Need a good bedtime routine for your 2 year old. Here’s an example of one that flows with the natural rhythm of most 2 year old toddlers.
You’ll never truly understand how powerless you can be until you try to get a 2 year old to sleep, who just-won’t-sleep.
I don’t know about you, but I have *that* child.
The child who will not do anything he doesn’t want to do. No punishment is too big, no bribe too small.
Nothing will budge his will.
But even if you do have *that* child, there is still hope!
Creating an awesome bedtime routine for your 2-year-old will restore you of your lost faith in your abilities as a parent.
Of course, how easy this venture is all depends on the personality and temperament of your toddler.
If you have more than one, you no doubt have quickly realized how much their personalities can vary from child to child.
Whether your trying to get your child to sleep in their own bed or you co-sleep, this schedule should help!
But let’s get down to the important part of this whole thing. Getting your 2 year old on a bedtime routine that works!
A bedtime routine that saves both of your sanities, and keeps you in happy, upbeat, functional moods.
But most importantly, also helps you both get a good night’s sleep.
It is possible! I promise. But first, let’s go over a 2 year olds sleep needs.
2 Year Old Sleep Needs
2 year olds are going through huge changes.
Their sleep needs start to lessen slightly from their babyhood as they stroll into toddlerhood.
But this is also a time when some toddlers enter a sleep regression and you’ll find your child wakes up regularly through out the night.
A good routine and some much needed sleep training can help.
Overall, your 2 year old will need at least 12 hours of sleep but may need up to 14.
They’ll also probably start napping only once per day for an hour or two.
Their little bodies are rapidly changing, growing and needing new things.
How much sleep your toddler needs can also depend on how active they and their nap schedule as well.
2 Year Old Sleep Schedule
A 2 year old sleep schedule is pretty straight forward and simple at this point. We’ll have a whole daily sleep routine laid out hour by hour below.
But basically your 2 year old should be waking up in the morning, spending 4-5 hours awake and then settling down for a nice afternoon nap.
Then your toddler will have some awake and active time before laying down for an early bedtime. Wash, rinse, repeat.
It’s also important to throw some positive night time routines in there to help get your child excited for bedtime.
And most children thrive on the same routine, so consistency is key for good toddler sleep.
2 Year old Sleep Schedule Sample
Here is our sleep schedule sample for our two year old. Now I’m going to list this out hour by hour for those who like to see cold hard numbers.
But really have to take in your own needs, and the needs of your 2 year old before creating your own sleep schedule.
You don’t even have to think of it hour by hour like this. You can easily block out activities for each part of the day and move smoothly through it like that.
It really all just depends on what works best for you guys.
0800: Wake up
In our house we wake up about 8. Usually my 2 year old is the first one up, ready to rise and shine. He is always in a chipper mood at this point.
We get up and he plays with his brother while I make breakfast.
I like to make sure that our family wake up time stays consistent, so they don’t get to thrown off of their routine.
0900: Eat & Play
Both of our boys eat breakfast and then have free play after.
1000-1200: Outside time or Free Play
If the weather is permitting, we move to the back yard to continue our free play and activity time.
I usually leave the back door open and do my morning chores while they play independently on the patio.
Our 2 year old loves free play, so he’ll keep himself busy during this time with pretty much anything he can find.
Our 3 year old needs a little more direction and will often need to be given tasks or activities suggestions.
1200: Eat and Wind-down
By now our 2 year old has worked up quite the appetite and is ready for lunch.
He’ll eat, and then I’ll let him watch a little of his favorite T.V. Shows. (Right now he is obsessed with Blippi!)
1300: 2 Year Old Nap Time
Now our 2 year old is ready for a nap! He’s usually pretty ready by this time, so we go into a quite, dark room and lay down.
I give him his favorite stuffed animal and he’s good to go.
He falls asleep fairly quickly as long as nothing interesting happens. (Usually from our active 3 year old!)
1300-1500 Nap time continues
We have quiet time in our house while our toddler naps.
This is usually a great time for me and my three year old to catch up on one on one time.
I also get some work done during this time.
1500: Awake and ready to play
By 3pm our 2 year old is awake and ready to play. He’ll play all the way until dinner time.
I like to encourage independent play at this time, as I’m usually doing chores or cooking dinner.
1700: Eat and wind down
We all eat dinner, clean up and get ready to start our bedtime routine.
1900: Start the Bedtime Routine
Now that everyone is fed, the kitchen is clean and the kids have had sometime to let their food go down, we start our bedtime routine.
This usually takes about half and hour, and then its time for sleep!
The bedtime routine is probably the most important part of this whole schedule.
Creating a Good Bedtime Routine for your Two Year Old
Coming up with a good bedtime routine will make all the difference in how your 2 year old perceives bedtime.
It can be a pleasant experience they look forward to or become a total battle of wills.
We both know you’d rather a pleasant experience! So how do you create a bedtime routine your 2 year old will love?
Basically, they need attention from you. Create a system to get whatever tasks you need done every night, and do them in the same oreder, every-night.
So let’s say you want to have your toddlers teeth brushed, get them in their jammies, have a fresh night time diaper and get a book read all before they go to bed.
Creating healthy sleep habits is key.
You’ll want to pick an order that works for you guys, and stick with it. You’ll also want to sprinkle in fun and connection.
My suggestions is to include a few fun, but calm bedtime activities to include in your toddlers bedtime routine, things like:
- Quiet play
- Bath time
- Bedtime stories
- Turn on a dim night light
Also, make sure to limit screen time before bed. It can disrupt your child’s sleep. It could be a reason they have trouble falling asleep.
Creating a good todller bedtime routine can also help decrease bedtime battles!
Find ways to make your bedtime routine fun
For example, when it’s time to brush teeth, make it fun. Play the “find the animal game.”
Ask your toddler if you can check to see if there is a lion in his mouth. When he opens up to let you check, brush those pearly whites while roaring.
He’ll get a kick out of it, and feel a little more connected with you. He’ll also look forward to this step in the bedtime routine, meaningless fighting, less struggling.
You can find lots of other ways to make teeth brushing fun.
Then you can let him pick out which jammies he wants to wear and sing a sweet bedtime song while you change his diaper and put on the chosen jammies. (After admiring them out loud of course!)
Then in your best calm, but still excited voice, talk about the book you’ll read together.
Get it out and point out lots of fun things in the pictures.
Keep this calm and soothing, while making lots of eye contact and smiling.
Your child will feel connected and secure with you.
Next, turn out the light and say good night. You can do this however works best with you.
I lay with my kids until they fall asleep, but that doesn’t mean you have to!
Maybe yours will lay in bed telling stories to himself, or singing your special bedtime song.
Mostly, just finding a bedtime routine that works for your 2 year old and you is the important part.