year-old need?
- How many naps should a 1-year-old take?
- What time should 12-month-old go to bed?
- Sleep tips for 1-year-olds
What does a 12-month-old sleep schedule look like?
Well, every baby is different, but generally, your 12-month-old may have you up at the crack of dawn for another exciting day of exploration, so they might need an early night to allow for their ideal 10 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep.
But you might be lucky with a baby who sleeps in a bit!
If your babe has always done well with a slightly later bedtime, that’s likely to continue for them but we still want to aim for that 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep depending on their sleep needs.
Keeping a morning and an afternoon nap as part of your 12-month-old daily schedule is usually recommended.
At some point over the coming year, they’ll be ready to transition to a one-nap schedule, but usually, that’s not until they’re at least 13 months or older.
How much awake time in a 1-year-old schedule?
Your toddler may need a little more awake time now.
To help them sleep soundly during their naps and at night, they need plenty of opportunities to burn off energy.
So, while before you might have been aiming for wakeful periods of 3 to 3.75 hours (between naps and before bedtime), now you could aim for 3.25 to 5 hours depending on their wake window threshold.
Typically, your toddler’s shortest awake time will be before their morning nap, and then they’ll be awake for progressively longer periods as the day goes on, ready for fun and games!
How much sleep does a 1-year-old need?
Your babe’s first birthday is a special milestone, but it doesn’t affect their sleep needs all that much.
They might be awake for a little longer at any one time, but they still need a similar amount of sleep to what they were getting at 10 and 11 months old.
Ideally, your baby will be snoozing for 12-14 hours per day in total.
That’s 10 to 12 hours at night and 2 to 3 hours during the day (over two nap times).
If you’ve taken the route of extending awake times between naps, you might find that bedtime is pushed back slightly later, leading to a shorter night’s sleep.
But if your toddler is getting at least 10 hours at night, they should be fine.
How many naps should a 1-year-old take?
A typical 1-year-old nap schedule has two naps: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Even if your toddler is starting to resist the two-nap routine, it’s important to try to stick with it — in fact, this study suggests they have a positive effect on your 12-month-old’s developing memory.
If you are finding that your toddler is happily taking their morning nap but fighting their second nap, it may be time to shorten your morning nap by capping it to build up some extra sleep pressure and encourage them to take a second nap.
Although it can happen, they probably won’t be fully ready to go down to one nap until they’re at least 13 months old.
Some one-year-olds find this change a challenge, but most do adjust to it after a couple of weeks.
And how long should a 1-year-old nap for?
Well, that will depend on their unique sleep needs.
It can be helpful to calculate your child’s 24-hour sleep average and overnight sleep average to get an idea of how much daytime sleep they need for optimal sleep.
If your toddler is resisting one of their naps, it might help to lengthen their periods of wakefulness between naps.
That will give them longer to burn off extra energy so they feel ready for their naptime when it arrives.
Here’s what a 12-month-old nap schedule might look like with these longer awake times:
- 6:00am Wake up from night-time sleep
- 9:30 to 10:30am Morning nap
- 2:15 to 3:45pm Afternoon nap
- 7:15pm Bedtime routine
- 7:45pm Sleep
What time should 12-month-old go to bed?
The best bedtime for a 12-month-old will depend on what time they get up in the morning.
Essentially, the earlier they get up, the earlier they’ll need to go to bed to get their recommended 10 to 12 hours sleep.
So, to work out what time you should be tucking them in, take their morning waking-up time and count forward 12 to 14 hours.
For example, a toddler who’s up and about at 6:30am will need to go to bed at 6:30 to 8:30pm to get the ideal amount of sleep.
Sleep tips for 1-year-olds
Many 1-year-olds can sleep through the night now but some will still wake up seeking contact and connection or even a feed, depending on how much they ate during the day.
If your toddler hasn’t quite managed to go it alone yet, or they’re going through a “sleep regression” (or “developmental progression”, as gentle sleep expert Alicia Dyshon calls it), you might wonder if there’s anything you can do to help.
Try these tips for a good night’s sleep at 12 months old:
- Keep up the bedtime routine. Predictability and consistency are your toddler’s best friends right now. Even if they’re going through a sleep regression and the nighttime is a struggle for both of you, try to continue your usual calming bedtime routine (it’s scientifically proven to improve their sleep, language development, emotional and behavioral regulation, and their relationship with you, mama).
- Put away screens before bed. The electronic light from your tablet or phone works like a wake-up call for your baby’s brain, so they’re best avoided in the run-up to bedtime.
- Create a restful environment where your baby sleeps. Make sure it’s dark enough, that baby’s properly dressed, and that the temperature is right. You could also play some soothing sounds, like white noise or lullabies.
- Focus on nailing down your child’s unique sleep needs to help with nighttime consolidation. As much as we love to give you ideas on what your toddler’s sleep schedule should look like, these are just averages — your toddler is unique. Following “age-appropriate” schedules might not work for them (and that’s okay). Experiment with nap lengths and wake windows in 15-minute increments to find the sweet spot for consolidation. Calculate their 24-hour sleep average to determine if they have lower or higher sleep needs.
And you can always ask the other moms of Peanut for their 12-month-old sleep schedule tips!
Wishing you and your toddler a peaceful night, mama. 😴