Your Perfect Daily Schedule for an 18-Month-Old

A Quick Overview

How do you fill an entire day with an 18-month-old?

An 18-month-old’s day can be filled with a mix of activities including play, quiet reading times, structured activities and spontaneous fun. Learn more…

How many naps a day does an 18-month-old need?

Typically, an 18-month-old requires one to two naps per day. Click here for tips to help your child sleep…

What is the maximum time an 18-month-old should stay awake?

It’s recommended that an 18-month-old should stay awake for about 3-4 hours between sleep times to promote healthy sleep patterns. You can find more information here…

Coming up with a daily schedule for an 18-month-old can be very challenging. However, both you and your child can benefit from a structured routine in the long run.

With a well-thought-out daily schedule, you can turn every day into a fulfilling journey of learning and fun. This guide will help you create an engaging, age-appropriate schedule that promotes balanced development while taking into account your toddler’s ever-changing needs.

Daily Schedule for an 18-Month-Old: Activities

Never underestimate the importance of physical activity outside.

Keeping an 18-month-old busy can sometimes be a challenge. At this age, your toddler is likely to be full of energy and curiosity, and will need a variety of activities to keep them occupied and engaged. Here are some fun, developmentally appropriate activities to fill your toddler’s day:

  • Finger painting: Let your toddler explore different colours and textures with non-toxic paints. It’s messy but great for sensory development!
  • Play dough: Squeezing and shaping playdough can be a great way to strengthen your toddler’s hand muscles and encourage imaginative play.
  • Dance parties: Put on some toddler-friendly tunes and have a dance-off. It’s a fun way to get them moving and develop their gross motor skills.
  • Outdoor adventures: Explore the local playground or go on a nature walk. Playing outdoors encourages curiosity about the world and helps develop physical skills.
  • Sorting games: Use colourful objects such as blocks or pom-poms. Sorting by colour, shape or size can help develop your toddler’s cognitive skills.
  • Reading time: Reading to your child can help with language acquisition and encourage a love of reading.
  • Provide open-ended toys: Toys such as blocks, dolls or toy cars encourage independent, imaginative play.
  • Water play: Pouring and splashing water in the bathtub or a sensory bin can be incredibly engaging for your toddler.
  • Texture exploration: Create a texture board or bag with various materials like silk, sandpaper, cotton balls, etc., for your toddler to explore.
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Dont’t forget to create a safe play area. Make sure the area is baby-proofed and filled with age-appropriate toys. This will allow your toddler to explore and play safely under your supervision.

Daily Schedule for an 18-Month-Old: Naps and Bedtime

At 18 months, naps should becone less frequent.

The transition from babyhood to toddlerhood brings significant changes to an 18-month-old’s sleep patterns. At this age, sleep continues to play a critical role in their physical growth, cognitive development and emotional well-being. Here’s what you need to know about your 18-month-old’s sleep patterns and how to promote healthy sleep habits.

Around the 18-month mark, many toddlers begin to transition from two daily naps to one. This doesn’t happen overnight and can be a gradual process over several weeks or even months. Some of the key signs that your toddler is ready to drop a nap include:

  • Consistently refusing the morning or afternoon nap.
  • Having difficulty falling asleep at night due to late afternoon naps.
  • Staying awake for longer periods without showing signs of fatigue.
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Establishing an age-appropriate bedtime for your 18-month-old is crucial. Most toddlers do well with a bedtime between 7pm and 8pm. This may depend on your family’s schedule and your toddler’s individual needs. Here are some things to consider when setting a suitable bedtime:

  • Consistency: Keeping to the same bedtime every night helps regulate your child’s internal clock and promotes better sleep quality.
  • Bedtime routine: Incorporating a relaxing bedtime routine, such as a bath or bedtime story, can signal to your toddler that it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.

On average, an 18-month-old needs about 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. This includes sleep at night and naps during the day. The average length of a single daytime nap for an 18-month-old is 1-3 hours.

The waking period between naps for an 18-month-old should ideally be about 3-4 hours. Staying awake for too long can lead to fatigue, making it harder for your baby to fall asleep.

To promote healthy sleep patterns in your 18-month-old:

  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule. Regular bedtimes and wake times support your toddler’s circadian rhythm and enhance sleep quality.
  • Create a soothing sleep environment. A dark, quiet, and cool room can facilitate better sleep.
  • Encourage independent sleep. At this age, toddlers can learn to self-soothe and fall asleep independently. This skill is crucial for uninterrupted sleep through the night.
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What a Daily Schedule for an 18-Month-Old Could Look Like

Incorporating creative activities into your child’s day can be very beneficial.

Creating a balanced daily schedule for your 18-month-old can ensure that they get the right mix of activity, meals and rest. It also provides predictability, which can be reassuring for toddlers. Here’s an example of what a typical day might look like for an 18-month-old:

7:00am – Waking up and morning routine
Your toddler wakes up and starts the day. This time may include a nappy change, getting dressed and some cuddle time with you.

7.30am – Breakfast
Provide a nutritious breakfast to fuel the morning’s activities. This could include whole grains, fruit and dairy.

8:00 am – Morning play
Engage your toddler in active play or creative activities. This could be an outdoor activity, a craft project or even a dance party.

10:00 – Snack time
Offer a healthy snack to replenish energy. Fresh fruit, cheese or yoghurt are good choices.

10.30am – Independent play
Encourage some independent play time with age appropriate toys. This will give you some time to do chores while your toddler plays nearby.

12:00 – Lunch
Serve a balanced lunch that includes protein, vegetables and carbohydrates. Remember that toddlers often like to eat finger food.

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12.30pm – Story time
A calming pre-nap routine, such as reading a book, can signal to your toddler that it’s time to wind down.

13:00 – Nap time
Most 18-month-olds still need one nap a day, lasting between one and three hours.

3pm – Afternoon snack
Offer another snack as soon as your toddler wakes up. Healthy options include veggies and dip or a fruit smoothie.

3.30pm – Outdoor activity
If possible, use this time to play outside in the park or garden, or take a walk around the neighbourhood.

5.30pm – Dinner
Early dinner is often best for toddlers. Include a variety of food groups to ensure a balanced diet.

6pm – Bath and bedtime routine
A warm bath, brushing teeth and getting into pyjamas can be part of the bedtime routine.

6.30pm – Quiet play or reading
Engage in a quiet activity such as reading a book or doing a puzzle. This will help your toddler relax before bedtime.

7pm – Bedtime
Put your toddler to bed and say good night.

The Benefits of a Daily Schedule for an 18-Month-Old

With an engaging schedule for your 18-month-old, you can make the most of these formative years. Structured days offer your child a sense of security and predictability and can also reduce stress for parents.

While it’s beneficial to stick to a schedule, it’s also important to be flexible. Toddlers are unpredictable and their needs can change quickly. Adjust your routine as needed to keep the day running smoothly.


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