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Routine for a one-year-old baby

By the time your baby is one year old you will find it so much easier to get them in a routine. 

There are so many changes in the first year to do with sleep and eating, but the good news about the next year of your baby’s life is that it’s not quite so extreme. 

Yes they will go through changes and drop that morning nap eventually, but they will also be consistent with mealtimes and, hopefully, sleep through the night. 

Turning one is huge milestone in your baby’s life! They’re a step closer to being a toddler plus by this point they will hopefully be on three meals a day. 

Good reasons for having a routine at this age include:

  • Better sleep patterns which is good for baby’s health and development
  • Fewer tantrums and tears due to being overtired
  • Easier for mama to organise her day
  • Babies and toddlers thrive on a routine where they know what to expect

I’ve got a perfect one-year-old baby routine that you can either follow or use as a great template for you to use for your own little one. 

Let’s break it down so you can see the changes that may be made to the routine for your one-year-old and how to help your baby settle into this schedule.

Sleep 

By age one your baby is down to two naps. 

One nap will be in the morning while the other will be right after lunch. 

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep the afternoon nap as early in the afternoon as possible. This is because if your baby sleeps beyond 4pm, you may struggle to get them down at bedtime. 

Your baby will drop their morning nap at some point in their second year. 

Some babies drop it by around 18 months, but remember that every little one is different. 

They will then ditch the afternoon nap any time from around age two onwards. You can read more about signs your toddler is gearing up to drop the nap over in this post. 

The bad news is that there is a sleep regression at 18 months. Not all babies will go through this phase, so try not to panic too much. 

During a sleep regression your baby will suddenly ditch their normal settled sleeping pattern. They may wake more frequently at night and wake very early in the morning. 

A sleep regression may also hit when your little one learns to walk. Babies and toddlers often struggle with sleeping when they are going through a mental leap involving learning a big new skill. 

Rest assured that your baby will get back to their normal sleeping pattern soon! Regressions tend to last from one to three weeks at most. 

Eating

one-year-old sample routine

By the age of one your baby is eating three meals a day and has ditched most of their daily bottles or breastfeeds. 

You might still be breastfeeding your baby first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Some babies might also be snacking through the day. 

If your baby is bottlefed, there is no need to switch to follow-on milk! Doctors and health visitors say you do not need this product!

By age one your baby can switch to full fat milk for their morning and evening drink. The rest of the day, offer them water as this is much better for their teeth. 

Most little ones will want a snack mid-morning and another mid-afternoon.


Try offering things like breadsticks, fruits, carrot sticks, and pitta bread. 

If you are looking for meal inspiration, there are 21 toddler dinner ideas here that are also great for one-year-olds. 

Playtime 

Your one-year-old will learn to walk, pick up hundreds of new words and be climbing on everything over the next year!

Playtime is important not only for their development, but babies just love to explore their environment. 

The morning is the perfect time for an outing with your little one, as they will have lots of energy at this time. Try taking them to a soft play centre, swimming or for a walk to the park. 

Once your little one wakes from their afternoon nap there isn’t loads of time for a trip out, so maybe use this time for some crafts or other simple activities at home. 

After dinner, you’ll see this routine includes 45 minutes of winding down. This is when your little one will be playing, but you’ll want to stick with calm, less active games and toys. 

For example, building something with their blocks is a quiet activity, which will help to calm them down towards going to sleep. However playing hide and seek or tag in the house will have them very hyped up. 

Try to get your child chilled out ready for the start of the bedtime routine. 

At this time of day, many babies and toddlers will be a little more fraught, so you could try some television just before starting the bedtime routine. 

If you’re stuck for what to do with your child, try these ideas:

Activities for toddlers

Activities for babies

Fun activities to do with your toddler

Bedtime 

You may already have a bedtime routine that works really well for you. If not you can check out this post about setting a perfect bedtime routine. 

A bedtime routine for your one-year-old is not much different to that for a baby, except you will hopefully find it easier to hold their attention when reading them a story. 

You could start reading your baby longer books which will help to develop their language skills. 

Stick to books that are calmer for this time of night. Leave noisy books and books that ask your child to dance or move about too much for earlier in the daytime. 

If you are having trouble getting your baby to settle at night time, now may be a good time to think about gentle sleep training. 

Getting your baby to fall asleep on their own can be tricky, but it’s totally doable! Try the following tips: 

  • Have a regular bedtime routine
  • Give your baby a comforter that they go to sleep with every night
  • Tuck your baby into bed and say night night, then leave the room
  • If your baby cries, return to them and comfort them, then leave the room again
  • Keep doing this until they settle
  • If you can’t cope with the crying, then put them in their cot and rub their back until they fall asleep. This method may take longer but should involve fewer tears. 

So let’s take a look at the routine for your baby. 

A sample routine for your one-year-old baby 

7amWake-up and have breakfast
10amNap
10.45amWake-up and have a snack
12middayLunch
1pmNap
3.30pmWake-up and snack
4.30pmDinner
5pmWinding down time
6.45pmBedtime
7.15pmLights out

You can get a free printable version of this routine by signing up to my mailing list!

I hope you find this routine useful and it gives you a good idea for how to do your own routine. 

As I said, you don’t have to copy these timings exactly. Sometimes it’s about finding the best way for you and for your child!

You may also like: 

How to keep your toddler in bed

What am I supposed to do with my baby all day

The perfect routine for your one-year-old
What to do with your one-year-old all day