Get an idea of what kind of schedule your 2 year old would thrive on, including naps and overnight sleep with osur 2 year old sleep schedule samples!
Two years old is such a fun stage! Your little baby is a full-on toddler now, walking, talking and pushing those boundaries like it’s their job (which it really is!).
Even though two years old gets a bad wrap with the terrible twos, I find it to be one of the most endearing and adorable phases!
Sleep can be tricky at this age as your two-year old may start having fears of the dark or monsters in their room. And the 2-year-old sleep regression can hit your family really hard! It definitely did for us!
Let’s make sure your 2 year old’s sleep schedule is right where it should be so you can combat any sleep issues that may creep up in this adorable toddler phase!
What is A Good Sleep Schedule for A Two-Year-Old?
Our number one priority when setting up the best 2 year old sleep schedule is to optimize both nap time and night time sleep. Before we can do that, you’ll need to know two important things.
First, how much sleep does your two-year-old need during the day? Second, how much sleep do they need overnight?
By this age, your two-year-old needs between 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day. Ideally, they’ll sleep 11 or 12 of those hours through the night. Not getting enough sleep can lead to sleep issues including toddler bedtime tantrums and fighting sleep.
At this age I recommend sticking to a regular nap and bedtime schedule as opposed to following your toddler’s wake windows.
If your little one is between 24 to 36 months old, they likely need between between 4 to 6 hours of awake time before and after their nap. That’s a huge difference from the newborn days when they could only stay awake long enough for a diaper change and a feeding!
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How Many Naps Should A Two-Year-Old Take?
Your two-year-old is resilient, but they are also super active. That’s why I still recommend you keep a nap time in the daily schedule.
You don’t want your toddler to get too overtired or overstimulated throughout the day. That can cause big problems when you’re trying to settle them in to their bedtime routine.
Nap time serves as a daily reset. Also, the extra daytime sleep—at the appropriate amount—will actually help your little one sleep better at night. A well-rested toddler sleeps better!
In general, you should aim for your two-year-old to get 1 to 2.5 hours of sleep during the day. Keeping appropriate wake windows in mind, they should go down for their nap about 5 hours after they’ve woken up for the day.
If you haven’t moved from two naps to one, it’s time to transition. Too much nap time at this age means your toddler has less time to be active and tire out their growing bodies and minds, which they need for a solid night’s rest.
Naps and the Two-Year-Old Sleep Regression
On the other end of the nap time spectrum, you might find your two-year-old is suddenly fighting their only nap of the day and going on a two year old nap strike. Don’t be fooled! They can still really benefit from that extra daytime rest.
A non-napping two-year-old is likely to overtire and struggle at bedtime.
Some toddlers go through a two-year sleep regression. One sign of this regression is when your little one tries to drop nap time completely. Hold strong! Keep fostering a good nap environment and do what you can to avoid introducing poor sleep habits during a regression.
Most kids still need a nap until they are 3 or 4 years old. Plenty of parents drop it around 2 years old and move to a 2-year old no-nap schedule, but if you keep offering the nap, your toddler may pick it up again and keep it for another year or two!
If you decide to drop, make sure to introduce quiet time during nap time hours, so your toddler still gets a little rest during the day.
If nap time is a battle—either because your two-year-old wants no part of it or because they seem overtired during the day—it may be time to take a look at when they’re going to bed at night.
What Time Should A Two-Year-Old Go to Bed?
If your toddler is regularly cranky and tired long before nap time or if your 2-year old is waking up too early in the morning, it’s time to look at how long they’re sleeping at night or how late the nap is being offered.
You can’t necessarily control how early your toddler wakes up in the morning. Thankfully, you do have some power over when they go to bed.
Again, your two-year-old needs between 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day. If your toddler takes a 1 to 2.5-hour nap during the day, you should aim for 11 to 12 hours of sleep every night.
If you know that your toddler isn’t getting enough sleep at night, you can try easing them in to an earlier bedtime. You can do this over the course of a week, pushing bedtime up in 15 minute increments each night.
How to Pick a Bedtime for Your Two-Year-Old
One easy way to determine your two-year-old’s ideal bedtime is to pay attention to the time they normally wake up in the morning. Then, start their bedtime routine around that same time in the evening.
For example, if your toddler is waking up at 7:00 am, start easing into their bedtime routine at 7:00 pm. Ideally, they’ll be falling asleep on their own by 8:00 pm at the latest.
This schedule sets up your toddler to get enough sleep at night. It also leaves some room during the day for a 1 to 2.5 hour nap.
If your two-year-old is taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime, nap time might need to be earlier. Remember that the appropriate wake window at this age is 5 to 6 hours. If there’s less than 5 hours between when they wake up from nap and go down for bedtime, it may take them longer to fall asleep at night.
I know that’s a lot of information. Let’s break it all down into a sample 2 year old sleep schedule.
Example 2 Year Old Sleep Schedule
The sample 2 year old schedule is similar to a 1 year old schedule, but with a bit more time in between naps.
Remember that the three key elements of a two-year-old’s sleep schedule should be:
- A total of 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep.
- One 1.5 to 2 hour nap during the day.
- Wake windows that fall between 4 to 6 hours.
With those things in mind, here is a sample sleep schedule for 2 year old.
- 7:00 am: Wake up and eat breakfast
- 9:00 am: Snack time
- 12:30 pm: Lunch time
- 1:00-2:30/3:00 pm: Nap
- 2:30/3:00 pm: Snack
- 5:30 pm: Dinner
- 7:00/7:30 pm: Bedtime
Of course every two-year-old and their family’s needs are different. The great thing about understanding age-appropriate wake windows and sleep requirements is that you’ll be able to adapt your schedule to meet your toddler’s needs and your own.
If you need some extra help coming up with the right two-year-old sleep schedule for your family, I’m here for you!
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- Optimal 4 Year Old Sleep Schedule to Prevent Wakeups - March 13, 2023
Tuesday 27th of December 2022
Hi There! My 2 year old was a great sleeper until about 6 weeks ago..he would sleep 6:645-6:45 with a nap at daycare 1pm-3pm. He would go down independently and self soothe through the night if he woke (we were very lucky!). He got sick a while ago so would wake up in cough fits so we'd check on him. Since then, he's needed more comfort when he wakes through the night, otherwise he throws a fit and won't go back to sleep. He's waking at 4:30am refusing to go back to sleep. I've tried pushing back bedtime to 730 which hasnt helped for him to sleep in. He's still napping at 1pm because of daycare and he's so routine that he'll tantrum in the crib if before 1pm. I've moved bedtime back to 630 and still he's waking at 430. I feel like the 430 wake up has been going on for so many weeks now that that's just his internal clock but we can't have him up that early. We are at a loss. Any tips? Do we just keep him in bed crying at 430 in hopes something will give?
Wednesday 11th of January 2023
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you!
It sounds like his nap is probably interfering with his night time sleep and causing those early wakings. I would either try to shorten the nap or push bedtime back a little later.
Hope that helps, Amy
Friday 9th of December 2022
My son turned 2 in October. He was sleeping really well before that! Waking up at 6:00-6:30, napping 11:00-1:00 then asleep for the night by 7:00. But then they moved him to a new room at daycare for the 2 year olds and changed his nap to noon-2:00, sometimes 2:30 and he's been a mess! And I don't have the option of changing his nap back. Then, daylight savings time ended and that screwed him up more. And he also got sick for the first 3 weeks of November so then things got worse and we haven't been able to recover since. He wakes up anywhere from 4:00am-5:30. And won't go back to sleep. He used to go back to sleep very well by himself before all this. I've tried pushing his bedtime to 8:00 since he naps later but that hasn't helped. Any idea??
Tuesday 13th of December 2022
@Amy Motroni, he sleeps in his crib but doesn't have a clock. When he was sick and would wake up early we'd go to his room and try to comfort him and we would get him out to rock in his chair. (Before being sick we would just leave him in his crib and he'd get back to sleep fine). Sometimes if he was feeling extra crappy we'd let him lay with us for a bit to see if he'd fall back asleep but usually I'm a big proponent if not getting him out. Now that he's not sick anymore, when he wakes we go check on him physically but leave him in the crib. We give hugs and kisses and explain it's still bedtime then we leave the room. But most mornings that brings on crib tantrums then the whole house is awake 😔 and he's wide awake with no relaxing.
Monday 12th of December 2022
Hi Kristie, That is so rough! I have a few follow up questions:
1. How do you respond when he wakes up early?2. Does he have an okay to wake clock like the Hatch?. Is he in a crib or bed?
Monday 22nd of August 2022
Hello Amy, my 2 year old use to wake up at 7am which was perfect but this was a while ago. But ever since he’s been waking up at 5-5:30am every morning. I’m so exhausted and would love for a 7am waking again. His sleep schedule looks like this wakes up 5-5:30am, nap is usually around 10-11am and only last an hour then bed time is 6-7pm. He has blackout curtains. I’ve tried treating wake times like night time wakings and he just gets mad and wants out of bed. I could really use some help on what to do, I feel like I’ve tried everything and anything.
Monday 22nd of August 2022
Hi Amanda, I would try a later nap! He may be getting overtired with that long stretch of awake time before bed. I would try nap at 12:30-1:30/2 for several days and see how that goes!
Friday 15th of July 2022
I forgot to add to my question. Our 2.5 year old woke up previously at 730am, nap at 1pm - 230pm then bedtime at 8pm. She didn't want to nap with this schedule and she fought her nap hard. She wasn't tired for bedtime and fell asleep at 9pm.
Now, she fights her nap still and sometimes goes without a nap. Wakes at 7am, 1pm - 2pm nap, bedtime 8pm. Just wondering if an hour is too short. If so, suggestions are helpful.
Monday 25th of July 2022
It's fairly common for a 2.5-year old to fight naps some days. I would hang onto the nap if possible.
I think your current schedule 7am / 1-2pm nap / bedtime 8pm is sufficient.
A 1-hour nap is on the shorter side, but if you notice bedtime is better with it that length, then an hour is fine!
On the days she does skip naps, you can pull bedtime up 60-90 minutes.
Hope that helps! Amy
Friday 15th of July 2022
We are confused on how long to let our 30 month old toddler sleep. We switched her from 1.5 hrs to 1.0 hour since she was fighting her nap and seemed wired. Is an hour ok? She wakes at 7am, naps at 1pm and bedtime at 8pm. Any suggestions? Thank you 😉