Every toddler is different, but following some basic sleep guidelines can keep your toddler healthy and happy—as well as do wonders for your sanity.
The total number of hours your child sleeps is incredibly important. Even losing just one hour of appropriate sleep time will compromise a child’s alertness and brain functioning as well as increase fatigue in the early evening (and as you probably know too well, a tired toddler equals a cranky toddler). Start with a nighttime bedtime routine, then aim for 11 to 12 hours of sleep at night, plus one or two daily naps, which will add another one to two hours of sleep to your child’s total. So if your toddler gets up at 7 a.m., a morning nap at 10 a.m. and an afternoon nap at 2 p.m. might work well. When your toddler transitions to just one nap (usually when they’re between 12 and 18 months), cut the difference in the middle: Plan a nap around 12 p.m.
Thirteen to 14 hours of sleep a day might seem like a lot to you, but it’s essential for your child’s growing body and brain development. And don’t forget that you should sleep for seven to nine hours too—a well-rested parent is just as important as a well-rested toddler.
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