How to Structure days for your Toddler + a toddler daily home schedule
Having a toddler in the home can make for some crazy days. Children have an overwhelming amount of energy. They are curious and ready to learn. Build on your toddler’s curiosity and enrich their days. Use this toddler daily home schedule and activities to help you plan your day.
This is a general schedule for a toddler 1 ½ to 2 years old. These are not hard times, just a guideline. I know that everyone doesn’t eat an early dinner so you may switch dinner and bath time around. These are activities that should be done each day. The amount of time or when you choose to do them is up to you.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through this links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information please check my Disclosure Policy
A toddler needs consistency. This helps their bodies prepare for what’s next. When you have a routine that you follow it will help you not feel as stressed. A routine helps your child expects what next. This helps with transitions and not to help meltdowns.
If you are interested in a more in-depth Schedule and Specific Activities be sure to look into the Toddler Enrichment Ebook.
Example of a Toddler Daily Home Schedule – Ages 18- 24months
- 7:00 am- 7:30 am Wake up, eat breakfast.
- 8:30 am Independent play
- 9:00 am Snack
- 9:30 am playtime together
- 10:45 am Reading –bedtime routine
- 11:00-1:00pm Nap
- 1:00 pm Wake up, Lunch
- 2:00 pm Movement Play
- 3:00 pm Snack
- 3:30 pm Playtime
- 5:30- 6:30 pm Dinner
- 6:30 pm Bath or Relax Time
- 7:00 pm TV time or Tablet
- 7:15 pm Bedtime routine
- 7:30 pm Bedtime
This schedule can be used for your 2-year-old as well with longer independent play time.
To help you stay organized print your daily, weekly, and monthly planner here.
Around 18 months children should start to have more independent play time. This could be anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour. Try to encourage a little bit of independent play each day. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are in a different room, it just means that you are not guiding what your child is playing with. Be in the room together and let them explore on their own. If they put the toy apple into the toy garage… its ok. Don’t join in and assist or correct. Let them figure it out on their own.
Independent play is an important part of development. They need to learn and explore on their own. This builds creatively and critical thinking skills. Children will be more excited about the outcome when they figure it out themselves instead of being shown. You don’t need to have millions of toys for independent play to be successful. A few different toys are all you need. I also do toy rotation. If they get toys for Birthday’s or Holidays I don’t let them open them all at once. I give a few toys right away and put the others away for later. When they seem to be tired of the current toys I switch to other ones.
Playing in the bedroom or playroom is perfect. You can also provide an activity for your child to explore on their own. You want to encourage activities where it is the child’s choice, not yours. By playing a child driven activity you can see the world through their eyes. The interaction through play shows your child that you are fully paying attention to them and allowing them to make some decisions on their own. Even children that are less verbal can express themselves through play.
*Give two bowls. One with ice cubes and one empty. Have your child pick up (or use a measuring cup to scoop out) the ice cubes and pick into the other bowl.
*Open the Tupperware cabinet and let them go at it. (This is great for when you need to stay in the kitchen.)
For more help on activities be sure to look into The Toddler Enrichment Ebook.
Playtime together can be any activity you choose. From coloring and puzzles to rolling the ball on the floor. Take those cars and balls and push them back and forth. This is a great activity that teaches your child to work together, share and the beginning of learning to play a game.
Using a toddler schedule to structure your Day
If by chance you haven’t seen my other post on reading, I’m a huge advocate of starting reading since birth. Now during the toddler stage, you may not be reading the book each time, you may just be looking at the pictures. This is just as important. Point and talk about the pictures. This helps your child to identify an item by pointing. Label everything on the page. Say “Where’s the dog?”, “Point to the sun”, “Here’s the car.”
Amazing Books to read before Kindergarten -Book List Included
Toddler’s Sleep Needs
For this age group, 1 ½ to 2 years old, the American Association of Pediatrics suggest a child needs close to 14 hours of sleep. That’s including nap times. If you have a bedtime at about 7:30 pm and your child wakes up around 7:00 am then your child is getting 11 ½ hours at night. Your child then should be taking a 2-hour nap. Of course, nap time and bedtime will vary a bit with each child. Having a set nap time and bedtime is beneficial to the child. Be consistent. Their little bodies will expect sleep and be ready for bed. By having a set time it eliminates bedtime struggle.
By establishing a bedtime routine early on it will set them up for successful and quality sleep. Sleep is essential for growth and development. For naptime and bedtime, the routine should be close to the same. It doesn’t need to be
complicated just consistent every day. You don’t want to do active play at this time. That may make your child too excited to lay down for sleep. Now that your child isn’t a baby you can give a special blanket or stuffed animal to sleep with. This helps to relax and have some comfort.
Read a book
Sing a song
Put down in the crib
If you would like further information on how much sleep your child needs look into the recommendations from American Academy of Pediatrics.
What I mean by movement play is any activity where the child is moving around. This is the time to build those gross motor skills. Toddlers have loads of energy and need to move. It seems as if your child is always on the move. Toddlers have an increase in energy.
If it’s a nice day out go outside for some fresh air. Go to the park or just let them run around your backyard. This will help release some energy and minimize destruction in your house. This way there are no walls to run into as well. I can’t tell you how many times my son hits the wall as he’s trying to run.
Inside activities can be
*Play music and dance
*Build a fort
*Simon Says—this helps to teach body parts as well
For more ideas on activities be sure to look into The Toddler Enrichment ebook.
If you would like more activities to get your child moving and build gross motor skills sign up here.
For breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack times, you want to encourage your toddler to feed themselves. Let them use spoons and forks. At this stage, they should already be eating with their fingers. Many times when a child can’t get the food on the fork they resort to using their fingers. That’s ok. It’s important that they are feeding themselves. Drinking should be out of a straw or a regular cup. You want to avoid using spout and traditional sippy cups. Traditional sippy cups don’t benefit your toddler. Toddler sippy-cups limit the child’s ability to develop oral motor skills and a mature swallowing pattern. The spout on a Sippy-cup is just like the nipple on a bottle.
If you would like more information about not using a sippy cup make sure to read this article No More Sippy Cups.
Meal times get messy, I know. I put a plastic floor mat underneath the highchair. This helps so everything falls onto the mat and not the floor. It’s easy to wipe clean and the vacuum goes over it as well.
Bath Time or Wind downtime
Your toddler does not require a bath every day. Actually, it’s not good for their skin to bath every day. At this point, you can give a bath every 2 days or so. Bath time is another opportunity for them to play. I give measuring cups I got at the Dollar Store. They can scoop up the water and pour it out. This is a great way to learn
cause and effect. If you do buy bath toys, please close up the holes with hot glue. If you don’t close up the
holes on bath toys be sure to throw them out every few months. You would not believe
how gross those toys get. Bacteria and mold grow when things are wet. Be sure to
throw them out on a regular basis.
Wind Down Activities
For more ideas on activities be sure to look into The Toddler Enrichment ebook
TV or Tablet time
It is recommended that young children watch TV sparingly. This also includes tablets and using the phone. Any amount of time spent on screens should be limited. The amount of screen time for toddlers has increased dramatically over the last few years. They are spending more time with screens instead of other forms of play. Screens limit language and interaction. Moderation is best.
At this age is when we started a little evening TV. My kids didn’t watch TV till around 2. I give them about 20 min of educational TV. The favorite here is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. My toddler does not use the IPAD yet. If you use the IPAD make sure they are educational websites.
As mentioned above it’s important for children to go to bed early and have a full nights sleep.
Start your bedtime routine
For naptime and bedtime, the routine should be close to the same. It doesn’t need to be complicated just consistent every day.
Read a book
Sing a song
Put down in the crib
This is a rundown of a typical day with a toddler at home.
If you are looking for a comprehensive list of activities for movement and independent play for your toddler be sure to look into The Toddler Enrichment ebook. This will solve your problems of “what do I do with my toddler today?”