17 month old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule

Amy Bassett, BA, CLC, ALC, IBCLC, RLC / Pediatric Sleep Consultant & Lactation Consultant / Updated Nov 30, 2021
17 month old toddler nap schedule

By 17 months old, your toddler’s personality has really begun to shine! At this age, language development really takes off, and you may be amazed at how much your child is talking.

With such a rapidly developing vocabulary, your 17 month old will need plenty of sleep to process and store new memories. Helping your child get enough sleep also improves their mood, and can limit tantrums. Let’s dive in to learn more about healthy sleep habits and ideal sleep schedules for 17 month olds.


IN THIS ARTICLE


17 month olds need between 13 - 14 hours of total sleep per day for proper growth and development. At this age, pediatric sleep experts recommend children get at least 11 hours of nighttime sleep, and 2 - 3 hours of sleep during the day.

[Note: for children who were born early, we go by their adjusted age for sleep development.]

By 17 months old, many toddlers are tall enough to begin swinging one leg over the crib rail in an attempt to climb out. When this happens, parents often fear their child will get hurt and question if they should transition them to a toddler bed. Pediatric sleep experts caution against transitioning children to a toddler bed this young. Before the age of 3, children lack impulse control and once the crib rails come, down many toddlers will turn into a “jack-in-the-box,” popping out of bed all throughout the night!

Thankfully, there are a few tricks that can prevent your child from climbing out of their crib. First, lower the crib mattress to the lowest setting. If your child’s crib has a shorter rail in the front, you can also turn the crib around so the shorter side is against the wall. Next, consider ditching pajamas for a toddler sleep sack which limits how much your little one can move their legs. 

Many parents report their toddler becomes increasingly active and energetic in the hour or so before bed, and wonder if their child is tired enough for sleep, or if bedtime should be later. Being very energetic before bedtime is actually a sign your 17 month old is overtired. When children stay awake longer than what their bodies can comfortably handle, fatigue fighting hormones set in, sending the child into “overdrive.”

Once your child has caught this “second wind,” you may find it’s more difficult for them to fall asleep at bedtime. Increased adrenaline can also lead to frequent night wakings and crying between sleep cycles. To avoid missing your child’s ideal sleep window, keep an eye on the clock and stick to age-appropriate wake periods. At 17 months, most children need about 4 - 5.5 hours of awake time before bed.

Sample 17 month old sleep schedule

Note: Sleep needs vary by child and this chart should be viewed as an example.

By 17 months old, most toddlers have transitioned to a 1-nap schedule, though some children are still taking 2 naps per day. It’s also not uncommon for 17 month olds to be in a stage of transition—some days, needing just 1 nap and other days, needing 2 naps. Once your child has made the transition to a 1-nap schedule, you can expect about 5 hours of awake time before the nap. A typical nap schedule for 17 month olds who are taking 2 naps per day includes approximately 3.25 hours of awake time before the first nap, and about 3.5 hours before the second nap.

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17 month olds need 2 - 3 hours of sleep during the day. While still taking 2 naps, you should aim for both naps to be at least 1 hour. Once a child drops their second nap, the remaining nap should be at least 2 hours on average. 

Most 17 month olds are down to just 1 nap per day. If your 17 month old is still taking 2 naps per day, you can expect them to complete the transition to a 1-nap schedule in the coming weeks.

Morning rise6:00 AM
1st nap 9:15 AM - 10:15 AM (1 hour nap) 3.5 hours of awake time before 1st nap
2nd nap2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (1 hour nap) 3.75 hours of awake time before 2nd nap
Get ready for bed 6:30 PM
Asleep 7:00 PM 4 hours of awake time before bedtime
Morning rise6:00 AM
Nap11:00 AM - 1:00 PM (2 hour nap) 5 hours of of awake time before nap
Get ready for bed6:00 PM
Asleep6:30 PM 5.5 hours of awake time before bedtime
17 month old toddler nap schedule

A consistent bedtime routine is very important for toddlers, especially as they begin to test boundaries. 17 month olds may try to test boundaries by crawling away when it’s time to read, dumping a basket of toys on the floor, or emptying all their clothes out of a drawer, for example.

Behaviors like these are designed to get attention, and are very amusing to your toddler! However, it’s important not to give them too much attention, since doing so can make it into a “game,” and make it difficult to get your child to bed on time. As long as your child is safe, you may find that continuing on with reading (even if your child won’t sit still) sends a stronger message.

Bedtime for 17 month olds should be early enough to allow for 11 - 12 hours of sleep overnight. For many families, this means their 17 month old’s bedtime is between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. If your child has recently transitioned to 1 nap, or is napping less than the recommended 2 hours per day, don’t be afraid to move bedtime earlier—although we don’t recommend bedtimes before 6:00 PM.

17 month old baby sleep FAQ

Q: My child has started fighting naps. How long should I try for a nap before giving up?

A:

It’s not uncommon for 17 month olds to resist naps, especially as the dreaded 18 month sleep regression approaches. Before rushing in to help, give them enough time to fall asleep. At this age, it can take 30 minutes or longer for children to fall asleep for naps. If your child isn’t crying, we encourage waiting at least 45 minutes before calling it and getting them out of their crib. If it's the second nap or too late in the day to try again later, move bedtime up (no earlier than 6:00 PM). If a later nap is possible, take your child out of their room for 45 minutes or so, offer something to eat, and try again after a break—repeating your normal nap routine when you do.

Q: My child has started waking very early, how do I get them to sleep in later?

A:

Consider a few things, like sleeping environment, schedule, caloric intake during the day, and how they fall asleep. One of the most common reasons for early waking among toddlers is hunger. Many 17 month olds struggle to sleep more than 12+ hours without feeding. Offering a high-protein snack before bed and/or shifting dinner later can help curb hunger and extend nighttime sleep. Light could also be waking your child up. We recommend using blackout curtains to block out street lights and the sun. Not getting enough daytime sleep or going to bed too late can both lead to early morning rising as well. Lastly, if your child still needs help falling asleep, they’ll find putting themselves back to sleep challenging, especially during the early morning hours when sleep is lighter.

Q: When is it safe to introduce a pillow?

A:

While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is very clear about no blankets or pillows in bed with babies under age 1 due to the risk of SIDS, the jury still seems to be out on when to introduce a pillow. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, you should wait until at least 18 months. However, pediatric sleep experts tend to recommend waiting until the transition to a toddler bed (usually around 3 years old) since it can be overwhelming or cramped with a pillow in the crib. Toddlers also sometimes use the pillow as climbing leverage.

Q: Why does my child sweat in their sleep?

A:

The main cause of night sweats in children is an inability to properly regulate body temperature and a greater proportion of sweat glands compared to body size. As children reach deeper stages of sleep, their body temperature rises. To help your child sleep more comfortably, we recommend setting the room temperature to 68 - 72℉ (20 - 22℃) and dressing them in breathable materials like cotton or bamboo. (Avoid polyester!) Consider replacing any thick or plush blankets with a lightweight muslin or jersey knit blanket.