I regularly get questions from readers about how to create a good sample daily toddler schedule. While not every toddler is the same, I do think it’s very helpful to see what other moms are doing in their homes. 5 stay-at-home moms were asked to share their schedules. So I use the word “real” intentionally because these are not schedules from a book about what someone thinks you should do, theses are actual real schedules that moms are currently using.
It’s a great way to gauge your own toddler’s schedule and find inspiration to try new things. All of these schedules are simply meant to be an approximate guide for other moms. You could structure the day for your toddler completely different, and have it work equally as well! So if you don’t think this will work well for your toddler or your family, that’s okay too!
And please remember, that all of these schedules are approximate times. All the moms sharing a sample schedule, also agreed that they “flex” their schedules each day to meet the needs of their toddlers and their families.
Sample daily toddler schedule for 19 month old girl
- 8:30 am Wake up, eat breakfast.
- 9:00 am Playtime
- 11:00 am Lunch
- 11:30 am Reading time
- 12:00 pm Nap
- 3:00 pm Wake up, snack.
- 3:30 pm Play until dinner
- 6:00 pm Dinner
- 7:00 pm Bedtime routine
- 7:30 pm Bedtime
Sample daily toddler schedule for 21 month old boy
- 7:00 am Wake up, eat breakfast
- 8:30 am Independent play in toddler room
- 9:30 am Snack, playtime with mom or play groups
- 11:30 am Lunch
- 12:30 pm Nap
- 3:00 pm Wake up, snack
- 3:30 pm Park time or play outside
- 5:30 pm Dinner
- 7:00 pm Bedtime routine
- 7:30 pm Bedtime
Sample daily toddler schedule for 30 month old boy
- 7:30 am Wake up. Read and play.
- 8:15 am Breakfast
- 12:00 pm Lunch
- 1:30 pm Nap
- 3:00 pm Nap ends
- 3:15 pm Snack
- 5:45 pm Dinner
- 7:15 pm Get ready for bed
- 7:30 pm Reading with mom or dad
- 8:00 pm Bed
Sample daily toddler schedule for 38 month old girl
- 7:45 am Wake up, breakfast, get ready
- 8:30 am Activity lesson
- 9:15 am Park time
- 10:00 am Playtime at home
- 12:00 pm Lunch
- 1:30 pm Nap time
- 4:30 pm Wake up, snack
- 6:00 pm Dinner
- 7:30 pm Bath
- 8:00 pm Bedtime routine, books, prayers
- 8:30 pm Bedtime
Sample daily toddler schedule for 18 month old boy AND 32 month old boy
- 7:30 am Wake up, diaper change, breakfast
- 8:30 am Craft or preschool activities, more structured play
- 9:30 am Independent playtime
- 10:30 am Snack, free play inside and as much outside time as we can manage
- 12:00 pm Eat lunch
- 1:00 pm Nap
- 3:30 pm Up from nap, small snack, some screen time and then free play
- 5:15 pm Dinner time
- 6:00 pm Bath time
- 6:30pm Wind down to bed including reading books, brushing teeth, snuggles and hugs
- 7:15 pm Bedtime
How much sleep do toddlers really need?
No matter the approximate schedule for your toddler, most children ages 2-3 need about 14 hours of sleep per day. Some less, some more, but for the most part, this is pretty consistent with all the schedules shared for this post. Some toddlers may sleep more during the night and have a shorter nap, while others may sleep less at night and take a longer nap.
All-in-all 14 hours per day for a toddler is a great goal to reach for!
When is the ideal naptime for a toddler?
One of the things that I’ve always found in all my sleep “research” is that having a toddler wake up approximately 4 hours before bedtime seems to be the sweet spot. I’ve also found that having a toddler take a nap approximately 1 hour after lunch seems to be another sweet spot. So if you can find a nice balance along those time ranges, it can help with a successful nap time.
What is the ideal wake up time and bedtime for a toddler?
Again, one of the things that you typically find sleep experts to recommend is a wake up time between 6-8 pm and a bedtime between 6-8 pm. All of your choices may fall around what works best for your family. For example, if your toddler needs to wake up early (6 am) to get to daycare on time, you may find more success with an earlier bedtime (6:30 pm). If your family needs more evening time together, or one parent gets home from work late, you may appreciate a later (8 pm) bedtime if your toddler is able to sleep a bit later in the morning (7:30 or 8 am).
How to incorporate independent playtime into your toddler’s schedule.
I am often asked how we helped our toddler to learn to play alone for an hour each day. If you are a busy stay-at-home mom, this can be a very helpful way to get more things done during the day, while at the same time, teaching your child independence. While my son plays alone, I get as much done as possible, and the remainder of the day, I am able to fully engage him.
Here is how you can get started with a baby (yes, you can start in small blocks of time!)
How to incorporate routines into your toddler’s schedule.
Routines are a great way to minimize nagging, reminding, and yelling at toddlers throughout the day! You can use routines by simply following the same series or steps before a meal, activity, or sleep time. Toddlers (and kids of any age really) learn what is expected of them, and routines also help toddlers feel a sense of control over the day to day stuff.
You would think routines would make them feel less control. Not true. For toddlers the sense of control comes in the form of mastery (knowing how to do a routine well) and knowing what to expect (understanding they do the same thing each day).
Here are a few ways to incorporate routines…
- Pre-meal routine (wash hands, sit at the table, pray, etc)
- Pre-bedtime routine (bath, pajamas, quiet time/reading time, snack, pray, bed)
- Pre-independent play routine (get toys in the room read, set timer, hugs and kisses, etc)
Routines are usually meant to be simple and don’t need to take much time. You are probably already doing them without even realizing it!
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Want more on toddlers?
- Dear Moms of Toddlers
- 9 Phrases that Change Life with a Toddler
- Why a Stay-at-Home Mom Schedule Matters
- The Key to Creating a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom Schedule
What’s your best tip for creating a good toddler schedule? Let’s chat in the comments!