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How Much Should My 3 Year Old Sleep?

How much should my 3 year old be sleeping? He usually does not take a nap. On the days he doesn't take a nap he'll sleep from about 8 pm to 8 am. On the days that he does take a nap it's impossible to get him to sleep at night. I would love for him to take a nap during the day so I can have some time to get stuff done or have a few moments to myself (I also have a 1 year old) but I'm sick of the bedtime battle when he takes one! Should I wake him up earlier in the morning and hope that he goes down for an early nap and an early bedtime? What has worked for you? I'd appreciate any input!

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Hi G.--
I had the same problem (with a 3-yr-old and a 10-mo-old, believe it or not) but finally gave up the battle and he sleeps from about 8-7. But when he naps, he only sleeps from 9-6:30ish. So we do give up some sleep by not napping, but I don't want the conflict anymore, so we only do it if he's really tired or if we have something going on in the evening and we actually want him up late. (BTW, he's in bed by 8 on late nights, usually by 7:30 on early nights, but it takes him a while to fall asleep and if he's had a nap he's up and down a few times, which also drives me crazy).
Good luck!

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Take heart, I am the mother of a 3 year old (3 today) and a 17 month old. My 3 year old is the same as your son. She will sleep for about 12 hours at night. 7:30-7:30 (give or take). If she has a nap late in the day we are lucky to get her to bed before 10 or 11. We have also been having trouble with her not sleeping through the night. She will get up and get on the couch or get in the bed with me (where she will sleep the rest of the night. Hubby works 3rd shift.)

If I am able to get her to take an early nap she does well at night. For me it all depends on how bad she is. If she is really "off the wall" I will force a nap, no matter what time it is. Then I will deal with her staying up late, otherwise I don't worry about her getting a nap.

It is nice to have that time to yourself, but I have learned to have "me time" after they both go to bed. My alone time is about to be non-existant, I am due with # 3 on Jan 12.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

My 2.5 year old is giving up naps.... She naps now just once or twice a week. On the days she doesn't nap, she sleeps 13 hours at night--from 7 until about 8 the next morning. So, I enjoy the evening time with hubby, but miss the down time in the afternoon. We are working our way up to an hour of quiet time in her room each afternoon. I leave the door open, and she plays with her toys and books for about 30 minutes and gives me a little time to be "on my own" for a few minutes. We are increasing it by 5 minutes every other day or so, and I am hoping for about an hour by the time little brother is born in May! So, I think 12-13 hours is normal at this age, and also know it is a rough transition! Hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful

As sad as it is he may just be ready to cut out the naps for a couple of years until he starts school. then, he'll need like a half hour quiet time. You can try that to use instead of naps.

My oldest would take three-hour naps until his baby brother was born or up until the baby was just a few months old. When he was little, I usually put my oldest down later, between 9 and 10, so that might have been why he wanted to sleep so long. He has an earlier bedtime now and sleeps about 10 hours. I thought I read somewhere that it was normal for little kids to sleep between ten to twelve hours. They may be waking in the night for short periods of time without waking you up. If you are worried talk to your son's pediatrician or Google your question; I love to google stuff and am able to find an answer my question. My two-year old stopped taking naps around two years old, maybe about 2 1/2. I think your child's desire to take a nap also depends on what is going on. My two-year old likes to play and be active and doesn't want to go down for a nap because he has things he wants to do with big brother, but he is very tired around dinner time and will start to fall asleep. So, if I can I'll let him play for a while after lunch and then I'll read him a book (routine is very important) and tell him he can play with this or that AFTER nap time. He usually will comply if he feels like he isn't missing out on too much or will be able to play shortly after waking. I remember feeling like I was going to miss something when I was little so I can relate. I think being able to relate makes it easier for me to know how to handle a child who acts like I did! Good Luck!

My son is 3 as well and I would suggest if you want him to take a nap, put him down later and get him up earlier. My son goes to bed at 9pm and wakes up like clockwork at 7am. He takes a nap around 1:30 when my daughter (18 months) takes hers. I know how hard it can be to get time to yourself but if you are willing to allow him to stay up later to allow yourself the time during the day then it will be worth it. Good luck!

My 3 year old seldom takes naps, but I put her to bed at 7 or 7:30 so taht I will have some time to get things done before I have to go to bed. We wake up at 7:00 on school days and 8:00 on weekends, my kids don't know how to sleep in! Even my 6 year old sleeps 12 hours usually. I think it is normal, I have not looked at the charts that tell how much sleep kids need in awhile, I have been blessed wiht kids who sleep well! My 6 year old can not function with less than 11 hours!

Hi G.,
My little ones are almost the same age as yours my little boy will be 3 in two months, and my little girl is 15 months. I have a book that I love that gives great tips, facts and advise on how to teach your children to sleep well from birth to 5 years old it's called "Good Night Sleep Tight" by Kim West, and Joanne Kennen. It talks alot about letting your children know that you are there for them and they can sleep confidently knowing that you will be there if they really need you. It really has helped me teach my children how to sleep well. Of course we know that not everything is guaranteed all the time. What I have done now that my boy is older and doesn't nap everyday either I still give him a quiet time when my little girl takes her afternoon nap. After lunch and after some play time about 30 minutes I give him some warning it's going to be rest time in about 5 minutes or you could call it quiet time. Then when the time comes I say ok it's rest time and lead him to his room. I get him looking at his books quietly on his bed while I get his sister down for her nap. After sister in down for her nap I will come in sometimes he stays on his bed sometimes he does'nt I will get him on the bed again and read a few stories with him. Then I tell him to have a nice rest time sometimes he needs extra reassurance that I will be close by where I can hear him if he needs me, sometimes he doesn't. I tell him I will come get him when rest time is over. I take the baby monitor with me so I can hear him.
I've tried getting him to stay on his bed for this time, but that doesn't always happen. I put a gate in front of his door he doesn't mind that. Some kids hate gates if yours is one of them you could just keep taking him back to his room if he comes out. I figure even if he doesn't go to sleep and I can hear him playing in there he is still getting some quiet time to himself,and I am able to get some things done. Changes in there routine are hard for them to get used too as you probably know so be patient with him. We have gone the rounds with this and finally found this to work for him. Sometimes very rarely he will fall asleep, if he does I just leave him until he wakes up, if not I will go back and get him after an hour or hour an a half. I probably should just do an hour. Anyway I hope this helps. Good Luck.

Hi G.,
We have a 2 and 4 year old. My two year old is slowly giving up his morning naps but both of them still take an afternoon nap (thank the Lord). They usually go down around 2p and sleep till about 330p or 4p. Their bedtime is generally around 730p to 7a but if I let them sleep later then 4p then we too have a battle to get them to sleep at night particularly with the 4 year old. I would recommend you consider three things. #1 make sure you are not allowing your son to sleep too late into the afternoon and #2 consider the amount of time he generally naps. Maybe he can get by on an hour and still be o.k for bedtime. #3 If the above ideas don't help you may resort to "quiet time" in his room where he has a certain amount of time without bothering Mom to rest, read, play quietly. Don't forget to consider what he's eating for lunch/dinner could also play a big factor in his sleep habits. Too much sugar or other stimulation (t.v/videos) will seriously effect his ability to rest. God Bless, L.

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