How To Establish A Good Sleeping Routine For Toddlers?

Written by Blessing Ifunanya Maduelosi on Mon, 18 December 2023

Key Highlights

  • Establishing a good sleep routine is crucial for a toddler's health and overall well-being. Lack of adequate sleep can lead to crankiness and difficulty sleeping at night.
  • Toddlers in the 12 to 36 months age range typically need 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day. By this age, toddlers can sleep at night without waking frequently and may take one to two naps during the day.
  • A predictable sleep routine helps toddlers understand the pattern and reduces overall stress. Steps to establish a good routine include having a healthy dinner, avoiding screen time before bed, engaging in physical activity, bathing and massage, brushing before sleeping, reading bedtime stories, and maintaining consistent sleeping times.
  • Planning a breastfeeding/bottle-feeding session before bedtime is recommended, and the quality of food can impact sleep duration.
  • Energy-rich foods might lead to shorter sleep duration.
  • Avoiding screen time before bedtime is important as it can stimulate brain activity and reduce melatonin production.
  • Encouraging physical activity during the day positively influences sleep quality.
  • Bedtime rituals like warm water baths, teeth brushing, and bedtime stories are extremely helpful.
  • A well-established sleep routine not only improves sleep but also enhances a child's mood, emotional-behavioral regulation, and language development. It contributes to reduced family stress levels and positive maternal mood.
  • A sound sleep routine is essential for a happy and healthy toddler, positively impacting various aspects of their development and well-being.

Are You Struggling With Getting Your Baby to Sleep?

Are you a new parent? Have you struggled with the sleep routine of your newborn initially? Well, if your baby is a toddler now, it is time to set a good sleep routine. Sleep is quite essential in establishing your toddler’s health and overall well-being. It is a good idea to set their sleep routine as early as you can.

Lack of adequate sleep can make children cranky the following day. They get overtired due to lack of sleep and other activities. As a result, they find it difficult to have a sound sleep at night. Therefore, setting a sleep routine early can help your child in their growing age.

Sleep Routine Of A 12–36-Month-Old Child

Sleep Routine Of A 12–36-Month-Old Child

Toddlers aged between 12 to 36 months sleep for 11 to 14 hours in a day.2 By this age, they learn to sleep better. At night, they sleep at a stretch without waking often. Additionally, they also take one to two naps during the daytime.

Based on their sleeping pattern and required time, you can set their sleeping routine that can benefit them as well as you.

Setting A Good Sleeping Routine

When you set a predictable sleeping routine for your toddler, they will understand the pattern and get adapted to it. Additionally, you will observe a reduction in overall stress by getting enough sleep at night. You can follow these steps to form a good sleeping routine for them.

1. Healthy Dinner Before Sleeping

You should plan a breastfeeding/bottle-feeding session with your baby before putting them to sleep. According to some studies, food habits can affect the quality of sleep. Additionally, you can set their dinnertime well before their set sleeping time. When you give your baby energy-rich foods, they tend to have shorter sleep duration.

2. Avoid Screen Time

You should avoid giving screen time on devices like mobiles, televisions and tablets, especially before bedtime. Screen time can stimulate brain activity and reduces melatonin production which is responsible for sleep.

3. Indulging Your Toddler in Physical Activity

When your toddler indulges in daytime physical activities, it will help in improving their sleep quality for better. Physical activity positively channels the child’s high energy levels and promotes good sleep quality.

4. Bathing And Massage

Bathing And Massage

A warm water bath followed by massaging your baby with a lotion relaxes their body and hyperactive mind. It results in less bedtime resistance and falling asleep quickly.

5. Brushing Before Sleeping

Brushing before bedtime is another routine that is beneficial for your toddlers. You as a parent should ensure that your child follows this habit. At this age, oral health also plays an important role in a child’s overall health. Therefore, brushing before going to bed must be included in the sleeping routine.

6. Reading Bedtime Stories

Reading your child bedtime stories before going to bed can help them develop good language commands. It also helps them with their social-emotional skills. You can also tell them made-up stories with voice modulation or sing lullabies. This will also help to build a stronger bond with them.

7. Maintaining Sleeping Time

At last, going to bed at the same time every day is a good sleeping habit and should be incorporated into a sleeping routine. This habit can be started when your baby is an infant. Although, making them sleep at the same time every day is a daunting task, maintaining the time will help them unwind from the day. You can also have a set routine for nap time. You can encourage your toddler for bedtime 15 to 20 minutes before they start yawning or rubbing their eyes.

Conclusion: Sound Sleep, Happy Baby!

Having a good sleeping routine not only improves sleep but also helps in a child’s overall well-being. It improves their mood, emotional-behavioural regulation, and language development. Additionally, it also reduces the family’s stress level and positive maternal mood.


Blessing Ifunanya Maduelosi

Blessing Ifunanya Maduelosi is a pharmacist by profession; her health credentials include a BPharm (Bachelor of Pharmacy). Blessing is a resident of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

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