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Welcome! Today I’m sharing our simple and steal-worthy 2 year old schedule at home to help you create one that works for your family.
Not quite 2? No worries, you can check out our 18 month old schedule here!
Alright, let’s get straight to it!
Why establishing a toddler routine saves your sanity
Toddlers love predictability and feeling in control. They like having a sense of what generally comes next within their day. In my experience, it infinitely helps limit battles and tantrums.
Of course, there’s a balance. Life is full of adventures, and you don’t need to be super duper strict to your schedule, it’s just there to help add structure to your days at home.
Our simple 2 year old sleep schedule
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends toddlers aged 2 years old sleep 11-14 hours per day, including their nap(s). Some toddlers will sleep most of their hours overnight, while others take long daytime naps. In my experience, it’s your best bet to monitor your child’s natural sleep rhythm to develop a schedule that will be successful for you.
Our 2 year old sleep schedule:
7:30-8:00am: wake up
2:00pm: nap (~1-1.5 hours)
Total sleep: ~12.5 hours per 24-hour period, split up as ~11 hours overnight and ~1-1.5 hours during the day
Yes, this is a later routine than you will find in most parenting books. They seem to all swear by a 7pm bedtime.
But guess what? That has never worked for us. Honestly, I tried it, and my daughter treated bedtime like a nap. Every single time. She would wake up an hour or two later and want to party for 2-3 hours before going down for the night.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather put her to bed an hour later at 8pm and have a kiddo that sleeps through the night!
You’re likely to be much more successful if you find their natural sleep rhythm and work with it. As much as your lifestyle allows, anyways. Obviously if you have to be at daycare at 8am an 8-8 schedule simply isn’t feasible. And yes, for some toddlers that means an even earlier bedtime.
Our flexible 2 year old eating schedule
Boy, can toddlers eat (some days!). PS – it’s normal for their appetites to fluctuate! Our typical meal schedule looks something like this:
Occasional 7:30pm bedtime snack if dinner was a fail.
Of course, some days there are more snacks, and sometimes she skips snacks. It all depends on her growth spurts and what kinds of activities we are up to. If she is hungry, I offer healthy snack options for her to choose from, no matter the time of day.
Our tantrum free 2 year old bedtime routine
Bedtime without tears? Yes please.
In case you don’t have one of those unicorn toddlers who ask to go to bed every night (they exist, my niece was one!), this is how we manage a tear free bedtime:
- bath (every other night)
- 20 minutes of reading (with occasional snack)
- potty & brush teeth
- kisses for daddy
- turn on sound machine and turn off lights
- 2-3 songs and snuggles
Yes, this is a pretty long bedtime routine. But I’ve tried multiple versions and I have realized MY toddler needs a solid 30 minutes of quiet to wind down from the day. Any less and she takes FOREVER to fall asleep. I can’t blame her, I need 30 minutes to an hour myself to calm down and relax enough to sleep.
Does my toddler complain when I say it’s bedtime? Yes. But we talk through the steps, and she knows what comes next. Incorporating things she likes (giving daddy kisses) right after things she has to do (potty & brushing teeth) helps keep things moving with minimal struggles.
Also, never ever use bedtime as a threat. For example, “if you do that one more time your going to bed”. That is the fastest way to get your toddler to dread and battle bedtime. Try to keep it a positive experience. Yay, it’s bedtime. Time to snuggle, read and rest up for a fun day tomorrow!
How to get things done around the house with a 2 year old
I’m often asked how I manage 7-8 hours of sleep every night, my household responsibilities and running a blog as a SAHM of a busy toddler.
My secret? I do 90% of my chores WITH my toddler (excluding those that require chemicals that are not toddler safe). That frees up her nap and an hour or two before she wakes up in the morning for me (for self care and to work on my hobbies and business).
Is doing chores WITH a toddler pleasant? Not always.
But guess what? They LOVE doing what their parents do. They LOVE helping. It may be done at a snails pace, but it gets done. Chores become an activity we can do together, and it teaches responsibility at a very early age.
Let me share some examples:
- My 2 year old unloads all the dishes that go in cupboards at her level while I get the rest.
- She brings her laundry basket to the laundry room and helps sort clean laundry to go in the proper drawers.
- She has a toy vacuum to follow me around with the real one.
- We have two Swiffer dusters, so she can dust with me.
It works great for us. We swear by this cleaning routine and only spend a small chunk of each day doing chores.
Favorite 2 year old activities to do at home
I’ll share a few favorites here but for more ideas check out this post on 50+ screen free toddler activities!
- simple crafts
- fort building
- outdoor play
- gardening/water plants together
- bake & cook together
- dance party
- water play
- sensory bins
Recap of our 2 year old schedule at home
Most of our days at or near home look like this:
7:30am-8:00am wake up & misc play
9:00am breakfast, get dressed & brush teeth
10:00am-12:00pm park play, errands, play date (10:30 snack on the go)
1:00pm-2:00pm indoor play together and wind down for nap
3:45pm-5:30pm park play, errands, play date (snack on the go)
6:00pm family dinner
6:30pm-7:00pm daddy-daughter time
7:00pm-7:30pm family play
7:30pm bath & bedtime routine
Infographic you can pin & share
I hope by sharing our daily routine, I have inspired you to create one that works for your toddler and your family. Having a predictable schedule and offering choices wherever possible helps your toddler feel more confident and independent.
Again, of course it’s flexible. My toddler is naturally more well-behaved when we are out doing fun new activities, and she enjoys a new adventure (like a zoo day or going to a friends house). This daily schedule is built for the typical day at/near home.
Happy planning and be sure to drop any questions & comments below!
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