It’s hard to accept at first- that you officially have a toddler now! I call this the in between year though- they are more half baby, half toddler. Enjoy the little bit of baby you have left! Because at 2 they are ALL toddler, lol. By now, the excitement from the first birthday is winding down and you are starting to see what kind of person your baby is becoming. Your 12-18 month schedule is just as important as ever!
It may be hard for you to believe that I feel this way, since I wrote an entire series of schedules, ha! BUT a toddler entering two on a consistent schedule will be better able to handle those big emotions that come up. Of course, it’s not a magic bullet- but it helps.
Maybe you feel like you haven’t had a consistent schedule during the first year, it could have been crazy to adjust to life with a baby and a busy schedule. Trust me- we’ve all been there. It’s not too late! This is also a crucial milestone, where they may start fighting eating and sleeping, so predictability will help combat some of those struggles. Now that the baby food era is over, you may be wondering what to feed your one year old. It helps to have an arsenal of easy finger foods meals. Feeding themselves is an important milestone, and it frees you up a little bit so that’s a win-win.
My second son Ellis is currently 15 months and my oldest son Miles is 3. Ellis is a complete “danger seeker, adventure is life” kind of guy. He leaves my side immediately when we go somewhere. Miles always stuck by me, and sometimes still does in new places. You’ll start to notice those trends the most at this age, they may start to develop separation anxiety and show bigger emotions when things change. Even though Ellis is fine in new places, I haven’t gone to the bathroom alone since before his first birthday. For some reason, he doesn’t think I’ll come back when I go. What can you do? We adjust to these phases, because they are still trying to figure out the world and how things work. That’s big scary work for them!
In this post, you’ll find developmental milestones of a 12-18 month toddler schedule, as well as toys and activities that are perfect for this age. Following, there is a sample schedule that will give you a “typical” structure that you can follow or modify to fit your life and personality (Free to download at the end!).
Key Elements of a 12-18 Month Toddler Schedule
- 13-15 total hours of sleep. Goes from 2 to 1 nap between 15-18 months. Drop the morning nap and keep the afternoon nap. I have bedtime at 7, but the ideal window is 6-8pm. Decide what works for your family and how to your toddler gets the hours they need.
- Switch to whole milk- recommended to not do 2% or skim etc until after 2 years old.
- 3 meals and 2 snacks- eat what you eat, but you can pre prep food that is nutrient rich for ease of use or have simple finger food meals on hand.
- Movement milestones- walking, kicking a ball, pulling toys behind while walking, climbs up and down furniture, starts to climb up and down steps (supervised, still not steady).
- Builds towers, throws balls, fits items into shapes and holes, scribbling and painting, begins make believe play.
- Language- Says 5-10 words by 15 months and 15 words by 18 months, follows simple instructions, repeats words overhead in conversations.
- Start more routines- Getting in the house- we take off shoes, hang up coat, and wash hands. You are more active in carrying them out at this age, but slowly they will take over and it creates more predictability.
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Toys for 12-18 Month Old Toddlers
This singing and dancing robot doll was so fun for both my boys! Now I buy it for a lot of my friends and their baby’s first birthday.
Make believe toys- doctor set, cars, dolls, dress up clothes, pretend kitchen, and pretend cleaning set (My son loves this broom! I’m hoping it turns into a passionate desire to help me around the house. A mom can dream!)
Activities for 12-18 Month Toddlers
- Talk to your toddler- describe everything around them and what you are doing. They are soaking everything up- even if they aren’t very verbal yet.
- Read everyday if possible, or as often as you can
- Early painting classes or craft projects at home
- Pretend play
- Music classes- play with instruments
- Play dates for socialization
- Park or open play spaces to run around and learn large motor skills
Some of our favorites classes that we have explored with Pearachute are music classes that include dance and various musical instruments. Early painting, beginning soccer, broadway and me plays and open play rooms.
*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you can try your first 4 credit month of Pearachute for free! 🙂 Just click on the link or go to: https://www.pearachutekids.com/referred?coupon_code=REF-31UMAY
7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Sippy cup of milk
7:30-8am | Play: Story time, sensory bins, building blocks or nesting toys, singing songs, or listening to music while playing instruments (xylophone, drums)
8-8:45am | Breakfast
8:45am | Start nap soothing routine- Example: Dark room, snuggling, sucking on pacifier or fingers or nursing, rocking in chair or glider, soft singing then white noise machine.
9am | Morning Nap (This nap fades out between 15-18 months) 10:30am | Wake Up- Sippy Cup of Milk
10:30- 11am | Snack
11- 12:15pm | Play time: Large motor development- park or open play, push and pull toys, riding cars. Social development- play dates or reoccurring music or art classes.
12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch with Water
12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- same one every time.
1pm | Afternoon Nap
3pm | Wake up and Snack
3:30-6pm | Play: Start easy paint or craft projects. Go outside at least once a day for fresh air.
6:00pm | Dinner and water or milk (milk can be part of soothing routine)
6:30pm | Start bedtime routine. Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, calming music, lotion massage, pajamas and read stories.
7:00pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep to help baby develop self-soothing practices.
Download your own printable copy below! Check out the 18-24 month schedule for lots of new milestones!
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