Examples of a 3 Year Old Sleep Schedule

Having trouble with your child’s bedtime routine? Check out examples of a 3 year old sleep schedule and find one that works for you!

3 Year Old Sleep ScheduleThree year olds and sleep don’t always mix. Naps are a hit or miss and starting to get phased out for good. Bedtime is supposed to be at 7pm, but your child isn’t asleep until 9pm, and even gets out of bed to come into your room. And of course, he’s still up at the same early hour the next day, no matter what.

You’re not alone, friend. One of my twins flat-out refused to take his afternoon nap. Some days he was okay without it, but usually, he didn’t get enough sleep. He’d also wake up early every day, no matter what time he’d go to bed (or whether he napped or not).

And forget about the double whammy: early wake-ups and no naps meant he didn’t get the sleep he needed.

Finding a 3 year old sleep schedule that works for you

This is the age group when irregular sleep schedules are all too common because of changing sleep needs.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the National Sleep Foundation, preschoolers age 3 to 5 need 10 to 13 hours of total sleep (including naps) in a 24-hour period, compared to toddlers who need 11 to 14.

After three kids, I’ve learned that finding the right sleep schedule is all about trial and error. Sometimes you just need to see how other parents with kids the same age as yours schedule their days.

So, I asked and dug around to see how other families structure their sleep and nap schedules. Below are several samples of a 3 year old sleep schedule — both with and without naps. Hopefully, you can find a sleep pattern that works for you:

3 year old sleep schedule samples (with a nap)

Example 1:

  • Wake up: 6am
  • Nap: 12:30-1:30pm
  • Bedtime: 7:30pm

Example 2:

  • Wake up: 6am
  • Nap: 1-3:30pm
  • Bedtime: 8pm

Example 3:

  • Wake up: 6:30am
  • Nap: 12-2pm
  • Bedtime: 8:30pm

Example 4:

  • Wake up: 7am
  • Nap: 12-2pm
  • Bedtime: 7:30pm

Example 5:

  • Wake up: 7am
  • Nap: 1-4pm
  • Bedtime: 8pm

Example 6:

  • Wake up: 7am
  • Nap: 1:30-3pm
  • Bedtime: 8:30pm

Example 7:

  • Wake up: 7am
  • Nap: 1-4pm
  • Bedtime: 8:30pm

Example 8:

  • Wake up: 7:15am
  • Nap: 1:30-3:30pm
  • Bedtime: 8:15pm

Example 9:

  • Wake up: 7:30am
  • Nap: 2-3pm
  • Bedtime: 7:30pm

Example 10:

  • Wake up: 7:30am
  • Nap: 2-3:30pm
  • Bedtime: 8pm

Example 11:

  • Wake up: 7:30am
  • Nap: 2-4pm
  • Bedtime: 8pm

Example 12:

  • Wake up: 8am
  • Nap: 12:30-2pm
  • Bedtime: 8:30pm

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3 year old sleep schedule samples (without a nap)

Example 13:

  • Wake up: 6:30am
  • Bedtime: 7pm

Example 14:

  • Wake up: 6:30am
  • Bedtime: 7:30pm

Example 15:

  • Wake up: 6:45am
  • Bedtime: 7:30pm

Example 16:

  • Wake up: 7am
  • Bedtime: 7:15pm

Example 17:

  • Wake up: 7am
  • Bedtime: 8pm

Example 18:

  • Wake up: 7:30am
  • Bedtime: 8:30pm

Example 19:

  • Wake up: 8am
  • Bedtime: 7:30pm

Example 20:

  • Wake up: 8am
  • Bedtime: 8pm

Example 21:

  • Wake up: 8:30am
  • Bedtime: 8pm

Get more tips on how to create a 3 year old schedule.

3 Year Old Schedule

Best practices for a 3 year old sleep schedule

  • Avoid being overtired. Does your 3 year old wake up crying every night, even on days when she doesn’t nap? This is likely a sign that she’s overtired.
  • Limit naps: If your child takes forever to fall asleep, try limiting her nap. Shorten the length or simply cut her off at a certain time, like at 3pm.
  • Have quiet time. Do you still need time alone, but she doesn’t sleep during nap time? Turn it into “quiet time.” Agree that she doesn’t have to actually fall asleep, but that she should do quiet activities in her room. Reading, coloring, and playing with stuffed animals are good activities since they don’t need your attention.

Conclusion

Whatever sleep issues you’re currently in—late bedtimes, early wake-ups, no naps—rest assured that this isn’t forever. Your 3 year old is going through developmental changes, from disrupted sleep to phasing out naps.

By adjusting her schedule and nurturing healthy sleep habits, you can bring more consistency—and more sleep—into your days and nights again.

Get more tips:

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2 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    I run an in home daycare and my 3.5 year old son does not nap. He has to lie quietly on his cot, before he can get up and play. It is a struggle every single day. He stands up, jumps on his cot, and crawls off. I have given him quiet activities to do on his cot but they only last 2 minutes. He also has this huge compulsion to spin and jump, which he can’t do during the day because I have infants on the floor. We dance as much as we can but we can rarely get outside to run off energy.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I can imagine it’s quite difficult to manage your son’s behavior while you’re caring for other children as well. He likely doesn’t “need” to nap any longer, but clearly quiet time isn’t working, either.

      One idea you can try is to enlist his “help” during nap time, making sure that he’s quiet too. He might feel more grown up being able to help you out while the little ones take a nap. For instance, he can help you fold blankets, sort laundry, arrange toys, basically anything to keep him occupied (and quiet!) during nap time. Then after nap time, he can go crazy being loud and jumping all around so that he can also get his energy out that way.