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Getting your toddler off to bed and sleeping peacefully can often be a challenge. To ensure he gets the sleep needed to be healthy and happy, create a bedtime routine that eases him into bed while strengthening the bond you share.

As your toddler starts becoming more and more independent and doing so many things for himself, it's tempting to think of him as "beyond babyhood." But keep in mind that he still has many of the same needs he had as a baby. He still needs a lot of attention, a lot of cuddling and a lot of sleep. In fact, toddlers need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep in total, usually 11 to 12 hours at night and another 1 to 3 hours during the day.

Sleep Time and Your Toddler

While most toddlers have learned to sleep through the night, changes and stressful events such as switching from the crib to bed at too early an age, a trip, or illness may cause temporary setbacks.

To ensure your toddler gets the rest and sleep he needs follow these sleepy time tips:

  • Set a regular sleep schedule for napping and sleeping (avoid naptime in the late afternoon)
  • Establish a 20- to 45-minute nighttime routine to help him wind down and relax
  • Provide a soothing surrounding that is dark, cool and quiet
  • Your child should be drowsy but awake when going to bed
  • Save his favorite nighttime activity for last

Create a Nighttime Routine

A before-bed routine will help your toddler become sleepy and signals it is time to relax and prepare for sleep. Make sure that you stay consistent and follow the same pattern every evening. Your child will feel more relaxed if he knows what is coming next. Also, make sure his bedtime routine is always heading in the same direction — bed.

Create a Nighttime Routine

A nighttime routine will help your baby learn that it’s time for sleep. Try our 3-step routine that includes:

Warm Bath

Lotion Massage

Quiet Time

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Tips from Other Parents

Read tips on BabyCenter® on how to help your toddler get to, and stay, asleep.

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