What To Do When 3 Year Old Won’t Go To Bed

It’s not uncommon for parents to struggle when a 3 year old won’t go to bed. It can be a frustrating experience for both the child and parents alike, but some strategies can help.

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine or avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime may help.

You can also help your child develop healthy sleep habits. With these strategies, children will feel more relaxed at bedtime. It will lead to a more restful night’s sleep for everyone.

However, before finding a sleeping method, we need to understand the reason why a three year old won’t go to bed. Then, we will discuss how to get a 3 year old to sleep.

What Is The 3-year-old Sleep Regression? 

3 year old won't go to bed

The 3-year-old sleep regression is a common phase that toddlers go through. Growth milestones might cause this regression, leaving parents with an overtired toddler.

This stage is characterized by constant movement, chatting nonstop, and running around. Thus, they may become cranky and resist afternoon naps and nighttime routines.

Not every kid goes through the 3-year-old sleep regression. However, parents may experience comparable phrases like the 2-year-old or 12-month sleep regressions.

Your child can get through this brief stage with the aid of sleeping practices. That will be discussed later.

What Are The Reasons Why 3 Year Old Won’t Go To Bed?

Parents frequently face difficulties when their 3 year old refuses to go to bed for various reasons.

Developmental milestones, schedule disruptions, and a desire to continue playing are some causes of bedtime battles.

The first step in establishing healthy sleeping habits is understanding the underlying reasons.

Potty Training

Giving up diapers and switching to the potty is a major achievement in a child’s growth.

However, there are certain drawbacks, such as infrequent overnight mishaps and trouble going to sleep again.

A child’s sleep can be disturbed by the act of getting up to use the restroom. Thus, they will find it hard to fall asleep again.

Improved Speech

At the age of 3, toddlers typically have a vocabulary of around 200 words and can engage in conversations effectively.

As a result, it is common for them to express their reluctance to take a nap by saying, “Don’t want a nap!”.

Not to mention, some children are active and enjoy talking. Thus, your 3 year old will not sleep, but he or she will try to make conversations.

Delay Tactics

Toddlers’ increased language skills can be troublesome. At night, they might request things like a cup of water, additional trips to the bathroom, or more bedtime stories.

It showcases their intelligence and ability to communicate their needs effectively. However, it can be very unpleasant to parents.


Children may experience disrupted sleep at this age due to bad dreams and fear of the dark.

They may also suffer from night terrors, which can further impact their ability to sleep peacefully. Once There are sleep disturbances, going back to sleep will take time.

TV Time

Exposure to screens, such as TVs and smartphones, can also significantly disrupt a child’s sleep. The blue light emitted from screens can interfere with the body’s melatonin production.

This hormone regulates sleep. Thus, it will be harder for children to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Moreover, the content of what a child watches on screen can also affect their sleep. Scary or intense content, such as violence or horror movies, can cause nightmares and anxiety.

The End Of Naps

It’s normal for kids to gradually nap less and eventually stop between the ages of 3 and 5. Adults may feel sad.

However, this shift in sleep patterns can make napping less necessary. Moreover, children’s increased engagement in stimulating activities can also make settling down for a nap harder.

It can be challenging for parents to adjust to their child’s changing sleep needs. Nevertheless, you should embrace this transition as a natural part of their development.


Fill-energy Toddlers can find it challenging to wind down at the end of a busy day. It can lead to an overtired and overstimulated child, making it even harder for them to settle down.

The excitement and stimulation from a busy day can make it difficult for toddlers to transition into a calmer state of mind.

As a result, they may struggle to fall asleep and wake up frequently during the night.

Changing Beds

Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, children typically transition from a crib to a toddler bed.

The newfound freedom of a big-kid bed can be exciting for toddlers and make it harder for them to settle down. They may get out of bed frequently or refuse to stay in bed altogether.

Additionally, transitioning to a new bed can be emotional for some children. They may have anxiety and stress that further impact their sleep.


Sleepwalking is a sleep disorder condition that can occur in children and adults. It is often triggered by factors such as excess fatigue, irregular sleep patterns, sleep apnea, or night terrors.

During sleepwalking, your child may get up, walk around, talk, or perform other activities while still asleep.

Life events

Sleep setbacks in children can be associated with a range of factors. They include anxiety or worry about life changes, such as the arrival of a sibling or a new babysitter.

Your child could also be worried about a different home or the start of preschool.

These changes can create stress and anxiety, leading to difficulty falling asleep, frequent night wakings, and early morning awakenings.

What To Do When Toddler Won’t Sleep? 

my 3 year old won't go to sleep

If you’re a toddler’s parent, you know how important sleep is for you and your child. Now, let’s learn about practical tips and strategies to help parents of toddlers who struggle with sleep.

Stay Calm

Your child may have problems sleeping due to a phobia of monsters or nighttime tantrums. It’s critical to acknowledge their feelings and provide them with coping strategies.

Label their feelings. For example, you can say It seems like you are feeling scared and let them know how you feel.

Giving them ways to express their frustration can be beneficial. You can say ‘I’m angry’ instead of scolding them”.

You can comfort your children with soothing words and hugs. It’s crucial to avoid making false promises, as this only confirms their suspicions.

You can even fall asleep with them several times to familiarize them with the new bed.

Even if false statements appear to work at that time, he is far better with the tools he requires to cope with anxiety. It will take time, but your children will learn to handle their emotions.

Set Sleep Habits

A consistent sleep routine is essential for a 3-year-old child’s sleep patterns. Some 3-year-olds may stop napping entirely, resulting in an unusual nighttime pattern.

It is critical to monitor their sleeping habits and make modifications as needed.

For example, if a child isn’t tired enough at their regular bedtime, consider rescheduling it. If angry and overtired, consider cutting their nap short and changing their bedtime earlier.

It’s time to try new things and see which is best for your child’s sleep pattern. Children at the age of 3 to 5 should have 10 to 13 hours of sleep.

Make A Good Environment

A comfortable sleeping environment is essential for a 3-year-old child’s sleep patterns. Simple changes to their environment can significantly impact their ability to fall asleep.

Setting a nightlight, a quiet time, or a unique thing to sleep with are all suggestions.

Changing the bedding in the room makes it feel more relaxing and pleasant. However, before that, parents might help their children get familiar with their sleeping place.

You can let them spend more time there. 

Give Consequences For Stalling 

Stalling at bedtime is a typical problem among children. It can make falling asleep more difficult. Giving penalties can be an effective strategy to discourage this habit.

Parents may clarify to their children that their choices immediately influence their nighttime sleep.

You can tell your children they must start the nighttime ritual 10 minutes earlier the next day as a penalty. Parents must answer calmly and confidently without displaying concern.

Read Books In Bedtime

Reading stories to toddlers before bedtime may be a terrific method to help them go to sleep. Children’s books about sleep issues may be helpful.

They can be delaying bedtime, sleeping alone, and waking up in the middle of the night. Tell a story about a character who is dealing with the same challenges.

It will help to convey the lesson. Also, it can give the kid a sense of warmth, making them feel less alone in their struggles.

What Are The Signs Of Toddler Not Wanting To Go To Bed?

Toddlers may have a sleep regression as they enter their third birthday. It can affect their sleep patterns.

Some frequent indicators of a 3-year-old sleep regression include waking up much earlier than normal, waking up overnight, or refusing bedtime or naptime.

Besides, they may repeatedly get out of bed and take a long time to calm down and fall asleep. Additionally, parents may notice increased irritation or fussiness during the day.

During this time, it’s critical to be flexible and consistent with your child’s sleep routine.

When you notice these signs, you cannot just let it be. Do the above instructions to help your kids return to healthy sleep habits.

When To Call The Doctor If My 3 Year Old Won’t Go To Sleep?

three year old won't go to bed

In case your 3 year old doesn’t want to sleep, you should know when to call their pediatrician.

You should contact them when your child’s nightmares, concerns, or worries are frequent or strong.

Parents should contact their child’s doctor if their lack of sleep influences their behavior.

Once a parent notices their child snoring or other strange noises at night, they should arrange a checkup within a few days or a week.

Sleep difficulties can be stressful, so seeking expert help is crucial.


When your 3 year old won’t go to bed, you should find the reason behind it. It will help you deal with the problem effectively.

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule or a conducive sleep environment may help.

If the bedtime situation worsens, seeking professional advice for ease of mind is better.

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