Although toddlers should be able to sleep through the night, many are waking and wrecking havoc at bedtime and during the night. Your toddler needs 12 hours sleep at night and one two-hour midday sleep.

Routines for 9-12 months

A good day sleep and feeding routine assists good night sleep habits:

Day sleep routine:

  • Wake between 5 and 7am
  • Wake +2 ½ hours = morning nap – 45 minutes
  • Wake +2 ½ hours = midday sleep
  • From 9 months – drop afternoon nap
  • Wake from naps by 4pm i.e. very short cat nap if needed
  • Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed
  • Bedtime by 6:30

Routines for toddlers

By now a routine should be a way of life and will free you up in many ways:

Day sleep routine:

  • 6-7am Wake
  • 11:30 lunch
  • 12pm – one midday sleep
  • Wake from sleep by 3pm
  • Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed
  • Bedtime by 6:30- 7pm

Managing disruptions

Health and sleep

Due to the exposure to germs at day care and with friends, many toddlers become ill repeatedly. Ear infections, hospitalisations and worm infestations are amongst then three health issues that really can affect your toddler’s sleep. Deworm your toddler and preschooler regularly. If you suspect ear infections as a cause of night waking, have your doctor check your baby to ensure he is comfortable at night.

Boundaries and behaviour

By far the most common cause of nighttime disruption in the toddler years is simply because a toddler is exerting his will.

It is important to set boundaries clearly, and negotiations can happen within these predetermined boundaries. Your toddler needs to understand clearly the sleep boundaries you have for him. Boundaries include where your toddler sleeps, how many books you read before bedtime and what nutrition he can have at night.