Inside: Having a predictable daily routine is a sanity-saver for stay-at-home moms everywhere. Find out the best structure for your 18 month old’s daily routine below!
18 Month’s Old is a magical time…
Your budding toddler may begin to speak a few words, their little walk is probably the cutest it will ever get, and generally (at least in my experience), their mood and overall behavior is simply so sweet – possibly to give mom a little break before the twos set in.
Becoming a stay at home mom was a huge shift for me. I went from being a “first one in, last one to leave“-type-teacher, to being a full-time stay at home mom.
Being with your baby 24/7, trying to figure out how to breastfeed, entertain said baby, and also keep yourself semi-clean, is just a complete 180-turnaround from being a working, functioning human being.
More on Toddler Routines
- Daily Routine for a 1 Year Old
- Bedtime Routine with a Baby & Toddler
- Stress-Free Preschool Morning Routine
- My 2 Year Old’s Daily Routine
After the first year being at home, something changed.
Suddenly, 18 month’s old was my *favorite* age.
- Being able to interact with my little person
- Ask her questions and have her respond with a little sound or a tiny “yes”
At the risk of sounding so cheesy – it was at this stage that I truly felt like I was lifted out of the fog of early motherhood and was finally enjoying myself.
What should an 18 month old’s daily routine look like? And how does it differ from a 1 year old’s daily routine?
You might find that the greatest difference between your 1 year old’s routine and your 18 month old’s routine is that your toddler will have shifted from 2 naps to 1.
Although this sounds terrible (1 less nap!!), most moms, such as myself, prefer the one long afternoon nap, as opposed to two shorter naps.
Naturally, this is a big shift in your daily routine, and you may find that sometimes, your toddler still needs that morning nap (and that’s totally fine!). The outline shared below is for an 18 month schedule with 1 nap.
As for daily routines, we know that the key to success with little ones is simple:
- be consistent
- brush off the little stuff
- always have Gogo Squeez 🙂
While routines are important at any age, they are especially important for toddlers as this is how they learn the “daily programs” of life: when to walk the dogs, do the dishes, put on shoes, etc.
Whether you are a stay-at-home or working parent, it’s important that your toddler knows what to expect from their daily life.
If you’re thinking you can’t stick to a routine because life is hectic and unpredictable (which it is), think again.
A routine is meant to be flexible. We’re not talking about a strict schedule, we are on toddler-time here after all.
Your 18 month old’s daily routine will depend on what programs are available to you and your individual child’s needs.
Below you’ll find a sample of how I typically structure my day. The times given are approximate, and can change based on the day.
My 18 Month Old’s Daily Routine
What do you do with an 18 month old all day?
6:30 AM – Toddler wakes up, but stays in crib and plays until about 7 AM
7:30AM – I make breakfast while my toddler plays in the kitchen (I’m always sharing my morning routines & activities on Instagram)
7:30-8:00AM – Clean up breakfast, load/run dishwasher, get dressed
8:00-9:00AM – Take dogs on morning walk and play outside afterwards (chalk, bubbles, push-toys, etc.)
9:00AM – Pick up around the house, get diaper bag packed for the day & morning snack (usually something easy like an orange & Cheerios)
9:30AM-12:00PM – This is generally our golden time to get out and do something (before lunch and naptime).
- Storytime at the library
- Baby gymnastics
- Playdate with friends
- Grocery shop or run errands
- Activities at home
You can get your own set of the Printable Routine cards pictured above, here.
12:00-1:00PM – Let dogs out back/play outside and have lunch
Related: Easy Toddler Lunch Ideas
1:00-3:00PM – Naptime.
This is when I will work, put away laundry, clean the floors, etc. You know, mom stuff. Lately I’ve been throwing on Fuller House for background noise (TEAM MATT).
How many naps should an 18 month old take?
Most toddlers this age will take one afternoon nap. However, if your toddler still requires a morning nap, adjust this schedule to their needs!
P.S. – If your toddler is struggling with naptime (who’s isn’t??) you can steal my secret for getting my toddler to nap without a fight.
3:00-4:30PM – Wake up from nap, afternoon snack, read books, play outside with neighbors or ride trike on driveway
4:30-6:00PM – Dad gets home and plays with toddler while mom makes dinner & family dinnertime!
6:30-7:00PM – Bathtime & Bedtime Routine
What time should my 18 month old go to bed?
At this age, it’s a good idea to have your toddler in bed around 4-5 hours after they wake up from their afternoon nap. So if they wake up from their nap at 3 PM, try to have them in bed by 7 PM.
- After our toddler goes to bed and everything is all cleaned up from the day, my husband and I retire to the couch.
- We are currently watching Season 3 of Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime (highly recommend!).
- And we are both also trying to finish up books; he’s reading The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten and I’m reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (strangely addictive).
Helpful Toddler How-Tos
- How to Manage a Baby & Toddler as a Stay-at-Home Mom
- How to Get Your Toddler to Eat More Leafy Greens
- How to Survive a No Good, Very Bad Day (With a Toddler)
- How to Get Your 2 Year Old to Listen
What’s your 18 month old’s daily routine like? Share below! I always like new ideas.
Note: This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. You can read our full disclosure policy, here.
Your routine is very similar to ours here. My little one is 17 months. She also wakes between 5:30 and 6:30!
So glad it’s not just us – any day she wakes after 6 feels like a miracle.
Schedule is such a great help especially with young kids. This is a great post!
Belle | One Awesome Momma
Sounds like a good day! My son is 13 months, still doing two naps a day (knock on wood), I think things will change big time when he drops down to one!
It definitely changes a lot. Harper took two naps up until about 15 months. When she went down to 1 nap is when she started napping longer.
I am soooo with you!! I LOVE routines! It is good for the kids and for me. I know exactly what time I can get things done, and they know what time they need to take a nap which cuts down on them fighting it.
So true! I noticed that once her naptime became consistent on a daily basis, she started to understand when it was time to take a nap, which made it so much easier on everyone!
Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms says
My 18 month old JUST started taking good scheduled naps! I love a good routine!
Same here! Up until now she had kind of been all over the place. 18 months has been a game-changer.
Good to hear your schedule!
Megan @ The Many Little Joys says
My kids are 2 & 4, and that is still pretty close to our schedule. I love that after about 18 months their schedules don’t change as much as they do the first year and a half. I feel like I can really settle into the routine rather than having it change as soon as I think I have it figured out. 🙂
It’s so true – that first year is rough. Every time you think you’ve got it figured out, they change up their schedule! I like how her schedule is more predictable now. Also, good to hear that down the road I can expect her routine to be similar!
Emily Bogner says
Routines are wonderful! I love it when we have a good, consistent routine at home!
Me too, it always makes the day go much smoother!
Catia Hernandez Holm says
Routines were key for us! They also took us some time to learn. For new mamas – sample routines are SOOOOOO helpful. I will share with new mamas!!!
Thanks so much, Catia!
Love the outdoors time for the summer. Do you have any indoor activities for the freezing winter months? We live in canada! Thanks again for great routine.
Hi Ana! Glad you found this helpful. One of my favorite websites has a post dedicated to indoor energy-burning activities for the winter months. Here is the link —>https://whatmomslove.com/kids/active-indoor-games-activities-for-kids-to-burn-energy/