Sample 3 Year Old Daily Schedules and Routines

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Sample schedules for your 3-year-old to follow each day. These are real routines used by real families, so you know they work!

3 year old Brinley

As your little one turns three years old and becomes an official preschooler, you will find that you still have questions and concerns about the schedule. You might wonder about naps and night sleep.

You also will have concerns about behavior. Behavior is closely linked to routine. Having enough sleep in the day, eating at regular times, and having a predictable routine will go a long way to help mitigate the tantrums and attitude.

You will find real schedules used by real families below. Before we get into that, let’s discuss some important aspects of a daily routine for a 3 year old.

Naps for 3-Year-Olds

I recommend having toddlers and preschoolers continue to have a nap each day. I do not recommend dropping this daily nap until kids are 4 years old.

>>>Read: When Do Kids Stop Napping?

In saying that, it is important to know that nap times will be inconsistent as far as the child actually sleeping every day. It is okay if your kiddo does not sleep each day for nap.

You still want to have the “nap” time and call it nap time. As your child gets older, the afternoon nap will happen less often and your preschooler will be awake more days than she naps.

Your preschooler will likely skip a nap 1-3 days a week. Naptime should be 1-3 hours long.

Somewhere as a 4-year-old, you will call it quiet time or rest time. You will still have a time period each afternoon when your child can rest, but it won’t be nap time anymore.

>>>Read: How to Do Rest Time Instead of Naps

Independent Playtime for Preschoolers

If you have been following my sample schedules up to this point, then you know all about Independent Playtime and already have independent play as part of your daily routine.

Keep that up! The benefits that have been true up to this point will continue to be true now. At this age, many people refer to independent play as room time.

If you don’t know what independent play is, it is a period of time each day when your child plays in a room alone with toys.

Benefits of independent play include:

  • Mental focusing skills
  • Sustained attention span
  • Creativity
  • Self-play adeptness
  • Orderliness
  • Good attitude

For a preschooler, independent playtime should be 60-90 minutes once a day. Some people like to have it in the morning time slot before lunch. Others like to do it after nap time in the afternoon.

>>>Read: How To Start Independent Playtime Late

Chores for 3 Year Olds

Three year olds can definitely do chores! Preschoolers are very capable of helping with laundry, brushing their own teeth, picking up toys, and help care for pets (among other things).

Make time in your day each day for chores. It is wise to have chores come before something really fun (like screen time or outside time). This way, your child develops the habit of putting first things first and understands needed tasks need to be attended to.

>>>Read: 9 Chores Your 3 Year Old Can Do

Meals and Snack Time for Preschoolers

You will want three regular meals each day. You might also want an afternoon snack.

You still want meal times to be consistent as much as possible. If you eat at the same times each day, those are the times you will get hungry each day. That way hunger does not interfere with the rest of your daily routine.

Night Sleep for 3-Year-Olds

When it comes to night sleep, you want 10-12 hours of sleep at night for a 3 year old.

If you are having early morning wake ups, assess the following:

  • Is night sleep the right length?
  • Do we have a solid bedtime routine?
  • Is my child getting enough physical and mental stimulation each day?
  • Is nap time the right length?
  • Are we consistent with morning wake time and with bedtime?
  • Are we consistent with meal times?

Learning Time for Preschoolers

You might have your 3-year-old in preschool. You might not. If not, it is fun to do a simple learning time each day. This does not need to be elaborate or long.

>>>Read: How Easily Work Learning Activities into Your Daily Life

Disruptions Will Happen

You will have disruptions to your routine and that is okay. There will be days when you have a playdate that interferes with a nap. You might go on vacation and have late nights. You might get all disrupted during the holidays.

You might even have consistent disruptions like a dance class, gymnastics, or preschool.

Don’t worry about these disruptions.

I do recommend you try to limit disruptions. I recommend you try to schedule preschool or lessons/classes in the morning if possible so nap can still happen.

I recommend you do not have disruptions constantly. Give your child time to recover, but don’t be afraid of occasional disruptions.

Sample 3 Year Old Daily Schedule

Here are sample schedules used by real families. These are routines used by my children and by readers of this blog.

3 Years Old

6:30-7 wake, milk, sometimes watch tv
7:30 breakfast
8 run in jogging stroller
9 independent play if home, or playdate
10 snack
12 lunch
1 nap
3-4 wake up, outside play
5:30 dinner
6pm family time or sibling playtime
6:30 bath
7pm walk with dad
8pm brush teeth, story, prayers, bed

8am wake up, breakfast, get dressed
8:30am Sibling Playtime
9:30am-10:30am Homeschool Preschool
10:30-11am Room Time
11:00-12:00 Outside
12pm- Tv Time/Lunch
1pm-4pm Naptime
4-7pm – Play, dinner, Family Time
7pm bath
7:30pm Bible story
7:45pm bedtime

8:00–Wake up and eat breakfast
9:15–Get ready
9:30–Chores
10:00–Learning Poster and read stories with Mommy
10:30–Independent Play
11:30–TV time possibly
12:00–Lunch
12:30–Learning activity and free play with sibling
2:30–Nap
4:00 or 4:30–Get up–or free play. 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:30–Get ready for bed
8:00–Bedtime 

This is her typical daily schedule for summer–not a lot of structure.
8:45 AM–Wake up/Breakfast/Get ready
Sometime between breakfast and lunch, have Independent play for 60-90 minutes
12:00 PM–Lunch
1:30/2:00 PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and Free Playtime
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
8:00 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime
During the day, we will do learning activities, play outside, go for walks, go to the park, go do other fun stuff…what we do each day varies a lot.

7:30-8:00–wake. Take a bath and get ready for the day.
8:30–breakfast
9:00–sibling playtime with brother and sister
9:15–help me with chores.
9:30-9:45ish–Learning activity.
10:30ish–independent playtime
11:30–Possible TV time. Most days she does independent play until 12:00
12:00–Free time with brother
12:30–lunch. We then play outside if it is a nice day. If not, we play inside all together.
1:30 or 2:00–nap
4:30–wake. Free time.
5:30ish–dinner followed by family time.
7:30-8:00–in bed

3 Years 1 Month Old

8:00–Wake up and eat breakfast
9:15–Get ready
9:30–Chores
10:00–Learning Poster and read stories with Mommy
10:30–Independent Play
11:30–TV time possibly
12:00–Lunch
12:30–Learning activity and free play with sibling
2:30–Nap
4:00 or 4:30–Get up–or free play. 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:30–Get ready for bed
8:00–Bedtime 

This is her typical daily schedule for summer–not a lot of structure. I am sharing the summer schedule because most of this time period was still summer. 
8:45 AM–Wake up/Breakfast/Get ready
Sometime between breakfast and lunch, have Independent play for 60-90 minutes
12:00 PM–Lunch
1:30/2:00 PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and Free Playtime
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family Time
8:00 PM–Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime
During the day, we will do learning activities, play outside, go for walks, go to the park, go do other fun stuff…what we do each day varies a lot.

3 Years 2 Months Old

745 wake, breakfast, get ready
830 swim lesson
915 park, outdoors
1000 play at home
1200 lunch
130 nap
430 wake, snack
600 dinner
730 bath
800 bedtime routine, books, prayers with Daddy
830 sleep!

8:45 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:15 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV (usually Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

7-7:30am Wake, Breakfast
7:30-8:00 Play, Help with Chores
8:00-9:00 Sibling Play/Play Outside
9:00-10:00 Independent Play
10:00-11:00 Learning Time
11:00-11:30 Play
11:30-12:00 Lunch
12:00-1:00pm Sibling Play or TV Time
1:00-3:30 Nap/Rest Time
3:30 Small Snack
4:00-5:30 Play/Errands
5:30-6:00 Dinner
6:00-6:30 Play Outside
6:30 Bath, Get Ready for Bed
6:50-7:15 Game Time
7:15-7:30 Read Books in Bed
7:30 Bedtime – It’s summer in Florida so our outside time is in the morning or after dinner. When the weather is cooler we go out after nap.

This is more of our typical at home day. Some mornings are spent at activities like swimming or dance lessons. Our game time is after her baby brother is in bed. We will play one board game with just her. It is a great way to end the day with special one on one time and a low-key activity. 

3 Years 3 Months Old

7:15-7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. She then can play with siblings. Right now, I like them to play outside after breakfast so they get some outside play in before it gets too hot.
9:00–Get ready and chores
10:00–Learning Poster and read stories
10:30–Independent Play
11:30–Free play with siblings
12:00–Lunch
1:00–Learning activity and free play with sibling if time
2:00–Nap
4:00 or 4:30–Get up–TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:30–Get ready for bed
8:00–Bedtime

8:45 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:15 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV (usually Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

Times are approximate for the most part. This is the order of our day, but most times are “ish”

8:30–wake. Breakfast
9:00–music time, bath and get ready
10:00–walk or outside play
10:30–independent play
11:30–Sibling play
12:30–lunch. Followed by learning time, chores, and sibling play
1:30 or 2:00–nap
4:30–wake. Free time. 
5:30ish–dinner followed by family time.
8:00–in bed

3 Years 4 Months Old

7:15-7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. She then can play with siblings. Right now, I like them to play outside after breakfast so they get some outside play in before it gets too hot.
9:00–Get ready and chores
10:00–Learning Poster and read stories
10:30–Independent Play
11:30–Free play with siblings
12:00–Lunch
1:00–Learning activity and free play with sibling if time
1:30–Nap
4:00 or 4:30–Get up–TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:30–Get ready for bed
8:30–Bedtime 

8:45 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:15 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV (usually Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

3 Years 5 Months Old

7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. She then can play with siblings. 
8:00–Get ready and chores
10:00–Learning Poster and read stories
10:30–Independent Play
11:30–Free play with siblings
12:15–Lunch
1:00–Learning activity and free play with sibling if time
1:30–Nap
4:00 or 4:30–Get up–TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:30–Get ready for bed
8:30–Bedtime

8:30 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:00 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

3 Years 6 Months Old

7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. She then can play with siblings. 
8:00–Get ready and chores
10:00–Learning Poster and read stories
10:30–Independent Play
11:30–Free play with siblings
12:15–Lunch
1:00–Learning activity and free play with sibling if time
1:30–Nap
4:00 or 4:30–Get up–TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:30–Get ready for bed
8:30–Bedtime

8:30 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:00 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

My son is 3 years, 6 months old & what I consider to be a low sleep needs child. This is a loose schedule as it changes based on the time of year.
6am wake time
6:30 breakfast
7am chores, sibling play
9am errands, outdoor play, classes, lessons
9:30am snack
12:30 pm lunch
1pm independent playtime
1:30-3:30 pm nap
3:30 pm snack
4pm outdoor time, free play
5pm screen time
5:30 pm dinner
6:30 pm bath
7pm quiet time, a small snack if requested
7:30 pm bedtime

3.5 year old boy
7:30 wake up, breakfast
10:00 snack
12:00 lunch
1:30 nap/rest time (he sleeps about half of the days)
3:30/4:00 get up
5:30 supper
8:00 in bed

We have a variation to this for playgroup and dance class, but for the most part:

8:15/8:30: Breakfast
9:00: Get ready
9:30: Go for walk
10:00: Sibling Playtime
10:30: Independent playtime
11:30: Learning activity
12:30: Lunch
1:00: Play with brother
1:30: nap
4:00: up. Play until dinner
5:00/5:30: Dinner
6:00: Free play
7:00: Start getting ready for bed
8:00: In bed

*I try to make sure she has an official chore each day. I haven’t found the best time for that yet, so it is random.

3 Years 7 Months Old

7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. Get ready. She then can play with siblings. 
9:00– Chores then independent playtime
10:30–Time with Mommy
12:00–Lunch
1:00–Learning activities
1:30–Play with sister
2:00-2:30–Nap
4:30–Get up–TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:30–Get ready for bed
8:30–Bedtime 

8:30 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:00 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

3 Years 8 Months Old

7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. Get ready. She then can play with siblings. 
9:00– Chores then independent playtime
10:30–Time with Mommy
12:00–Lunch
1:00–Learning activities
1:30–Play with sister
2:00-2:30–Nap
4:30–Get up–TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:30–Get ready for bed
8:30–Bedtime 

8:30 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:00 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

3 Years 9 Months Old

7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. Get ready. She then can play with siblings. 
9:00– Chores then independent playtime
10:30–Time with Mommy
12:00–Lunch
1:00–Learning activities
1:30–Play with sister
2:00-2:30–Nap
4:30–Get up–TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:00–Get ready for bed
8:00–Bedtime 

Here is our typical schedule. Some days, we did independent play after lunch instead of before lunch:
8:30 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:00 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

We have a variation to this for playgroup and dance class, but for the most part:

8:00: Breakfast
9:00: Learning intro. Then get ready(unless she got up at 7, in which case she is already ready and she looks at books or plays with toys while McKenna gets ready).
10:00: Sibling Playtime
10:30: Independent playtime
11:30: Learning activity
12:30: Lunch
1:00: Play with brother
2:00: nap
4:00: up. Play until dinner
5:00/5:30: Dinner
6:00: Free play
7:00: Start getting ready for bed
8:00: In bed

About once or twice a week, she plays PBSkids.org or watches 30 minutes of TV. I also have her help with chores. 

3 Years 10 Months Old

7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. Get ready (including bath time). She then can play with siblings. 
9:00– Chores then independent playtime
10:30–Time with Mommy
12:00–Lunch
1:00–Nap
3:00–Get up. Play with sister. Learning activities.
4:30—TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:00–Get ready for bed
8:00–Bedtime

Here is our typical schedule. Some days, we did independent play after lunch instead of before lunch:
8:30 AM–wake up/eat breakfast/scriptures
9:00 AM–get ready for day
9:30 AM–watch 30 minutes of TV 
10:00 AM–Independent Playtime
11:15ish AM–Learning time
12:00 noon–Lunch
12:30 PM–free play
1:30/2:00ish PM–Nap
4:30/5:00 PM–Wake up and free play
5:30 PM–Dinner
6:00 PM–Family time
8:00 PM–Get ready for bed
8:30 PM–Bedtime

3 Years 11 Months Old

7:30–Wake up and eat breakfast. Get ready. She then can play with siblings. 
9:00– Chores then independent playtime
10:30–Time with Mommy
12:00–Lunch
1:00–Nap
3:00–Get up. Play with sister. Learning activities.
4:30—TV Time 
5:30–Dinner
6:00–Family Activities
7:00–Get ready for bed and get pajamas on
8:00–Bedtime

8:30 or 9:00–wake up/get ready/eat breakfast
9:30–play with siblings
usually independent play for an hour in between now and lunch
12:00 –lunch. Then play.
2:30–Nap
4:30 or 5:00–Wake up. Eat dinner. Then family time.
8:00–Get ready for bedtime
8:30 or 9:00–Bedtime

You can easily see she doesn’t have a ton of structure. It isn’t ideal long-term, but during the school year she doesn’t see her siblings for most of each day, so I like for her to have as much time with them as possible in the summer. We do have chores in there each day, too, but the time of day varies.

Conclusion

Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, you will be able to find some sample routines here that will help give you ideas for how to structure your day with your preschooler. Try different things out and see what works best for your child.

Related Posts

33 sample schedules for 3 year olds

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