17 Month Old Sleep Schedule Tips
At 17 months old, your little one finally reminds you more of a toddler than an infant, and interactions are becoming more fun. At least, they are during the day. Nighttime may be a different story. Between 17 and 19 months, many toddlers go through a bout of sleep regression. Reasons for this big change to your 17 month old’s sleep schedule may include:
- Teething – new teeth usually come in around 17 to 19 months
- Newly-discovered separation anxiety
- Mobility — now that she can walk comfortably, she wants to explore all the time, even at night
- Independence — by 17 months, your little one is doing more for herself and doesn’t necessarily want to sleep when you tell her
- Nightmares – toddlers typically begin having vivid dreams and nightmares between 15 and 18 months
Sleep regressions can be exhausting for parents and caregivers, and they can leave your little one tired and cranky. Unfortunately, they can last for up to about six weeks. The best way to handle it is to power through until you get your 17 month old’s sleep schedule back on track. Start by using these tips:
1. Consistency is key
No matter what, when your 17 month old’s sleep schedule becomes disrupted, don’t give up on your nightly bedtime routine. You may need to make some adjustments, but when you do, be sure to repeat them every single night without fail. This may include a bath, changing into pajamas, reading books, having some milk, enjoying bedtime cuddles, singing songs, brushing teeth, or saying your prayers together. Even though your 17-month-old can’t read a clock, she does recognize these behaviors as signs that it’s almost time for bed.
2. Set limits
Many problems with your 17 month old’s sleep schedule revolve around newly-discovered independence and a strong will to do what she wants, not what you want her to do. If you recognize this as part of the problem, it may be time to set limits. Your child may insist on playing more before bed, but you must say no. Your child may find ways to delay sleeping, such as asking for more drinks and snacks, wanting to read more books, or simply playing silly games while you cuddle. Stick to your rules. It may be tough at first, but you’ll appreciate it once your 17 month old’s sleep schedule is back on track.
3. Create a calm home environment at night
It’s hard to wind down when you’re all wound up, whether you’re 17 months old, 17 years old, or 67 years old. While your child does need to remain active during the day, an hour or two before bedtime, you may want to introduce quieter, calmer activities. Dim the lights, turn down any noisy gadgets, and keep voices soft. Read books, take baths, or color instead of performing super active tasks. This will help your little one relax.
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4. Make nursery changes if necessary
Your child’s nursery should already be a comfortable, restful place. If it’s not, making a few key changes could be a key to fixing your 17 month old’s sleep schedule. The room should be cool and dark, though a small nightlight is okay if your toddler is afraid of the dark. Just avoid any harsh or glaring lights. Soft music or a white noise machine may also help your little one sleep.
Your baby’s bed should be soft, clean, and free of any safety hazards. Many experts recommend keeping your toddler in a crib until after they’re two years old.
5. Understand how much sleep your child needs
When trying to get your 17 month old’s sleep schedule under control, it’s important to make sure she’s not sleeping too much or too little.
Most toddlers need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep each day. That usually includes one to two naps, though by 17 months, your little one may begin to resist those naps. While it’s tempting to avoid the struggle, an overly tired toddler doesn’t sleep well at night.
On the other hand, sleeping too much during the day can also disrupt your 17 month old’s sleep schedule. An ideal 17 month old sleep schedule includes a two-hour nap after lunch and 11 to 12 hours of sleep at night.
6. Use a comforting transitional object
If separation anxiety is standing between your family getting any sleep at night and your 17 month old’s sleep schedule, consider a transitional object.
This might be a soft blanket or small stuffed animal that your child can find comfort in when you’re not around. Your toddler may even already have one. If so, allow her to take it to bed with her each night.
If not, help her pick one out. The only requirements are that it doesn’t present a safety hazard and that your child is familiar with it and loves it. You may also choose something that has your scent on it.
7. Cut back on screen time
If you’ve had trouble sleeping as an adult, you’ve probably been told to cut back on your screen time.
No phones, TVs, computers, or other devices within an hour or two before you go to bed. In today’s technological world, it may be necessary to set the same limits for your children, even your infants and toddlers. If your child loves to watch cartoons or play on your phone or tablet, set some boundaries before bedtime.
Trade them in for non-screen activities, like coloring, reading, singing songs, or playing with blocks and puzzles.
8. Focus on long-term solutions
Changes in your 17 month old’s sleep schedule can be difficult for a parent. You’re sure to lose sleep, and when you’re exhausted, you may feel that desperate times call for desperate measures. Some parents resort to allowing their toddlers to sleep with them or move to their bedrooms in the middle of the night.
Some run to check on their toddlers every time they cry at night. Just remember that whatever method you choose to get through these tough times is one you’ll need to keep up. Your little one won’t be thrilled if you put her crib in your room for a week and move it out the next week, especially if you’re still working on establishing your 17 month old’s sleep schedule.
9. Keep daytime schedules consistent
You already know that having a regular bedtime routine can help improve your 17 month old’s sleep schedule, but did you know that sticking to a regular daytime routine can also help. Getting up, eating meals, taking naps, taking baths — toddlers thrive when they can stick to a schedule of any kind. It’s especially important to keep food and nap schedules the same. Sleeping and eating at unusual times can disrupt your little one’s sleep at night.
10. Remain calm…and patient
Finally, be careful with how you respond to your child’s changes at this age. If you want to create a perfect 17 month old sleep schedule, you’ll need to remain calm. When your toddler does wake up, don’t react angrily or give up on your routine. Keep in mind that all of this is temporary. Most sleep regression at this age lasts for about a month, maybe a little longer. Before you know it, your entire family will be back on schedule at night.