Inside: Today I’m sharing my 2 year old sleep schedule with 1 nap or no nap. Confused about what time your 2 year old should be napping or even what to do if they won’t nap? In this post we’ll cover everything you need to know about your 2 year old’s sleep.
So you’ve read our post on what to do when your toddler won’t nap and My 2 Year Old’s Daily Routine, but now you want to have a better idea of how to structure your 2 year old’s day around their sleep schedule… mama, I’ve got you covered as always.
Sleep is one of the essential components of a daily routine. It’s one of the “non-negotiables” you hear me chat about all the time on Instagram.
The 2 main non-negotiables of a toddler’s daily routine include:
- Mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks)
- Sleep (including wake-up, nap, bedtime)
While there are so many other things we do each day, such as:
- Outdoor play
- Preschool or activities
- TV time (if allowed)
Eating and sleeping are, without a doubt, the two most important components of their routine. Once you have a feeding schedule and a sleep schedule established, you can plug in the other components of their day (such as activities, play, baths, clean-up, TV, etc.)
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2 Year Old Sleep Problems
Of course this wouldn’t be a Because I Said So, Baby blog post if we didn’t tackle some sort of obstacle in your day with your toddler 😉
The two year old sleep regression is absolutely real and I’ve experienced it in some way or another with all 3 of my girls.
- This regression typically occurs between 22-26 months, but of course varies based on your toddler. During this sleep regression your 2 year old may refuse to nap, start waking up frequently in the night, nap for hours some days and not at all the next day.
And it may come as a huge relief to you that this is all very normal.
- Stick with their nap and sleep schedule and soon you’ll see the light. They may even go back to napping consistently until officially dropping their nap around 3-4 years old.
- It is very rare that a 2 year old drops a nap completely (and never goes back to it). Most 2 year old’s still benefit from one afternoon nap.
That being said…
Is it ok if my 2 year old doesn’t nap?
It’s important to remember that all kids are different. I’ve had moms share with me that their toddler stopped napping completely at 2 and others with kids still napping at 5 years old.
All kids are different.
What works well with one child, may not work well for another (even in the same family!)
That being said, we are talking about the average toddler here, not the exception to the rule.
Of course it’s “ok” if your 2 year old doesn’t nap! Much like you cannot (and would not want to) make your toddler eat a meal they don’t like, you can’t make them nap either.
You can certainly give it your best try, stay calm, and stick to your routine, but ultimately it’s up to them whether they sleep or not at naptime.
That being said, if your 2 year old skips their nap that day, it is important to put them to bed earlier so that they can make-up for the sleep they missed out on. If they usually go to bed at 7 PM, try laying them down at 6 PM.
- All toddlers do well with a routine, so even if you suspect that they won’t nap that day, still go through with the motions of their routine, setting them up for their nap and laying them down, and if it’s clear they aren’t going to nap that day, at least you tried.
- And course, life gets in the way! With older siblings and their schedules, it’s not always practical or possible to be home for your 2 year old’s naptime. If they won’t nap on the go, then that means a missed nap that day, but maybe a longer nap the next day.
So, yes, it’s ok if your 2 year old doesn’t nap occasionally, whether due to family scheduling or a sleep regression, however, overall, most 2 year old’s still benefit from a regular afternoon nap.
Related: 2 Year Old Not Listening? Try This.
Two Year Old Sample Sleep Schedule
Are you in need of a solid sleep schedule for your 2 year old? The good news is this – the best sleep schedule for your toddler is one that works best for you (and your 2 year old!).
At this age, the exact time of their nap might vary, especially if the time they wake up in the morning varies. However, you can try to keep the time of their nap consistent by waking them up at the same time each day.
That being said, you definitely don’t need to wake them up, it just depends on how important a predictable naptime is to you. At 2 years old, most toddlers will be able to handle a 1-3 PM naptime, which is ideal for a 7 AM to 7 PM schedule.
In general your 2 year old’s sleep schedule will involve these components:
- Wake up
- Put down for nap
- Wake up from nap
Below we’ll chat about possible times for each of these components.
How long should a 2 year old nap?
“Should” is a tricky word here – at the risk of sounding like a broken record, all toddlers are different!
On average, a two year old typically naps for 2 hours. However, naps vary, so your toddler may nap anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.
Anything less than 1 hour probably will not be enough sleep, and would most likely require an earlier bedtime.
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2 Year Old Sleep Schedule with 1 Nap
An important factor to consider in your 2 year old’s sleep schedule are wake windows.
Wake windows are the amount of time they are awake before going to sleep again.
- The longest wake window is between waking up in the morning and laying down for a nap.
- The shortest wake window is between waking up from their nap and going to bed.
In general, their afternoon wake window should be around 4-5 hours, meaning if they wake up from their nap at 3 PM, an ideal bedtime would be about 7 PM.
“Ideal” because they’ve been awake long enough to be tired again, but not so long that they are now overtired.
Some toddlers are more sensitive to wake windows while others are less affected. You know your child best, so adjust their routine accordingly.
Now let’s take a look at what time your 2 year old could go down for a nap following a 7 AM – 7 PM sleep schedule.
7 AM – Wake up
7:30 AM – Breakfast
10:15 – Snack
12:00 PM – Lunch
1:00 – 3:00 PM – Afternoon Nap
3:30 PM – Snack
5:30 PM – Dinner
7 PM – Bedtime
It’s important to keep in mind that this is just an example following an average sleep schedule. Some 2 year olds wake up at 6 AM and others at 9 AM. Due to family size and other kid’s schedules it may not be possible to get your 2 year old to bed by 7 PM.
This format is simply to provide you with an idea of how a sleep schedule looks.
2 Year Old Sleep Schedule with No Nap
For the days your toddler refuses to nap or isn’t able to fall asleep at naptime, adjust their sleep schedule by moving up their bedtime by an hour (or more if necessary).
What often occurs when a toddler misses a nap is that their nighttime sleep is thrown off either by:
- Oversleeping (sleeping in much later) – OR –
- Waking frequently in the night, fussy, and unable to go back down
If this is the case, and your toddler is really struggling to nap, try going for a car ride or walking with them in the stroller, anything to help them make-up for some of their missed daytime sleep.
More helpful tips for your 2 Year Old’s Sleep Schedule:
- If your 2 year old doesn’t nap, it’s not the end of the world. They might nap tomorrow or the next day. I know it feels like *a lot* when you miss out on that “me time” – put them to bed early, and try again tomorrow.
- Most 2 year olds will nap best in their crib, however, on-the-go naps in the car or in a stroller are definitely possible – all toddlers are different!
- Follow a predictable routine before naptime like: quiet play, sleep sack, white noise, (nursing if applicable), lay down.
What to Read Next:
- Daily Routine for a Baby & 2 Year Old
- How to Potty Train Before Two
- My 2 Year Old’s Exact Daily Routine
- How to Make Life Easier with a Baby & Toddler