20 month old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule
Is your 20 month old’s bedtime later than you feel it should be at this age? As your toddler gets closer to 2 years old, you’ll find that their wake windows are lengthening. As a result, it’s common for bedtime to get later, which can be surprising — and, let’s face it, sometimes tough — if you’ve started to enjoy your kid-free evening hours.
The recommendations listed below represent the average amount of sleep typically needed at this age. However, please note there is a range of normal as some children have lower or higher sleep needs. Your child’s schedule may vary, and that is normal.
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How much should a 20 month old sleep?
When your child is around 20 months, continue to aim for about 13 hours of total sleep per day (11 - 12 hours at night and 2 - 3 hours of day sleep in one nap). Most children need 5 - 5.75 hours of awake time in between sleep periods at this age.
Keep in mind that each child is unique and their sleep needs can vary. Don't stress about reaching specific sleep hour targets, the recommended hours are just a rough estimate. Monitoring your child's mood and energy levels is just as crucial as keeping track of their sleep, to ensure they're getting the rest they require.
Also note that children may go through a period of sudden disrupted sleep around this age, commonly referred to as the 18 month sleep regression. Some resources have parents convinced that chaos will ensue at predetermined ages, but sleep is impacted by so many factors that it’s a bit more complicated than that. Your child may have a sudden and significant decline in sleep patterns sleep at 20 months instead of 18 months.
[Note: for children who were born early, we go by their adjusted age for sleep development.]
Top sleep tip for 20 month olds
As toddlers gain more independence, you may find they start taking a looong time making choices. They want to do everything themselves — regardless of, you know, their actual capabilities at this age! If you find that your toddler is stalling during their bedtime routine, it can help to offer definitive choices. Consider options like, “Do you want to wear the red pajamas or the blue ones?” or, “Would you like to brush your teeth or wash your face first?” This can help children feel in control while also ensuring more cooperation at bedtime.
Sleep fact for 20 month old babies
Some toddlers this age will suddenly start to protest at bedtime due to separation anxiety rearing its head again. Consider experimenting with leaving their bedroom door open or introducing a night light (choose one free of blue light). These measures can help your toddler feel more secure at bedtime, while still maintaining healthy independent sleep habits (a.k.a. you don’t have to spend an hour trying to silently creep out of their room after helping them fall asleep). We recommend closing their door after they drift off to sleep. In case of a fire in your home, having the bedroom closed may help slow the spread of fire and smoke.
Sample 20 month old sleep schedule
Note: Sleep needs vary by child, and this chart should be viewed as an example.
Naptime schedule for a 20 month old
A typical schedule for 20 months old should include a nap in the middle of the day, approximately 5 hours after morning waking. If you’d like a more predictable nap schedule, consider waking your child within the same 30-minute window each day.
How long should a 20 month old nap?
A 20 month old’s nap schedule should allow for 2 - 3 hours of day sleep during one nap. Most toddlers need between 5 and 5.75 hours of awake time in between sleep periods at this age.
How many naps for a 20 month old?
Aim for one midday nap, with naptime beginning typically 5 hours after waking in the morning. Be sure to offer lunch before the nap so your toddler doesn’t wake up early because they’re hungry.
If your child is struggling to make it to bedtime without becoming overtired, consider moving bedtime earlier (but no earlier than 6:00 PM).
Here are some examples of what your day might look like at this age:
|12:00 PM - 2:00 PM (2 hour nap); 5 hours awake time before nap
|Get ready for bed
|7:45 PM; 5.75 hours awake time before bedtime
1-nap schedule with short nap/early bedtime
|12:00 PM - 1:30 PM (1.5 hour nap); 5 hours awake time before nap
|Get ready for bed
|7:15 PM; 5.75 hours awake time before bedtime
Bedtime for a 20 month old
If your toddler is struggling to fall asleep at bedtime, consider whether the awake period between nap and bedtime is age-appropriate. Insufficient awake time before bed often leads to lots of playing in the crib before eventually falling asleep, whereas overtired toddlers are more likely to cry.
What time should a 20 month old go to bed?
Ideally, your 20 month old will be getting 11 - 12 hours of sleep at night, so bedtime should be about 12 - 13 hours after waking in the morning (as long as your child naps well). If your toddler takes a short nap, offer an earlier bedtime to limit overtiredness, which often leads to shortened nighttime sleep.
20 month old baby sleep FAQ
Q: Why is my 20 month old suddenly waking so early?
A sudden change in waking time is often a sign that your toddler’s schedule needs to be adjusted. Not all children can easily go 12 or more hours between meals, so one thing to investigate is if dinner is too early. For example, if dinner is at 5:00 PM, you might find your child waking at 5:00 AM. If dinner has to be that early, try offering a protein-rich snack closer to bedtime (but before teeth brushing). You can also consider whether the last wake window is age appropriate (usually around 5.75 hours at this age). If the awake time is too short or too long, that can contribute to early rising.
Q: Can a 20 month old baby sleep through the night?
Good news — most toddlers this age are capable of sleeping through the night without parental assistance or feedings. If your toddler has strong independent sleeping skills and gets enough calories throughout the day, they’re more likely to sleep 11 - 12 hours without calling out for your assistance.
Q: How often do 20 month old babies sleep?
You’ll want to keep wake windows between 5 and 5.75 hours long when establishing your 20 month old’s sleep schedule. Generally, toddlers will stay awake for about 5 hours in the morning before their first nap and up to 5.75 hours before bedtime.
Q: How much nighttime sleep for a 20 month old is appropriate?
Most 20 month old toddlers need 11 - 12 hours of nighttime sleep to be well-rested. However, sleep needs do vary. If your toddler has lower sleep needs than the average 13 hours of total sleep, pediatric sleep experts agree that you’ll want to ensure they get a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime sleep.
Q: How much awake time for a 20 month old is appropriate?
The ideal wake window for 20 month olds tends to be between 5 and 5.75 hours long. Generally, the first wake window of the day is the shortest, so expect that your toddler will need about 5 hours of awake time before their nap. As the day progresses, your toddler will be able to stay awake longer, resulting in the longest window of awake time before bed, lasting no more than 5.75 hours.
Q: How much daytime sleep for a 20 month old?
Aim for one nap per day. Target 2 - 3 hours of daytime sleep for your 20 month old’s nap schedule.
Q: Is there a 20 month regression?
While there isn’t a specific developmental regression that’s common at 20 months (thank goodness), sleep regression ages can occur at any age. Even the best little sleepers can have trouble when sleep habits change due to travel, illness, or other life circumstances (such as a new sibling or a move). Stick to your routines and healthy independent sleep habits, and repeat after us: This too shall pass.
Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.