Toddler sleep milestones: What to expect and how to help

Baby sleep milestones are talked about often, but what about when your little one gets a little older? By the time they reach one toddlers generally sleep 10 to 14 hours in a 24-hour period, including daytime naps of one to three hours.

Here are some of the toddler sleep milestones to be aware of as your child grows.

Toddler Sleep Milestones: Years 1-3

One Long Nap

When they turn one, your toddler might still be napping twice a day. But around this time, you may find that the first nap of the day gets longer and starts later. This often indicates that you can drop the second nap completely, transitioning to one longer nap per day. This process can take several weeks or even a few months. Toddlers typically continue napping once a day until they are 3.5-5 years old.

Sleeping Longer at Night

Many toddlers continue waking at night, and this is totally normal. Their brains are undergoing significant development during this stage, which can make sleep difficult. As they transition to sleeping longer stretches and sleeping more soundly, they may develop nighttime fears. Be sure you continue having a strong bedtime routine, and give your toddler plenty of comfort and cuddles before bed and if they do wake in the night. 

Climbing Out of the Crib

While this milestone is not really a good thing, it’s likely to happen with many toddlers. It is an important milestone in their gross motor development and a sign that it may be time to transition to a toddler bed.  

Climbing out of a crib can lead to injury from a fall, as well as injury or chaos from unsupervised exploration and playtime in the child’s bedroom or the house. Make sure toddler rooms are completely baby-proofed.

Moving to a Toddler Bed

Remember that all children reach developmental milestones at different ages, and this is true for the toddler bed transition. But generally speaking, this happens by the time toddlers are 3 years old. Exactly when this transition should happen depends on three key factors: if they’re ready for it, if you’re ready for it, and giving everyone plenty of time to adjust. Read more about toddler bed transitions here.

Sleeping With a Pillow and Blanket

When your toddler transitions out of their crib to a bed you can safely introduce a pillow, blankets, and other bedding. At this point, they can also have stuffed animals in bed with them, which may help with nighttime anxiety. Your toddler’s risk of SIDS or suffocation is greatly reduced after they transition to a bed. However, remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend letting toddlers under the age of 2 use a pillow, so keep this in mind.

Creating a “Big Kid” Room

While some of these toddler sleep milestones can be rough, and they may take time, celebrate these transitions in your toddler’s life! While a crib suggests a nursery, a toddler bed makes it a “big kid” room. Let your toddler help you pick out new bedding and accessories to make their upgraded room feel extra special to reflect their personality, interests, and favorite colors.

Have you seen any of these milestones in your toddler yet?