Do you have an energetic and super cute 18 (ish) month old? Here’s an awesome sample 18 month schedule or routine for toddlers.
- Newborn Sample Routine
- Sample 6 Month Schedule
- 9 to 12 Month Sample Schedule
- 18 Month Sample Schedule
- 2 Year Old Sample Schedule
- Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week by Week
I have a dear friend who is far more laid back than myself, and she told me even she likes to look at schedules though she doesn’t really keep one!
Love the honesty and self-awareness!
But honestly, I see the appeal. It’s good to know how others fill their day and what their kids get up to.
When you’re home all day with kids it can feel isolating and you begin to wonder if you’re the only one who spends 20 minutes making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or picking up hundreds of elastic bands because your daughter tried to rainbow loom even though she (nor you) know how to do that.
Sample 18 month routine
So here’s the basic routine I’ve had all my kids on. As soon as they dropped their morning nap, around 18 months, they all followed a similar schedule to this until they were 2 years old and even higher.
Some babies drop naps a lot earlier than 18 months and some will continue to have two naps. In my experience, I think that 18-month-olds can generally go with one nap, but still need a bit more sleep than their older siblings.
Get your toddler to follow their own routine without nagging by using these printable routine cards.
7:30 – 7:45 am – wake up + breakfast
8:30 – 9:30 am – free play, outside time
9:30 – 10:30 am – structured play, activity, more purposeful time
10:30 – 11:15-11:30 am – independent play time with age appropriate toys (why it’s important kids play on their own)
11:30 am – 12:15 pm – outside time, free play
12:15 pm – lunch
1:00 pm – nap
3:30 – 4:00 pm – wake up from nap and have a snack
4:00 – 5:30 pm – free play, screen time (for older siblings), outside time
5:30 – 6:00 pm – dinner
6:00 – 6:45 pm – bath, get on pajamas, wind down
6:45 – 7:00 pm – read books, pray, sing
7:00 pm – bed
An important thing to point out here, before we go any further, is that appropriate times can account for a lot. They can account for over-tiredness and even bedtime battles.
Having an age appropriate routines makes all the difference.
I use this term loosely to mean that I engage with the kids on purpose. Sometimes we do any type of preschool curriculum and other times we color or play with play dough.
It could be as simple as lining up pillows and running across them or a specific craft. I don’t take on any pressure or guilt about this, but try to engage them in things at their level they find enjoyable.
We live on acreage now so we decided to build a fairly large enclosed area where the kids could play without me worrying they were going to fall into the pond or pool or walk onto the road.
Often outside time consists of all the kids playing outdoors together while I am inside working or doing something else.
Maybe we’ll play red rover, go water all the trees and plants in the garden, or feed the fish in the pond. I like for them to be outside as much as possible for as long as possible.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics… 18 months old don’t really need any screen time. With my oldest we never did, the younger kids in our family often filter in and out of the room while the TV is on so that’s what I’m going by.
In my 4 under 4 schedule you’ll note we used to watch TV first thing in the morning when I was in late pregnancy and when I had a newborn.
It wasn’t ideal, but it was what I needed to happen to cope and that’s fine. Now, with my youngest just turned 3 months, I’ve shifted TV time to after the nap.
This is screen time + learning.
18-month-olds are fun but they’re also a lot of work. Here is a recap:
- Choose a routine that you can maintain every day. One that isn’t too strict nor too lose that the days feel chaotic.
- Teach your child to follow their own routine. I do this by using printable routine cards as shown here.
- Be consistent, but flexible. Things like sicknesses and appointments will happen so anticipate them.
The Key to a Good Routine
This may be so simple it goes without saying… but the key to a good routine is keeping the routine. It can be tricky to remember everything in order when you’re beginning, but once you get the hang of it, routine will be second nature.
It can seem very difficult to get started doing or keeping a routine when you do not have one at all. Here are some ways you can learn to keep your routine.
Hang the routine up!
If need visual help remembering the routine and want to teach your toddler to follow the routine at the same time (so you don’t have to nag) I recommend using our routine cards (seen below) or something similar you can whip up at home.
You hang them up in the appropriate room (bedroom for morning routine, bathroom for bath routine, kitchen fridge for mealtime routine, etc.) and then use them to help your child learn independence and self-regulation.
(Visual routine cards to help your toddler learn to know what’s next)
Set alarms or reminders on your phone
While you don’t need to live and die by the clock, setting your phone, watch, or a timer will help you keep aware of routine transitions.
We can often get so wrapped up in what we’re doing we forget and we’re an hour or two past nap time and now they’re having trouble going down.
I set alarms on my phone that show on my watch and this works for us.
As with anything, if you want something to work then work it. Keep pushing what you’ve decided to do. If it doesn’t work then change it up a bit and keep going. Move forward.
I assure you 100% that a routine will work if you keep at it.
Would you like a copy of this 18 month routine to print and use at home? Sign up here and I’ll send it via email.
Want Routine Printables to hang up?
We use these in our home and my Kindergartner even uses them to help herself get ready each morning. My son is looking forward to hanging his in his room as well.
These will help you point out what your child should do without always issuing commands and – you may be surprised – how much more cooperative your child becomes when they can see what’s next.
Get your own printable routine cards here!
I’ve created a free email series just for you! If you struggle with creating an easy flowing routine or rhythm in your home… this is it. I’ve gathered all my easiest routine hacks into one free series and, best of all, you can get a big sneak peak into our book that has over 25+ routines for babies ages 6 weeks to 5 years. This series will help you:
- find a routine and rhythm for your child
- learn how to juggle multiple routines (for 2 or 3+ kids)
- know what is and isn’t working so you can make one tweak that’ll change your day
Click here to sign up for my free email series or simply click on the image below.
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