At 18 months, you start to create a routine that you will follow until at least 3! Of course, there are big developmental differences and milestones, but a routine with one nap will be the main schedule that your activities will be planned around. This creates some sanity and consistency for parents too, because you can focus on other things instead of changing sleep cycles or types of food your toddler is eating. This 18-24 month toddler schedule has everything you need for your curious toddler!
I’ve mentioned this before, but a toddler approaching their second birthday 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. It’s a wild rollercoaster, but toddler logic is also pretty entertaining so there are fun times on this crazy ride.
Related Post: Daily Toddler Schedules– Includes a Toddler and Baby Schedule & a Schedule for 2 Toddlers
Major changes you could be undertaking are transitioning to a toddler bed or converting your nursery to a toddler room. This is also a great age to potty train (I waited until after 2 with my first, but am going to try during this age with my second). It still helps to have an arsenal of easy finger foods meals. But they should be feeding themselves a lot more though and getting the hang of using utensils. My son Ellis still likes to toss his plate when he’s done, so there’s that still, but we’re working on it!
In this post, you’ll find developmental milestones of a 18-24 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 18-24 Month Toddler Schedule
- 13-15 total hours of sleep. 1 nap around 1pm. 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. You don’t want them to be awake more than 4- 4.5 hours between nap and bedtime. So my sons usually wake up around 3:30 from nap and 4 hours later at 7:30 are falling asleep for the night.
- Continue 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).
- Taking toys apart and putting back together, builds towers, throws balls, fits items into shapes and holes, scribbling and painting, begins make believe play.
- Language- Says 15 words by 18 months, says simple phrases by age 2, follows simple instructions, repeats words overhead in conversations.
- Start more routines- For example, 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 start having them take ownership of simple tasks and slowly they will take over and it creates more predictability.
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Toys for 18-24 Month Old Toddlersteepee is one of my favorite toys for this age and going forward! Magical spaces can really bring out your child’s imagination and they’ll have fun for hours.basketball hoop is a fun way to work on it!
- Shape sorters
- Beginner puzzles
- Other make believe toys- doctor set, cars, dolls, dress up clothes, pretend kitchen, and pretend cleaning set
- Musical instruments
- Riding toy
- Beginner’s tricycle
Activities for 18-24 Month Old Toddlers
- Your toddler starts thriving for independence! Let them make simple choices- like picking out pajamas or their outfit, or what color cup to drink out of.
- 18 months is a pivotal milestone in terms of ability, they can climb a lot more at the park and hold their balance in the shallow end of the pool. Also, lots more classes open up to you! Many don’t start until 18 months, our favorite is a little tot soccer class or more advanced painting classes (actual instructions instead of free paint)
- Read everyday if possible, or as often as you can
- Sensory bins or craft projects at home
- Lots of pretend play!
- Music classes- play with instruments
- Play dates for socialization
- Park or open play spaces to run around and work on 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 | Make believe play starts to develop- toys that encourage creativity and make believe like kitchen sets, car towns, dress up clothes, toy telephone, dolls, etc.
8-8:30am | Breakfast
8:30-10:30am | Outing to the park or indoor play. Or attend toddler gym, dance, music, art or sports class.
10:30- 11am | Snack
11- 12:15pm | Help with making lunch and cleaning up. Work on puzzles and shape sorters, identify colors (probably won’t master until 2 or after)
12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch
12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- Read 2-3 books, then dark room, snuggling, sucking on pacifier or fingers, rocking in chair or glider, soft singing then white noise machine, cover with favorite blanket and stuffed animal.
1pm | Afternoon Nap
3pm | Wake up and Snack
3:30-6pm | Play with favorite toys or have a second outing, then independent play so you can make dinner or wrap up the day.
6:00pm | Dinner and water or milk (milk can be part of bedtime 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 books.
7- 7:30pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep.
See you for the final schedule of the series- 2 year olds!
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One thought on “An Essential 18-24 Month Toddler Schedule”
Hi I’m just curious about your toys, do you have toys out at all times and then just take out say the puzzles and shapes sorter for when you want them to play with them?
My reason for asking is I’ve recently cut back on a few of my little girls toys(toy rotation) and placing the one’s I’ve out in a box storage unit, rather than just all threw in one box….
I was hoping she’d play with each toy more…but at the moment she’s just going from one to the other throwing them all over the place, not even playing with them, it’s driving me nuts, throws them more of course when told not to…