Setting A Great Nap Schedule For Your Child (From Infant To Toddler)

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There are so many problems both medically and behaviorally that could be solved if we could just ask our babies a question and they could give us an honest and reasoned response. However, since they can’t (or won’t!) then we have to make do with our best and most educated guess, as their parents. While this makes setting your child’s nap schedule a little more difficult, it isn’t beyond our means. In today’s article, we’re going to cover some best practices for when it comes to getting your child the best possible amount of sleep between their scheduled naps and nighttime sleep. Sound off in the comments with your recommendations and experiences with your own nap and sleep challenges or successes! We’d love to hear from you.  

How Much Sleep Should A Child Be Getting Each Day?

The question is rather simple and straightforward, but the answer is pretty complicated. It boils down to one phrase: it depends. There are a number of factors that go into determining the number of hours that a child will need each day, the most important of which is their age. Here is a handy quick reference guide for you to use when determining a good baseline for the amount of nap time plus overnight sleep time your child should be getting. 

  • Age: 7 – 8 months
    • Daytime: 2 – 3 naps (2 is ideal) 3 – 4 hrs
    • Night: 11 – 12 hrs
  • Age: 9 – 12 months
    • Daytime: 2 naps for 2.5 – 3.5 hrs
    • Night: 11 – 11.5 hrs
  • Age: 13 – 17 months
    • Daytime: 1 – 2 naps (ideally 2 naps until 15 – 16 months) for 2 – 2.5 hrs
    • Night: 10.5 – 11.5 hrs
  • Age: 18 months to 3 years
    • Daytime: 1 nap 1 – 3 hrs 
    • Night: 11+ hrs.


Keep in mind that night sleep duration depends on the day’s total nap duration. The more sleep they get in the day, the less sleep they will need that night and vice versa. 

A Great Tool For Your Toddler: Multi-Use Stoplight Clock

This stoplight is a great tool that can be helpful for toddlers to understand when they should be asleep, playing quietly/resting in their bed and when they can get up for the day. You can set specific times for it that are consistent daily. This tool works great for the 2-3 year age range because they are learning about safety and what red, yellow, and green mean.

Red – in bed asleep

Yellow – quietly playing or resting in their room

Green – can be up for the day or up from their nap.

We recommend this one: It’s About Time Stoplight Sleep Enhancing Alarm Clock for Kids – and this one: Kadams Visual Timer for Kids with Audio Alarm –

Beware Of Nap Strikes. Here Are The Signs.

A natural part of any rebellious 2 year old’s repertoire are nap strikes, and they can happen at any time. Here are the warning signs to look out for. Keep in mind that even if they are saying they don’t want a nap or are refusing, they still need to take one for their health!

1) Wake for the day is very early

2) Resistance going down to bed 

3) Struggling to fall asleep at naptime

4) Have to wake from nap consistently and child is very cranky after that point

5) Nap time put down is later than 1 pm

Parting Thoughts
Establishing the perfect napping routine for your child can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. We hope these tips have helped you along your journey. If you have any questions about helping your baby to sleep better, developing a conducive routine for your baby that works with your life, or about your baby in general, please reach out to us HERE. We are experts in all things baby and sleep and would love to help!

If you have questions about your child, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to help. Please reach out to us here! We always look forward to hearing from you.

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The content contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or to replace the advice of any medical professional. It is based on our opinions and experience working with newborns and their families. Other’s opinions may vary. It does not represent the views of any affiliated organizations. The reader understands that the term “Babynurse” is often a word used to describe a newborn caregiver. However, unless otherwise disclosed, we are not licensed nurses in any state. By reading and/or utilizing any information or suggestions contained in this blog, the reader acknowledges that we are not medical professionals and agrees to and waives any claim, known or unknown, past, present or future. This blog may contain affiliate links.
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