How Much Sleep Does a 3 Year Old Need?

Updated on May 14, 2010
P.G. asks from Fort Worth, TX
6 answers

HI Moms - my little guy hasn't really ever been the best napper. He tends to sleep like his dad who would rather go to bed later and sleep in. My son goes down between 8-9pm, and sleeps till 7-8am. Sometimes he wakes during the night - not all the way - kinda that half awake where you guide them back to bed thing. He goes to daycare - just started a couple weeks ago - and they do the 2 hour rest/nap time.

Is he getting enough? Can I make him an earlier bedtime kid? I'd like the extra time for myself at night, but part of me doesn't want to because I don't want to wake up at 6am :P

Thanks for your help!

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answers from Kansas City on

my daughter goes to bed about 7:30, wakes up about 7 and takes a 1 1/2 to 2 hour nap around 1:30 or 2. If she doesnt nap, she plays quietly in her bed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My 3 yr old goes to bed at 9pm and wakes up at 6am during the week and takes a 2 to 2.5 hour nap during the day at daycare.

On the weekends, he goes to bed when he's sleepy (normally no later than 11) and wakes up between 730 and 9 (he's never slept past 9).

We will only let him skip a nap (scheduling issues, etc) if he's slept in that day. I wasn't a believer in good sleeping skills with my older kids because I was a stay at home mom in a second shift family (my husband worked 2nds so we stayed up late and slept in late) but now, my youngest is a different little boy when he's sleepy or overly tired. And believe I did my older kids a disservice by not adhering to a good sleep schedule.

I will also note that we have had only a handful of nights when my son has actually slept a whole night in his bed without getting up. Most of the time he comes into my room and we have to take him back to bed or *gasp* let him sleep with us because its just easier to let him sleep there...(don't hate me please it's not recommended I know this :)

Good luck to you...



answers from Detroit on

my kids wake up at the same time no matter when they go to bed.

so you can move his bedtime a bit earlier slowly.. try moving bedtime up by 15 minutes every 3 or 4 days.. I bet he wakes up at the same time

my son is 3 and sleeps 11 hours at night and a 3 hour nap.

my daughte ris 4 and sleeps 11 hours at night and a 2 hour nap.


answers from St. Louis on

I think your answer is going to depend on who you ask! I think the 'recommended sleep' for ages 2/3 is 10-12 hours at night and anywhere between 1-3 hours of naptime.

I think all kids are different sleepers (obviously) so you need to figure out for yourself if he's getting enough sleep. Does he seem really sleepy throughout the day?

You CAN get him to bed earlier. However, if you get him on an earlier schedule, he'll get up earlier.

My daughter is 2 years 9 months and goes to bed around 8pm and sleeps until around 630 pm with a 1-2 hour nap. On days she does not nap, I try to have her asleep by 730 and she'll sometimes sleep until 7am. As a general rule, though, she sleeps 10 hours at night and 1-2 for naps so I think shes' at the low end of the scale in regards to how much sleep she gets. But that works for her.



answers from Denver on

My 3 year old has never needed lots of sleep. As long as he's not cranky or seems tired, he's probably getting enough sleep for him. If you want him to go to bed earlier, you can try to adjust by starting his night time routine 10 min earlier for a few days, then keep moving it up. Some kids will adjust and get up earlier - some will sleep until the same time either way. It's a trial and error thing. Nothing to lose by trying. Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

A subject with many opinions!....I think kids need to have a good amount of sleep at night and be well rested to be able to function properly during the day. My kids (now 7 , 4 & 2) go to bed between 7 & 8pm (the later time for the elder 2) and get up around 7/7.30am. If you want an earlier bedtime for him then put him to bed earlier , he may take a few days to get used to the new routine but he will.

Next question: Earlier Vs. Later Bedtime