18 Month Schedule
This was our schedule at 18 months.
7:45 am Wake Up
He usually wakes up between 7 and 8 am. He is most often content rolling around in his crib and occasionally calling out mama. If he starts to really whine persistently or cry, I go get him, but I try to wait to get him out of his crib until as close to 8 as possible. It is usually between 7:45-8.
We take off sleep sack, change diaper, and he is ready for breakfast.
8 am Breakfast
If he is out of the crib significantly before 8, we play with him in his room or our room until 8. At 8 am, we go straight to the kitchen and cook breakfast. He doesn’t eat breakfast until 8 in order to encourage him to sleep in later (if he eats earlier, he might start waking earlier). We usually rotate between frozen waffles, bagels, pancakes, french toast, English muffins, breakfast sandwiches
Sometimes he has a yogurt/fruit smoothie with breakfast, especially if he is being picky and doesn’t seem into a carb-heavy breakfast.
He plays by himself while I clean up breakfast.
9 am Get Ready
We brush teeth, get dressed, etc. He plays while I get ready then I get him ready. If there is extra time, he plays with his toys.
10 am Activity
We do an activity during this time. Examples include going out to the park, grocery store, other errands, library story time, playgroups, classes, etc… If we stay home, we do art, cooking, house chores, or play with toys.
11:30 am Lunch
He likes to help cook lunch. Generally, he likes grilled cheese, mac n cheese, cheese, rice and beans, pizza, chicken nuggets (sometimes) fruits, smoothies, leftovers, or whatever I can think of to serve him/us.
1 pm Nap
We start winding down between 12:30-1. We go into his room, change his diaper, dim the lights, put on the sleep sack, turn on the sound machine, and read at least 3 books. He also usually wants some water so I bring his cup in to put him down. Then he goes into his crib and takes up to 20 minutes to fall asleep. He rarely cries so if he is crying he might need something. He sometimes whines for about 5 minutes but usually he calms himself down and goes right to sleep.
He usually naps 1.5-2 hours. If he wakes before 2 hours are up, I leave him in the crib unless he is really crying. This helps encourage him to take a longer nap.
3 pm Activity
I offer him a small snack and his water when he wakes up from nap. Then, we do an activity during this time. Examples include going out to the park, grocery store, other errands, library story time, playgroups, classes, etc… If we stay home, we do art, cooking, house chores, or play with toys,
5 pm Screen Time (weekdays) or Daddy play time (weekends)
During the week when I am alone with him, he gets screen time after his afternoon activity up until dinner time. I find that he gets very fussy from 5-6 pm and letting him watch Daniel Tiger or Curious George keeps him calm so I can prepare dinner. On the weekends, we use this time to stay out longer at an activity or for extra play time.
6 pm Dinner
Between 5:30-6, he eats dinner. I try to stretch him to 6 so we can all eat together, but he is often hungry earlier. Sometimes he eats as early as 5. For dinner, he eats whatever we are eating but is sometimes picky so if he won’t eat much of what we are having I often make him a yogurt smoothie so he can get some calories in before bed. If we are eating apart from him, I usually make him mac and cheese because it is his favorite!
6:30 pm Bath
After dinner he is usually a mess so we give him a bath. He loves bubble baths and playing with the measuring cups and with Thomas in the bath.
7 pm Bedtime
By around 7 we are usually putting on his nighttime diaper (for cloth diapers, he needs extra padding so he doesn’t get leaks), and winding down in his room. He sometimes gets to play until 7:30 depending on how tired we are. By 7:30 at the latest, we make sure he has a clean nighttime diaper, dim the lights, put on the sleep sack, turn on the sound machine, and read at least 3 books. He also usually wants some water so we bring his cup in to put him down. Then he goes into his crib and takes up to 20 minutes to fall asleep. He rarely cries so if he is crying he might need something. He sometimes whines for about 5 minutes but usually he calms himself down and goes right to sleep. We aim for him to be asleep by 8 pm.
Sleep Routine Summary
Around 6 pm Dinner/Bath
Between 7-7:30 pm (aim for him to be asleep by 8 pm)
for nap, we do this between 12:30-1 pm
- Turn on sound machine
- Clean diaper and put on sleep sack (we still use the sleep sack to deter him from climbing out of the crib)
- Brush Teeth
- Read books for 10-20 minutes until he is calm
- Turn off lights completely (he likes to do this) and hold him, sing song, and play music box
- Lay him in crib and tell him goodnight
If he cries, give him 5-15 minutes (depending on level of distress) to calm down before going back in to rock/comfort him. If necessary, repeat. Usually, going back in makes it worse unless there is some specific thing he needs like water, diaper, etc…