2 year olds have a bad rap. There were times when I laughed at my two year olds’ logic and other times when I wanted him to just do what I wanted! We had him on a pretty regular schedule, but there were other elements we needed to add at this age. I’ll include everything we have learned in this two year old schedule, to minimize tantrums and power struggles. So you can skip some of the terrible and enjoy this blossoming little person.
The best advice someone gave me was simple. Just remember how much they are working on right now and keep that in perspective. We can’t expect them to do things the way we do or remember how to do something after shown once. He is increasing his independence, while also learning that their are rules outside of himself that have to be followed.
On the other hand, they are able to focus longer on games and activities, and start telling the funniest stories. You really see them blossom into a “real person”.
If you haven’t already, you could be transitioning to a toddler bed or converting your nursery to a toddler room. This is also a great age to potty train. I waited until about 2 and 1/2 with my first. With my second, I’m going to try right before 2. My reasoning is that I think Miles was too established in his ways and independence, so he resisted more. Hoping that won’t happen if I start earlier- I’ll let you know how that goes!
This post concludes our sample schedule and routine series. You’ll find developmental milestones of a 2 year old toddler, as well as toys and activities that are perfect for this age. Following, there is a sample schedule that will give you a “typical” structure that you can follow or modify to fit your life and personality (Free to download at the end!).
Key Elements of a 2 Year Old Schedule
- Sleep– they may start fighting sleep, but stick to your routine- even if it’s just quiet time in their room for nap. 13-15 total hours of sleep. 1 nap around 1pm (lasts 1-2 hours). I have bedtime at 7:30, but the ideal window is 6-8pm. Decide what works for your family and how to get your toddler the hours he needs.
- Repetition– really need consistency and predictability at this age. I often tell Miles what is going to happen after we get out of the car so he knows what will happen.
- Routine– In addition to a daily schedule, routines for common situations are really helpful at this age. For example, when Miles walks in the door he has to hang up his coat, take his shoes off and put them in the bin, go potty and wash his hands. If I randomly add a task instead of engraining it into a predictable routine, there is more room for protest.
- Discipline– There is so much that can be said about discipline and various ways to approach this subject- the only thing you want to make sure of is that you decide as a family how you will acknowledge behavior- positive or negative, and stick to your plan. Their emotions are very real and they need to be understood and taught how to handle them.
- Choices are so so powerful! My son often will protest bath- because he knows it’s the beginning of bed time. I used to try and persuade him why bath was amazing and then I started asking him questions,
- “Do you think we should just make a few bubbles or lots of bubbles (it’s always a lot, lol), I want to play with the froggy bath toy, which one do you want to play with?” Right away he starts thinking about the things that he likes about bath and I can gently lead him there with no contest.
- Movement milestones- climbing, walks up and down stairs, kicks ball, runs easily, pedals tricycle and bends over without falling
- Turns book pages, makes really tall towers, holds a pencil in writing position, screws and unscrews lids or nuts & bolts.
- Language- Follows 2 or 3 part commands, recognizes most objects and pictures, understands most sentences, uses 4 or 5 word sentences, strangers can understand most of his words.
- Social- Imitates adults and playmates, shows affection, can take turns, expresses a wide range of emotions and objects to major changes.
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Toys for 2 Year Olds
- Beginner’s tricycle
- A large train set really leads to hours of play- with setting up the tracks in lots of different ways and then playing with the trains.
- Magna tiles– they are all the rage and for reason! Higher price than other toys but we have built some pretty amazing structures with these- there are really endless amounts of possibilities so it helps your 2 year old use various skills at one time.
- Tool set– a continuation of getting them pretend toys to use so they can “help” you around the house or on projects. My son always feel so important when he grabs his broom to help sweep (by messing up all the piles, lol) or getting his tool set to help on a project.
- Fireman suit or Princess dress– Now that they are better at dressing themselves, adding dress up to their pretend play adds an extra layer of fun! I’m all about toys that are open ended and can lead to years of play instead of something they’ll get tired of.
- Lego duplo– start building lego houses and villages.
- An easel is a great way to spark creativity and easy for you to help your toddler draw shapes or letters.
Activities for 2 Year Olds
- There is so much 2 year olds can do! Yes, we have to discipline more and handle big emotions- but I absolutely loved this age because I could do more projects with my son and we could talk about them and interact.
- Read everyday if possible- you can start asking questions about the story or pictures in the book.
- Lots of pretend play! It gets even better, I would sneakily record Miles laying out his dinosaurs and what they “talked” about.
- Music classes- these don’t get old! They start singing along a lot more.
- Play dates for socialization- they still won’t completely play together, but there is more interaction and sharing practice.
- Park or open play spaces to run around and work on large motor skills
Some of our favorites classes that we have explored with Pearachute at this age are art classes- he started making the coolest projects at this age. They can also learn a skill- soccer, ballet, playing an instrument or karate.
*If you are in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington DC or San Francisco, you can try your first month of Pearachute for $1! Use SHANTALL2017 at checkout. Or you can email me for a gift card. 🙂
7- 7:30am | Wake Up- Glass of milk or water
7:30-8am | Make believe play starts to develop- toys that encourage creativity and make believe like kitchen sets, car towns, dress up clothes, toy telephone, dolls, etc.
8-8:30am | Breakfast
8:30-10:30am | Outing to the park or indoor play. Or attend toddler gym, dance, music, art or sports class. Two year olds are ready for more structured classes like ballet, sports, art, or karate.
10:30- 11am | Snack
11- 12:15pm | Help with making lunch and cleaning up. Lots more at this age than before- they can start setting the table, wiping counters, and basic prep work like stirring or pouring.
12:15pm-12:45pm | Lunch
12:45pm | Start nap soothing routine- Read 2-3 books, then dark room, snuggling, , soft singing then white noise machine, cover with favorite blanket and stuffed animal.
1pm | Afternoon Nap
3pm | Wake up and Snack
3:30-6pm | Play with favorite toys or have a second outing, then independent play so you can make dinner or wrap up the day. They can color at this age for longer periods or work on puzzles or other quiet activities.
6:00pm | Dinner and water or milk (milk can be part of bedtime soothing routine)
6:30pm | Start bedtime routine. Include same soothing routine for naps but add extra to signify night sleep: like a bath, music, lotion, massage, pajamas and read books.
7:30pm | Put down drowsy, but not completely asleep.
Stay tuned for more posts on managing 2 year old emotions and helpful chore cards!
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