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Naps for 2 & 3 Year Olds

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Sleep > Naps for 2 & 3 Year Olds


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2 yr old pooping disrupts naps

Oct 2009

My 2-year-old boy often (not always) poops at naptime, disrupting his naps. (This has been the case since he was an infant - he's always been a prolific pooper so they often messed up his naps) Here's what happens.

He still goes down with a bottle at naptime. The bottle is not really something I'm willing to change or wean him from as it's hard in general for my son to get to sleep and naps are so important. Anyway, he has built up a strong association between laying in bed with his diaper/bottle and pooping. Then he can't fall asleep no matter how tired. When this happens, which is often, more than 50% of the time, he either doesn't end up getting a nap at all or his nap is so delayed that he sleeps too late. Which then, of course, ends up with him going to bed later than we'd like. (We try to wake him up from the nap, but don't always manage to do it - he often gets really upset and insists on continued sleep.)

He is potty-trained for poop and well on his way for pee - he's only in diapers for naptime and bedtime. I've tried giving him a bottle pre-nap in the hopes it will get him to poop before lying down. This has met with very minimal success.

Any ideas at all? Or would it mean trying to wean from the bottle? I fear that would lead to just as many unsuccessful naps. Sigh. Help. poopynap


Oh poopynap, I can so relate. No advice here, just commiseration. My daughter is also a prolific pooper (often going three or more times a day), and frequently announces 45 minutes into ''quiet time'' that she has poo in her diaper (mine's not potty trained). After that, she's very unlikely to go to sleep. Sometimes it feels like she does it on purpose, because I know she can hold it when she wants to (like at preschool). On the other hand, her doctor has said that there are some kids this age who have chronic loose stools, so maybe it's something they'll grow out of. I do find success sometimes when I hold off on her nap until she's had time after lunch to go poo. Eating triggers her poos, so maybe that bottle of milk is triggering yours. Anyway, good luck! Fellow poopynap
The bottle at nap, unless it's only water, is inviting cavities, which can lead to lifelong chronic health conditions-- most dentists and pediatricians will tell you this. That's reason enough to stop the nap-bottle habit. Your boy is plenty old enough to be off the bottle completely, anyway. Good luck. --my two cents
this happened with my son as well although lunch was the poop trigger, not a bottle. when he was younger, my strategy was a super early lunch and then wait it out for the poop to arrive. as he got older, i got in the habit of checking to see if he was poopy 35-45 minutes after putting him down for his nap. if he was, i'd change him and let him have another chunk of time to fall asleep. this worked a lot of the time. if he had a 'double poopy' day then this strategy failed also. i know you said it's hard to wake your son up from a nap, but you might also consider doing this more often - a later, short nap (maybe an hour?) is better than skipping the nap altogether. maybe a super appealing post-nap transitional activity would help. thank goodness my son, at 31/4, has almost completely outgrown the nap. this situation is a tough one! been there!
You say he's potty-trained, or mostly so, so I would try to do naps without the diaper. Maybe a snack/bottle before nap. Put him on the potty before naptime and say, now's the time to poop, if you need to. Then to bed with regular clothes (lots of absorbent layers of clothes, waterproof mattress cover). If he's reluctant to poop in underwear, then maybe he'll put off pooping until after nap, or after a few days, learn to poop at the pre-nap potty trip. good napping

2-year-old's naps have become impossible

Feb 2009

Our now 2 year old has been a good sleeper since he was maybe 8- 9 months or so, same routine for night and nap, bedtime at 8, nap at 2. He still is solid at night -- when he gets tired after a few books he says ''I want to go in my crib'' etc. and seems to have no problem with it. However, his naps have become impossible, and quite suddenly -- doesn't seem as though he is slowly not needing them anymore and they've been touch and go for awhile. He usually naps 1.5-2 hours a day and sleeps about 10-11 hours at night so I don't think it's an issue of too much sleep and he's giving them up -- he's been exhausted by 5:30 on days this is happening. He starts screaming the minute I put him in the crib after a few books (and he's generally not a big screamer) ''I don't want to sleep, I want to get out, I want my mommy'' etc. etc. I've talked to him about how important it is to rest, said he can just have quiet time if he doesn't want to sleep but to no avail. We're doing our same routine, snack, stories, same time, place et all -- we always decide how many books and I let him know ''after this book we're going to sleep''. I've heard 2 year olds can become resistant but I don't know how to handle this. I've let him cry and gone in every 10, then 15 then 20 etc. on succeeding days, and it will seem to improve, but then regress again. I'm just not sure how to handle it -- perservere and hope it improves? I feel cruel to let him cry but he clearly needs the sleep so not sure what the best route is to helping him get it. Any input much appreciated. Feeling like Mean Mommy


Oh, boy -- I have a 2.5 year old, and how I wish she would take a nap! I don't know if 2 years olds are really swayed by your logic that resting is important. I do think it would be pretty frustrating to be stuck in a crib -- methinks your child would soon try to get himself out of the crib, and that could be dangerous. What we have is a very low-to-the-ground crib that has one side missing; in other words, it's like a bed with three sides on it. Our kid is free as a bird to get in and out whenever she wants, and that seems to work pretty well -- really limits frustration, I think. Yesterday, for example, she refused to take a nap during the day, and fell asleep on the couch at 5:30, before dinner. Now this is not ideal, (especially since she was up at 4:30 this morning), but I just take it as being part of parenting -- she doesn't nap the same way she did six months ago, and I feel like we're constantly adjusting our expectations based on her sleep patterns, which keep changing: but I think that's normal. The way I personally adjust is that if she falls asleep at 530 pm, I go to bed a little earlier than usual, so I am not so exhausted the next day. Is this catering to my child? In a sense, yes, but first, parenting is one of the inconvenient things I've ever done, so I think that inconvenience and work are part of the deal. And second, what's the alternative? Spend a few hours keeping an increasingly hysterical and over-tired child awake? Please, I'm grateful for the silence and peace! kevin
I, too, had a very hard time letting my little girl cry alone in her crib. And I came to the conclusion that for nighttime sleep, it works but it doesn't for naps. What works for us is lying down with her in our bed at nap time. She is 27 months old and she naps about 2 hours every afternoon. Sometimes, she still resists but we give her the choice of being in her crib by herself or lying still and being quiet in our bed and that usually works. TR
I also have a 2 year old. Like your son, she is a GREAT sleeper at night. However, she went nearly a year where she would NOT take ANY naps at all!!!! And I'm all about getting sufficient sleep so this was a very hard period for me...we tried EVERYTHING! But finally we realized that she just didn't want to be in the crib for naps. We have a papasan chair in the living room and started putting the cushion on the floor in her room with a blanket to put her down for a nap. We do the same routine: book, milk, cuddle, lay down. I thought she would NEVER stay down if she wasn't in her crib but after walking her back to her room twice when she would come out, she learned to put herself to sleep on the cushion. Now, when it is naptime she loves helping me carry it to her room and has been consistently taking 2 hour naps for 3 months with this technique. It has not at ALL affected her night time sleep or averted her from her crib at night (which I was afraid of). I also think that it will help her transition to a toddler bed which we are ready to move on to since we have another on the way. Best of luck to you and I know how awful it can be when someone is so accustomed to naps and then they get difficult. Naptime dependent mommy.

Adjusting bedtime when 2.5 year old stops napping

Sept 2008

My 2.5 year old daughter is getting to the point where she doesn't end up taking a nap every day. I assiduously try, but it isn't always working anymore. I think I'll shift to a mandatory quiet time to at least keep the nap possibility open. My main question is, how much earlier does she need to go to bed? Her afternoon naps have never been long--usually 1.25-1.75 hours. Afternoon naps have also worked out so nicely because it meant that my husband could come home from work by 6:30 and put her to sleep between 7 and 8. When she starts going to sleep earlier, his scheduling will probably also have to be rejiggered. Do people have any experiences to share in this regard? I'm sure this is the subject of lots of conversation. I looked in the archives but didn't see specific questions to this regard. thanks! sleep curious mom


When my kids started dropping their naps, we didn't really shift their bedtime earlier -- they just started falling asleep a lot more quickly and easily once they were in bed!

We did shift bedtime somewhat earlier when our first child started school, because he had to get up earlier in the morning than previously. But we were working with a relatively late initial bedtime (9ish). Moving up an already-early bedtime seems impractical and probably not necessary. Holly


Our 2.5 year old son just gave up his naps, too. In our case, he was happy to nap some days, but the naps resulted in 10-11 pm bedtimes. Ugh. Other days I could spend well over an hour trying to settle him for a nap, and it just wouldn't come. So, with the guidance of our pedi, we have eliminated naps.

To your question: our son's 8 pm bed time has not changed at all. Instead, his waking time has crept later--a blessing given that he was a 6 am waker for most of his first 2 years of life!

His is still in transition, though, and as a result he will fall asleep earlier (6-7 pm, sometimes even 4 pm) if he is riding in a car or has had a really exhausting day. Reading this as a sign of his needing an earlier bedtime, I did try moving it up to 7 pm. That only resulted in night wakings and a 5:30 am wake-up time, so I gave up. The days he does fall asleep in the late afternoon, I try not to let him sleep more than an hour--this seems to preserve his need to go to bed at the regular hour. Any longer and he's up ''watching Johnny Carson'' with us!

So, keeping the old bedtime seems to work for him. He goes right to sleep at 8 pm, and sleeps until 7 or sometimes 8 am. It's a big transition; I'm sure you'll figure out what works for you. happy without naps


2.5 year old playing during nap time

April 2008

I need advice! I'm loosing my mind! My 2.5 yr old daughter is trasitioning to a toddler bed. (her crib just with the side off). She has been doing so for about a month now. Bedtime is no problem, she goes right to sleep. Nap time all she does is play. She will play for hours...literally. I have tried EVERYTHING. I have tried moving naptime, going in and saying nothing, going in and telling her to get back in bed, going in and yelling, I have tried not going into her room at all, I've even tried bribing her. She will not go to sleep. I even tried not giving her a nap, since she won't sleep anyway and it does not work. She is exhausted by 5pm and with no nap will not eat and will sleep horribly throughout the night. She will wake up crying from being overtired, which she does not do when she has adaquate rest. She has been an excellent sleeper since about 1 year old when we moved her from our bed to her crib. We only moved her out of her crib because she learned to crawl out and I did not want her to fall. We tried a crib tent while visiting out of town, but it does not fit on her crib at home. I don't know what the right thing to do here is. I get frustrated every day with the struggle or with the crankiness of not having a nap! Please help! Renee


This was our experience with our daughter around this age. I feel for you because I know how frustrating this is. They need the nap; they just refuse to take it. We continued to put our daughter into her bed at nap time because we thought the down time was good for her. For a while there, she napped very infrequently, say once every week. Even so, we stuck with it and she naps about half the time now (she's 3.5). I was ready to give up the naps completely, but I'm glad we stuck with the routine. Mama of an occasional napper
When my son was 3, he still needed a nap but didn't want to stay in his bed when at home on weekends (he napped fine at preschool because everyone did it). It was really important to me that he take one (and he ended up taking one until he was four and a half!), so here is what I did:

My bedroom is quite dark. So, just after lunch, I took my son into my bed with me. My son was pretty responsive to rules, so I told him the rule was he had to lie still, right beside me, for 15 minutes. If he hadn't fallen asleep in that time, I would tell him, and he could get up and play. I would then lie with him, very still and quiet, and count slowly to 1000 (so I didn't have to keep moving and look at the clock). 95% of the time he was sound asleep well before I got to 1000. Once in a while I was too. But he always slept soundly for a couple of hours, and the rest of the day went much better!

Not the best option, perhaps. But naptime only lasts a couple of years. May seem like a long time now -- but my son is 7 and napping is a distant memory... Karen


Maybe she is giving up her nap. It isn't pretty when it happens at that age, but it isn't abnormal. On days that she skips her naps, can she sleep through the night or is she too tired to sleep naturally? That should give you a cue... -anon
This may be worth a try: Some time around that age, when naps started getting more challenging, I started having a policy that I would lie down for naps with my little one (if she has a crib/toddler bed, this would obviously have to happen in your bed). Laying down with my toddler would get him to relax and snuggle and then he would often fall asleep in 5-10 minutes. We also started listening to stories on CD: Doctor Seuss, Bill Harley, Winnie the Pooh -- you can check them out at the library or buy them on audible.com or itunes. I often took a short snooze myself and then woke up and crept away. This was a nap-only deal, as I *hated* laying down at bed time and had eliminated that practice earlier. My little one was able to understand that there was a difference between nap-time and bed-time, and though he would sometimes ask for me to lie down at bedtime as well, I would just say, ''No, I only do that for naps'' and he didn't protest much. Good luck! Love Naps
I think at this age they need 10 to 13 hours of sleep, so if she is getting only 9 or 10 hours at night she may need 2 more hours at naptime. When she gets a little older say 4 or 5 she may be able to drop her nap go to bed at 7 to wake at 7(12 hours) I can't believe how many parents allow their kids to stay up late after they've dropped their nap. Some are getting only 9 hours at night and their parents wonder why they are whining and crying every day. Establish a short naptime routine at the same time everyday. You could read one book after lunch or sing a quick lullabye. Give her a lovey, put her in her bed, say goodnight and tell her she must take a nap. Close the curtain to make it a little darker. Now comes the fun part, this will be hard at first since she is not used to this. You will have to keep putting her in her bed everytime she gets out. Make sure you stay calm on the outside(on the inside you will probably be ready to scream) and calmly place her in her bed everytime she gets out. You may have to do this at least 30 times the first day. She will finally get that naptime is for sleeping. As long as she knows you will never back down, she will give up and fall asleep. Have a rule of no toys in the bed ever. She will fall asleep if she is laying down and has nothing to do. Make sure you don't talk to her much or give her any reinforcement for getting up. The first time you can explain it, but after that just say shhhh naptime and quietly walk away. If she continues to get out, pick her up carry her back to bed and repeat without having any conversation or hugs kisses atc.(you already kissed her goodnight). This will be really stressful at first, but usually they give up after the first or second day. She will be happier that you are taking charge and helping her get the rest she needs so all of you can enjoy your day. She will probably test a few times after, just remember to be calm and consistent. Good luck. It sometimes helps to count(in your head) how many times she gets up, just so you can feel proud of yoursef for sticking it out the first day 43 times. Reward yourself after. sleep is essential
Some ideas.

1/ Try earlier naptimes. If you get her at the right time, it might work better. If she gets her second wind, it's harder to get to sleep.

2/ Create a quiet time transition before bed, where the activities are not exciting, but calming and relaxing. Even if you decide to incorporate deep breathing and stretching with her, that's fine. Books are another good one.

3/ Lay in bed with her. Hold her with your arm, in a cuddling way that keeps her down. Not like a straitjacket. She shoudl be able to fidget/move around/adjust her position, but not able to sit up or get up. She will resist and complain, and be matter of fact about it. Be firm and resolute with this plan. She will flip out a little, but soon see that you mean business. (I will stress again not to straitjacket her - that's terrifying. But don't let her go just because she's upset and doesn't like it, or screams.)

4/ Let her know it's quite alright if she cries, but right now it's time to sleep. Rub back/stroke head. Sing songs, especially ones you make up with lulling melodies and words that include things that talk about resting our eyes/bodies, going to sleep/pleasant dreams, and soon we'll play again. You can tell her a couple times what you're doing, but beyond that, no talking beyond hushing sounds, as that is encouraging interaction.


My 2.5-year-old is pretty anti-nap, too, even though he still really needs the sleep (when he doesn't rest, he's a massive meltdown waiting to happen by 5 pm). This pattern began well before we moved him into his 'big boy bed' about 6 months ago, and has only been an issue at nap time; bedtime is generally pretty easy. As a result, we instituted a new rule several months ago that has worked out well: the you-don't-have-to-sleep-but-you-have-to-rest rule. I figure, I can't make him sleep, but I can help him have some down time. I tuck him into bed every day at about the same time (1:00-ish) and he tries to sleep. If he can't (or won't) fall asleep, he reads in bed, plays quietly with his animals, sings to himself (super cute), etc. Basically, any quiet, chill activity is allowed, including getting out of bed and playing on the floor, but he must stay in his room for 1.5 hours (about how long his naps are, when they miraculously occur). He never cries or gets upset during this time; I think he appreciates the quiet time as much as I do, and even on these 'rest days' the 5 pm meltdown is usually avoided. (He does, however, still have to go to bed about 45 minutes earlier on days when he just rests instead of naps - his little body does still need the sleep, ultimately, and he always seems to conk right out.) In addition to solving the whole nap dilemma, this new rule also has spared us the sleep power struggles of yore. Hope it can restore some peace to your house as well! Rested Mama
My 2 1/2 year old son is doing the same thing right now. He's still in his crib which helps a lot. His brother tried to pull the same thing at the same age. I did the same thing w/both of them until we got over the hump and they knew we were serious. For about a week w/the older one, I sat in his room and told him to ''lay down'' and ''be quiet'' every time he popped up to play. Finally he gave up and fell asleep. After that week, all I had to do was threaten to sit there and he behaved. It may sound like a hassle but was totally worth it. I would definitely consider getting her back in her crib w/a tent if I were you. The older one continued napping well up to age 4 so I'm so glad I didn't give up. Also, I made sure he wasn't overtired when I put him down as then he was really impossible. Hang in there and good luck! Been There Before and Right Now

26 month old daughter refusing to nap for mommy

March 2005

My daughter has always been a terrible napper. However, she will usually take a nap for 45 minutes. Lately, whenever I (mommy) put her down, she screams and screams and refuses to sleep. But, she falls asleep immediately whenever anyone else puts her down. I make sure my routine with her for her nap is the same as what my nanny does with her. This is very frusterating because when she doesn't nap, I wind up having to put her to bed for the night super super early. Any advice?? Frusterated mom of an exhausted non-napper


It sounds like she just really wants to keep playing with Mommy! Sorry that I don't have any advice Kids love their Mommy!
You might consider replacing the nap with a quiet time in her room and then putting her to bed super early. She may be starting to transition out of her nap.

Almost 3-y-o wants to be up instead of resting

March 2005

Our son, almost 3, moved into a big boy bed a couple of months ago. He goes to bed fairly easily at night but naps are another story! We made the mistake initially of letting him play quietly in his room until falling asleep - this lasted about 2 weeks when we realized we needed to lie down with him and reinforce staying in bed. We've now done this for about 6 weeks but it's not getting any easier! Even after a half day at school then winding down for a bit at home, he still wants to be up and about when he should be resting. It's becoming a real battle for my work at home husband and he's feeling frustrated. We've thought of extending his day at school since the kids there seem to sleep pretty well but see that as a last resort (can't afford it right now). Any advice would be appreciated. Lisa


My second child stopped napping at just about 2 1/2...we struggled for about six weeks and then realized she was just plain done with it. For the first six months, she would occasionally still fall asleep in the car, etc. but generally she was up and pretty happy. And she went to bed at 7:30 at night! For the record my oldest took naps til he was solidly 4! So could it be that your child is just not needing naps anymore??? And by the way until she was 3, we did have her spend ''quiet time'' for an hour in her room...and that seemed to work okay...Good luck! mom to a non-napper
We have had the same problem. I work from home and my daughter has decided to not nap when she comes home from pre-school. She is 2.5 and still needs a nap. I wasn't getting any work done in the afternoons so we did add two days of naptime at school. This has worked out very well for us. I now know that I have two days a week where I have from 9-3:30 to work. On the days she is home the napping is hit or miss. If she does not fall asleep right away I know she won't go down. The other thing we have started doing with some success is instituting ''quiet time''. If she won't nap then she must stay in her room and play quietly for an hour. It is not a perfect solution but it is better than before. Julie

2 1/2 year old twins can't settle down

Jan 2005

I need advice on todder g/g twins, 2 1/2 years old, and naps and also bedtime. Sometimes they seem quite tired and don't nap. Other times they may not need the nap but nap at daycare, or don't nap at home. Days they nap, they take an hour to go to sleep that night, fighting and yelling at each other in bed until 10pm. They seem to wind each other up at naptime at home too, keeping each other awake while in their cribs. Mom has tried the following: Mom ususally gets them out of the house all morning, until about 12:30 and then drives them home and waits for each to go to sleep before putting them into bed. This works only if morning activity lasts as late as 12:30 or one. Noon driving time does not put girls to sleep and they don't go to sleep once home. IF they do fall asleep they want to sleep for 2-3hours, waking as late as 4. Attempts to wake them are met with much crying and sometimes ongoing upset behavior lasting at least a half an hour, much like a sick kid who wants to go back to bed. If mom does not drive girls in the car, they do not nap at home (mom is their primary caregiver). Lately much yelling and sniping occurs in bed, and one twin very nearly ''flips her hair like a teenager'' as she tells mom ''no'' it is ''wake up time.'' Both girls sleep 10 - 11 hours at night (nap or no nap). They may not need more sleep than that, but if not, why are they napping the two days at daycare? They do nap with other folks they are not used to like grandma or a babysitter. Naps for dad are hit and miss; half and half success. They nap about an hour at their two days at daycare (we drop them off at naptime, 12:30 and the other kids are already asleep). We'd love advice on twins and quiet time, both at naps and bedtime. We believe the main problem is two year olds having to live with a second two year old winding each other up. While they may very well not need a nap some days, we assume they want some sleep since they sleep at the two naptimes at daycare and becuase they want to sleep so long at home once they go to sleep. So far the way to keep then from sniping and yelling and winding each other up is to sit in a rocker in their room, but the time span for this is indefinate. An hour could go by with Mom and still not sleeping kids. We also need advice on waking up kids. Since our girls get up around 7:30, a 2 1/2 hour nap at home results in a 10pm bedtime (we put them into bed at 8:45) which is far beyone Mom's powers. Should we start getting them up earlier too? This has been our recent strategy with little success as one girl gets up and the second fights it and has a long, unhappy morning because she is overtired (?). THANKS for your advice!!!! Twin mom: the 2's and sleeping


Stop the naps! 2 1/2 year olds don't need naps. It plays havoc with their bedtimes, and robs them of day-time play and learning. Your girls only sleep at daycare because of peer pressure. You may be amazed how easily your children go to sleep at night, every night, once you stop the naps. The afternoon peace the Mom enjoys will just be traded for peace later in the evening, for both Mom and Dad to enjoy. Joe
I also have twins, but went through this with my older daughter when she was about the same age as your twins. For us, it turned out to mean she was transitioning to not napping. I eventually decided not to ''force'' her to sleep, which made some early evenings pretty miserable but at least she went to bed earlier! been there
While I don't have twins I do have a 4 and 2 year old. Most days the 2 year old doesn't nap - will play in her crib for an hour but not fall asleep. On the rare occasion that she needs a nap it is isn't until about 2 in the afternoon. The 4 year old doesn't nap either but does have an hour of quiet time in her room every afternoon. The positive of all of this is that both kids are asleep by 7:00...we start stories no later than 6:45. They arise at 6:00, which is early for some families but works for us - more time with Dad before he's off to work and a smooth exit for all of us to get to preschool at 9:00.

I'd suggest reading Healthy Sleep Habbits, Happy Child. It is written by a doctor of pediatric sleep disorders and is loaded with fascinating information. I'm sorry I don't recall the author. Best of luck


Hi, I don't have experience with twins but I have done lots of research on babies and sleep. It sound like to me that your twins definately need a nap and it has to be short. The main problem is the late bedtime. I would, on days they don't nap, try putting them to bed very early. Not getting enough rest at night makes children overtired in the morning thus, making it hard to fall asleep. I think a good bedtime for thier age is between 6-7. Since they are really overtired the earlier the better. If they wake up well rested, they can fall asleep for a nap around 12 or 1 easier and the nap with automatically be shorter and the bedtime earlier creating a healthy sleep cycle. Try soothing them at six with a goal of sleep at seven. I bet getting them to sleep at seven will be easier then at 10. Some important things to remember for sleep times is, get a nap and bedtime routine and start before they seem really tired and cranky. When babies are cranky or rub their eyes, they are overtired. Babies also respond well to routine and consistancy, they like knowing what's coming. It really is true that a well rested baby sleeps better though it seems counterintuitive. Good Luck! anon
My 2 1/2 year old twins have recently started ''winding each other up'' at nap time as well. They talk, laugh, and jump (and, before we moved the furniture, climed in and out of each others' cribs) for about an hour before going to sleep. We just leave them alone in there until they fall asleep. It means they fall asleep later (about 3:00 instead of 2:00) and therefore wake up later (sometimes as late as 6:00). On the plus side, it gives me a bigger chunk of time to myself because there's an hour of crib play before the nap. At night, they talk and play quite a bit less, and sometimes go right to sleep without talking. I think the fact that it's totally dark helps.

One thing I've known other parents of twins to try is separating the two at naptime (either by rolling a crib out of the children's bedroom or by putting one child to sleep in a portable crib or parents' bed).

Another thing that may work is to let the children know that even if they are not tired, that YOU need some quiet time and that you expect them to stay in their beds until _______( a timer goes off, a CD or cassette finishes playing,...). If they're really tired, hopefully they'll eventually fall asleep during that time period. If they don't, at least you had some quiet time.

Like you, we end up with cranky children if we wake them from late afternoon naps. So, unless we have somewhere we need to go, or if they've had over 2 hours of sleep and it's as late as 7:00, we don't wake them. Once they get up, they generally have a period of active play (so they get tired out again) before going to sleep for the night at 9:00. Occasionally because of the way our day goes, if they haven't had a nap by 4:00 or 4:30, we just skip the nap and put them to bed about an hour earlier than normal.

If your girls nap late and then aren't ready to go to sleep until 10:00, is it still possible for you to put them in bed at 9:00 with the understanding that YOU need to sleep and they are are welcome to talk, read, giggle, etc, but to stay in their beds and leave you alone until morning? Good luck! --Julie


2 year-old's 4pm nap keeps him up late

May 2004

Over the past 3 months, my 2-yr old has stopped taking a nap. He used to nap between 12:30-1pm and wake up around 3pm.

Now, he refuses to nap and most times, because he is tired, falls asleep at 4pm. Then he wakes up at 6pm roaring to go and stays up until 11:30pm.

We realize it's a developmental stage, but it's wearing us down and it's not doing him much good either. We've tried all calming bedtime and naptime routines. We've read up on all the tricks---quiet time for 30 minutes, nothing seems to work. We've even made sure his diet his free of sugars (gummy treats, cookies, juice)during the day and night. Even tried waking him up earlier and breaking this cycle. Nothing works!

With a sleep schedule such as this, we often miss many of his needed daytime activities which he needs to get out his energy. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks. lori


a non-napping two year old, my sympathies, you have. we had to endure this as well, and finally found that the late afternoon nap was not allowed - my child did have to build up stamina to weather the stress of not napping when he really needed to, but we pushed up bed time to 6:30 or 7. i kept my son awake by bathing him when he began to get drowsy around 4 and gave him dinner by 5 and distract, distract, distract until i was sure he would go to bed. the other thing we did do, was to institute quiet time with a timer - in his room or play area - building up from 5 mins to 30 mins. this down time at the time of his former nap, helped to restore him a bit and we got out and about to run around a little more. hope you find something that works for you. linda

2.5 yo is singing and jumping, not napping

April 2004

Help! My 2.5 year old is simply not napping for the past few days. We do our usual pre-nap routine and he lies down in his crib but after I leave he is up, singing, talking, jumping, and simply doesn't settle himself down to nap as he always has in the past. Could this just be a phase? He is definitely tired and I think he's too young to stop napping! Alma


My now almost-3 yo son did the exact same thing at when he was 2 1/2. My advice to you is to hang in there.

My son wasn't ready to give up his naps either but for some reason started resisting them last fall. He once went for an entire week without napping and I thought it was really over then, but the fact that he was an utter basket case in the late afternoons (and the fact that he collapsed in bed by 6:30) told me otherwise.

One thing that could help is to put your son down for his nap a little bit later. Move the nap time back by 15 minutes and see what happens. It could be that he can go a bit longer without napping and needs slightly less daytime sleep. My son will nap more consistently these days if I put him down around 2 pm (back when he was 2 1/ 2, his nap time was closer to 1 pm) and then I make sure he is up by 4 to protect his bedtime. These days, he misses one nap about every ten days.

Another thing is to not let your son know if you are upset that he doesn't nap. Don't yell, punish, nag, get mad, etc. If he knows he is pushing a sensitive button, he will definitely continue.

Hope this helps. Good luck! Been There


My daughter did the same at about 26 months. She just sang, jumped and talked for the whole time she suppose to nap. I usually took her out of her crib after 1,5 hours. She did manage to take a nap every once in a while ( around once a week). This whole phase lastet like about 1 months. I just sticked to the routine and now we are back to normal. I know there are some 2 year olds who give up napping but I could tell that my daughter still needed her nap. When she didn't nap she was grouchy in the evening or even fell asleep at the dinner table. If your child is happy all day and seem to be rested ( maybe he sleeps 12 hours straight at night ? ) than he is maybe giving up his nap. I heard that 12 hours of sleep is the minimum for that age. I would just stick to the routine and see if he goes back to normal. I do have a different problem know. She wants to nap 3 hours or more. These Toddlers change all the time. Good Luck ! Alex
We just went through this! It was really frustrating. My son is not ready to give up his nap and, frankly, I'm not ready either! When we moved him from a crib to a bed, he did great at first but after a few weeks he started really partying after we left the room. One day I heard a really loud noise during naptime and I went into his room. Although he jumped back in bed when he heard me open the door, he was wearing sunglasses. When I asked what was going on, he said ''Dancing, mama. A whole lot of dancing.''

I think the big thing for him was realizing that he could get out of bed and do whatever he wanted to do. So first we tried to limit it: we put a gate on his door to keep him from running into his brother's room and waking up the baby. We put hook- style locks on his bathroom door (he's still in diapers) and his closet door. What really did the trick, though, was bringing a crib back into his room. We told him that if he got out of bed, then we'd put him in the crib. He got out of bed a few times and we put him in the crib (he hated it!). The drama of it all seemed too much, so for about a week, we just ignored the bed at nap time and put him in the crib. After that week, we let him try the bed with the understanding that he'd go right back in the crib if he got out of bed. One last thing. We put some books on the nightstand and told him that he could read quietly if he didn't want to sleep, but he could NOT get out of bed until we came to get him.

I'm happy to report that he's stayed in his bed during nap and at night for the past few weeks. Some days he just reads quietly and some days he sleeps for almost 3 hours. Of course I'm happiest when he actually sleeps, but the rest is good downtime too. And at least the naptime partying has stopped (for now.) Good luck to you. I know it is a tough stage! Jen


My daughter went from taking a 3 hour nap a day to almost no nap at 2.5 years old. I, too, knew she still needed a nap and I tried everything I could to get her to nap including things I was not too proud of such as losing my temper. I was really going crazy at the thought of her naps ending, especially since she really needed one and we all paid for it later in the day. In the end, I had to accept that this was one thing I could not control and tried to get her to stay quietly in her room, which was not always possible. She did start going to bed a lot earlier - like 7 o'clock which was some consolation. I did find that when this first started she would go back to naps for a few weeks then stop again. Now, a year later, she may do quiet time for an hour or so, or not. And, every month or so she will take a 2 1/2 hour nap. Even if she doesn't nap or do quiet time, I have trained her to play on her own while I get things done for awhile every afternoon which is much easier at 3 1/2 than at 2 1/2. The only thing that really helped me was accepting that this break in my day was over and if I got more than that it was only upside. One last thought, I found potty training to be a similar challenge as only the child can control it no matter how much I wanted to:) Good Luck! Jenny

2.5 yo can't settle down at naptime

Feb 2004

As I write this, I am listening (via the monitor) to my 2.5 yo son sing and rattle around in his crib during naptime for the third time this week. Undoubtedly, this will all end with no nap and an early bedtime.

My son has always had very healthy sleep habits. He was always been a solid napper and has slept through the night since he was 7-8 months old. We have nap/sleep routines and he goes to sleep unassisted. I also have no doubt that he still NEEDS his naps. Today, for example, he yawned about four times while we were going through his pre-nap routine of reading books. And on the days when he misses his naps, he is fast asleep by 6:30 or 7 pm (as opposed to 8:30 or 9 pm when he does nap) and will sleep solidly until 7 the next morning.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to his not napping -- whether he's been to preschool that morning or not; whether he's had an especially active morning or not; whether he's eaten a lot of lunch or not. He doesn't cry or scream, he justs sings and plays (and yawns) and basically energizes himself up to the point where he can't sleep.

I've tried carrots (''let's bake cookies when you wake up from your nap'') and sticks (''okay, we're not baking cookies anymore'') to no avail. I'm also trying not to make too big of a deal about it with him, since he seems to know what pushes my buttons.

Has anyone successfully gotten their preschooler to consistently settle down to take the naps he/she so desperately needs? I can't -- nor do I want to -- lie down with him (this would only energize him) since he still sleeps in a crib. Any success stories (and strategies/techniques) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Rockridge mom


You're lucky your son sleeps well and doesn't mind just hanging out in the crib at ''naptime.'' Mine will flip out if we put her in the crib at ''naptime'' even if she's tired, but she will nap if she's tired enough and we put her on our bed or on blankets on the floor --but not for long. And if we move her after she's fallen asleep in the car, the nap is OVER for the day. But she sleeps great at nite.
My son, now 9, had completely given up naps by the time he was your child's age. If he took a nap, it was impossible to get him to sleep before 11 or 12 at night. The good news is that lots of bright kids are not great sleepers. It sound like your child is just past napping. The solution I used was to insist on a fairly quiet time - since you have success with a crib, which we did not, you could use that, and just let him play quietly there. Or choose some snuggle, or soft music, time, with very limited stimulation. Their little nervous systems get overloaded with all the new information they're trying to digest, and they need a little time out, but struggling with forcing sleep becomes more stressful than just riding the horse in the direction it's going, I've found. k
Sounds like you're at the transition phase between napping and not napping. Does it work for you and your schedule to let her skip the nap, and just go to bed earlier? Is she still happy and functional in the late afternoon if she doesn't nap? If so, you may just want to accept that her sleep pattern is (once again) changing. Another option might be a later nap, but that might mean a later bed time, too. Does this work better for you? Think about what you - and she - really need, and there's probably more than one way to get it! R.K.

26-month-old twins will not nap on the weekends

Sept 2003

My 26 month old twin girls nap OK at daycare (according to their teachers) but on weekends, at least one out of two days, they fool around, jump up and down in their cribs, take off their clothes, scream, etc. for hours until they finally fall asleep (usually for two hours at least). This throws off the rest of the day-- by now it's five or after, way too late to be sleeping. I have tried going without a nap and that's not an option, they go berserk by bedtime. I spend lots of time with them on weekends, as well as a.m. & p.m.during the week, as does their father. They go to sleep around 8:30 without fuss.Any suggestions? Maria


As a parent of 31 month old twins, I certainly understand your dilema. Here's what we do to get our twins to nap during the day when they are not in preschool: we make sure they are up by 6:30 am (they normally wake up at this time or earlier); around 10 am we take them out for a walk or to the playground and do this activity for at least an hour - the idea is for them to get some exercise so as to tire them out somewhat; we'll put them down for a nap around 12:30 (give or take a half hour depending on how they are doing); they'll usually spend a half hour talking but then fall asleep for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. If one of them is really not sleepy, we'll keep them up and put them down later for a one hour nap at the most since a longer nap will interfere with their bedtime. We have also placed curtains in their bedroom that have a blackout liner so that the room is somewhat dark for nap time. Anon

Two-year-old strips during naptime, climbs out of crib

June 2003

Several times in the past 2-3 weeks, our 2-year-old son has stripped off all of his clothes, including his diaper, during his naptime. Even if he was tired to begin with, this new routine seems to give him in a whole new dose of energy, to the point where he pees in his crib, climbs out, pees in his room and wants to play. His nap is pretty much shot.

Up until this point, he has been an incredibly solid napper, typically napping between 2 and 3 hours a day. I don't think that he is anywhere near ready to give up his nap yet -- on these rare (but now becoming more common) occasions when he doesn't nap, he is flailing mess for the rest of the afternoon, and will collapse for the night well before 6 pm.

Have other parents dealt with this situation? What was the resolution? Is this a passing phase? Frustrated Mom


Why don't you put a diaper on after he falls asleep for the nap - that shouldn't be too hard since he is totally naked. This would prevent him waking up from the mess and ending the nap early. Anon
When we had a similar problem with my daughter stripping at bedtime, we put her PJs on backwards so she couldn't reach the snaps. On cooler nights, we zipped her into a sleep sack (the zipper on ours opens from the bottom -- smart designer) and that worked too. I'm happy to report that she grew out of it, and I seem to remember it was a pretty short phase. Jennifer M.
When my son was about 18 mos he started doing the same thing when he first awoke in the morning or at nap. If I didn't get in there before he woke up, he'd strip down and take off his diaper and - gulp - begin playing with its contents. For about 6 months I used to put masking tape around his nap and night time diaper-- many layers, which he couldn't undo. He finally lost interest and the phase passed. This doesn't solve the wake-up problem, but may make it a little less messy. Susan
Our son went through the same stage for a couple of weeks when he turned two. Our solution was to dress him in overalls for his naps. Simple but seemed to work for us. Patty

Three Year Olds


3 yr old naptime mayhem - no quiet time!

Jan 2010

Help - I'm at my wits end w/ my 3 yr old daughter and her refusal to take a nap or stay in her room during ''quiet'' time. Despite being tired (she naps 3 times a week at daycare) she won't nap at home the other 4 days of the week. A while ago we instituted ''quiet time'' for 45-60 min a day while my 9 mo old is napping. However she uses that ''quiet'' time to bang on the walls, open and slam the door, climb on furniture, yell, etc. Hardly quiet. It's infuriating listening to her riot, especially when she wakes the baby. I think it's important for her to have a short amount of alone time each day to regroup by reading or playing quietly, and I like to use that time to do chores around the house that I can't otherwise do with the kids underfoot. This has become so frustrating for me that I'm not sure we should continue doing quiet time. I'm sure others out there are facing a similar situation with their toddlers. How can I encourage my daughter to chill for 1 hr so we can both have a little space and regroup? I'm reluctant to sit her in front of the tv for that time, though it's tempting! Unfortunately we're housebound for 2-3 hrs each afternoon while the baby is napping. How have others dealt with this situation? frustrated mama


It is not uncommon for kids to give up napping at this age. And she doesn't need to be alone for an hour to ''regroup.'' But it sounds like you do! I wouldn't worry at this point about letting Barney or the Backyardigans entertain her for an episode if you really need to use that time for yourself. Otherwise, you could use the time to hang out with her without that baby! She would probably LOVE that. And that may, in fact, be what all the protestations are about.

My oldest kid gave up his nap at 2 years one month. It was a 3-hour nap every single day from 2-5. He. Just. Stopped. I was pregnant and wanted to die. Then I embraced it. I used chill time WITH him. We would hang out on the sofa and watch Barney or lie on the floor and do puzzles or read a book... It was nice once I just went with it. be with your girl


I think your daughter needs some serious limits! My kids have never done that, so maybe I am not the best person to speak on this. But, I think part of the reason they don't is because we have been very firm from the beginning that they need to be quiet. I tell my daughter that I should not hear her at all. She doesn't have to sleep (she's five and actually sleeps 90% of the time) but she does need to be quiet. She may look at books. She used to make some noise, but I went in there and told her, ''Mama needs a break. I don't want to even hear you.'' If I had to go back to her room again, she would get a time-out. She was sufficiently scared that now you could hear a pin-drop in there, even when she is not sleeping. My kids hate time-out and obey pretty well because (I think) they hate time-outs. Maybe they obey because they love and respect us, but honestly, I don't think that's why yet. Eventually, I hope for that to be the reason. Good luck! Set limits.
So, I feel your pain... and I am looking forward to the responses. Unfortunately, I have given up ''quiet time'' unless it's to watch a show on TV... Dora is awfully popular at the moment... Boy, do I wish she would nap! She needs a nap! Is MUCH happier if she gets a small nap (which only happens in the car these days...). no advice, but I'm with you!

Does your 3yr old consistently skip naps?

Aug 2009

Over the last week, my son (38 months) has consistently skipped his nap. He has missed a nap only a handful of times since birth. So we find this rather weird that all of a sudden he is going without naps.

This 3 yr old is the type that would sleep at max 11 hours a day. So he gets that either 9.5 night + 1.5 nap or some combination. Over the last week, he's been doing about 10.5 night + 0 nap.

If he were not ultra cranky (and even cries before I put him down at night as we cosleep), I would not mind him so much skipping his nap. However, he is super cranky and highly, highly irritable in the evening time when I'm back from work.

Is this normal? Should I try to get him to nap by curbing his night-time sleep? Suggestions on how to handle the tantrums? When did your child begin to lose his/her naps?


My son has been doing the exact same thing for the last couple months. He's also a little over 3. And it's been a difficult transition -- esp. in regards to tantrums and afternoon crankiness. The only difference, he's always been a bit sleep challenged (sometimes very sleep challenged). But 11 hours has been the average for the last year (night time + nap). I've heard 3 is not unusual for dropping a nap. And that it often takes a long time for them to finally transition. You might find that your son goes back to naps on and off and then off again. My son's crankiness has gotten better as he's gotten used to not napping most of the time. We've adjusted his bedtime a little earlier (to 7:30) and he's sleeping a little later than he used to (till about 6:00/6:30). Occasionally, he'll throw in a 7am wake-up, which he never did when he was napping. One of the books that's helped us with learning about sleep patterns is the NEW Ferber book. I know, it's gotten the wrap for being the CIO book, but the new edition does address other options (including co-sleeping) and it does have useful info about sleep patterns, naps, etc. You might also want to try adjusting when you put your son down for a nap. Maybe try a little later? Hope this helps. Good luck! Napless in Berkeley
Our son stopped taking naps *abruptly* at 3 - seemed like naps were done within a week. He now sleeps 10 hours a night, sick or well, early bedtime or late. He too went through a cranky phase, but every attempt I made to impose/suggest/facilitate a nap failed utterly. The crankiness disappeared as he got used to his new routine. On the positive side, the lack of naps freed up the structure of my day, & did away with the pitter-patter of little feet down the hallway at 10:30 pm. (Didn't do away with the waking several times a night, though...) Just Another Phase...
I think this is pretty common, certainly in my experience. I haven't figured out anything that works except to wait it out. We had some mild success with a daily ''quiet time'' in place of nap, and a later bedtime can also work to re-start a nap, but I have come to the conclusion that it is simply necessary to suffer through it, more or less. It is frustrating, since more sleep = more happy, but sometimes you can lead a preschooler to a quiet room, but you can't make him nap. -Mother of a Sometimes Cranky, Tired Three-Year-Old
Our son went through a transition at 3 where he gave up naps entirely. Rather than forcing that issue, we made sure he had 1 to 1 1/2 hours of ''quiet time'' at the time his naps used to happen. And we minimized sugar-heavy foods and juices so he didn't get artificially ''amped up'' during the day and crash later. Good luck! Parent of happily sleeping kids
My son is also 38 months (born July 2006), and he still has a nap every day. For a while he kept saying he did not want to nap, but this was simply because he found it more fun to play than to sit still and nap. So what worked for me was to change the name ''nap time'' to ''story time.'' I read him a few books and then he takes a nap. He sleeps about 10-1/2 hours at night and then takes about a 1-1/2 hour nap in the afternoon from about 1-2:30. If he misses a nap (only happens every once in a while if we are out someplace in the car), he will be very cranky toward the end of the day and will need to be in bed by 8:00 or 8:30 otherwise he will have a temper tantrum.

So yes, he still has a nap. If your son is very cranky when you come home, he probably still needs a nap, or perhaps ''quiet time'' when he can sit still and read, or be by himself for a while to rest. Good luck! anon


Cut the nap altogether? - almost 3

Jan 2009

We're at our wits end! Our son, almost 3, takes these long naps (2-3 hours) and then is terribly cranky for 30-40 mins afterwards. He has a VERY hard transitioning out of them, understandably. Then, he's not really ready to sleep until 9 or 10 pm and wakes up around 6 or 6:30 am. We tried for weeks waking him after 1.5 hour of a nap, but his crankiness, crying, resistance to waking up was unbearable. Then, we went thru a phase of no napping, and he'd be in bed by 7:30 (which was nice for my hubby and me to have some QT time in the evening together again!), but late afternoons he really started to fade. We really think he still needs some ''quiet time'' in the afternoon. We've tried putting him in his room to read, play quietly, but getting him to stay put is tough. I realize consistency is key, and in the past, we've been good about consistency, but I feel like we're in a weird phase, but my husband and I want to take back control! We'd like a little more time in the evenings to ourselves and fewer cranky issues around naptime. Our son is also a pretty sensitive, intense little temperament. Help!! losing it


I had to respond as I could have written your post just a few months ago, with our just-turned 3 yr old daughter. Our issues were a bit different -- she had a hard time transitioning into nap, would take forever to go down, finally fall asleep late afternoon, then be awake till 9:30 or 10, even if we started bedtime at the usual 6pm. Then she'd wake up at 6:30, earlier than normal, and her overall time asleep was much less. I kept thinking that it wasn't right to have such a late bedtime and it's not -- it will positively affect their overall sleep to pull it back to an earlier bedtime. So you have to think about how you can do that. It was driving us all crazy to spend so much negative time around sleep. I assumed she was too young to drop her nap, but finally realized that she was ready to drop her nap when at home (she still naps at preschool, where they wake her after 45 minutes, which she is now used to). She now sleeps 7:30 - 7:30 consistently and with no struggle going to sleep. I think this is a change in sleep rhythm that some kids go through at earlier ages. We needed to disengage from the power struggle that naps and nighttime had become, and that was to give her the choice about whether to nap. The key for us to dropping her nap was insisting on quiet time. Be clear about having quiet time. If she misses that, she is a mess. We put a gate up on her bedroom door, so she can have the door open, but it allows her to stay in her room (she would never stay in bed or her room without it - believe me, we tried - she's a very active child). That has helped tremendously, and she is totally fine with her quiet time now. We made it clear that she can nap if she wants to, but she must rest her body for an hour. She usually plays quietly with toys in her room, looks at books, and listens to some music. She just needs to zone out, putter around, and not be stimulated, in order to recharge. Now we all rest during that time in our house, which reinforces it for her. Insist on quiet time, get a gate if you can (I wasn't thrilled, but it changed our lives and she does not have any negative associations with it), and hopefully your child's sleep patterns will start to fall into the place where they need to be for him. some almost-3 yr olds don't nap
Based on what you have said, and on my experience with each of my three kids, I would nix the nap and go for the earlier bedtime. You may even be able to make the bedtime earlier than 7:30. My older two gave up napping around two and a half yrs old and went to a 6:30 bedtime. They went to sleep so easily and slept until 6:30 or 7 am. My third stopped napping at a similar age and went to a 7-7:30 bedtime. He doesn't go down as easily, but still we have a nice evening time for grown-ups. Good luck to you! Early to bed...
It was my daughter's preschool teacher who suggested skipping the naps when my daughter was 3, and it was right on the money. The only reason she needed a nap in the first place was because she wasn't tired until 10pm - Because of the nap she had taken earlier in the day. She had to get up early for school in the morning, and was very tired because she had been up so late. Then she needed a nap, and the cycle repeated itself. Once we started skipping the nap, she starting going to bed at 8pm and waking up well-rested for the next day. Not all kids need naps anymore at the age of 3, and yours may be one of them. Meg
Yes! Cut the nap. The crankiness and the late bed time are key indicators. It will be tough for a while--4 to 5 pm are especially bad. At this time, keep activity low, stay home and out of the car if you can (unless you do want a really late nap on your hands!). We read books and cuddle; I never could get my son to spend this time alone, but he will stay quiet if I stay quiet with him. I started saving one TV program for this time as well. As with all transitions, it takes a few months but the crankiness will fade, the wake up time may even get later, and everyone will be a lot happier! Good Luck
We had almost the same situation and I was reluctant to give up the nap because of how difficult the last two hours of the day would be. Someone reminded me that there is a transition period and then they get used to no naps, so I gave it a try. My son had also started fighting taking a nap so it was easy to tell him he could either choose a nap or quiet time - both in his room. I set the timer to 1 hour and when it beeped, he could come out. I told him if he couldn't stay in his room and play then he'd have to take a nap. After about a week of this, he did it willing for about 6 months. My son is extremely spirited, consistency is crucial. Letting him decide also really helped. Good Luck. Anne
When I was your son's age, every afternoon I was supposed to ''take a nap.'' Both my mom and I understood that this meant ''go to your room and play by yourself for 1.5 to 2 hours and DO NOT COME OUT.'' She didn't check to see if I was asleep, the only requirement was to stay in my room and keep the door closed. I regarded this as my special private time to do whatever I wanted and it was a great opportunity for downtime and learning to amuse myself. I'd play with my toys, draw, look at books, etc. I still remember this as one of the smartest things my mom ever did as a parent. She instituted it, I am sure, so she would have a little free time but it was a great gift to me. You could try redefining ''nap time'' as ''private time'' or ''quiet time'' for everyone and see how that works. --Still need my private time

3 year old no longer wants to nap

Dec 2008

Ever since I converted my 3 year old son's crib to a toddler bed he's been resisting taking naps. He has not taken a nap for 4 days now. Today he was yawning and throwing an unusual amount of tantrums - I thought surely he'd nap. I have a nap routine and I put him down at the same time everyday. He's been going to sleep at night around 7:45pm and waking up around 7 am. I feel we both really need him to take a nap. But since he's so resistant do I just give up and try to put him to sleep earlier at night? Do you have any good resources, books, or websites to suggest? Thank you! anon


The party's over! Move bedtime earlier -- MUCH earlier. A great resource on this is Dr. Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. A little hard to decipher at times, but you will learn the science of how sleep really works so you can work WITH your child's natural sleep patterns. I swear by it. Mother of two well-rested girls

3 year old hasn't napped in two months

Oct 2008

This is a two part question, so here goes part 1: Our three-year old boy hasn't napped in two months. Most days, he's happy until his bed time at 7, but others I KNOW he's tired and he won't nap (the other day, he fell asleep immediately in the car on the way to park after ''nap'' time). I've tried everything - audio books, cds, holding him, singing, putting him back in bed w/out talking, etc. He ALWAYS gets out, plays in his room, and often strips naked. He was also coming out of his room but I have started locking it for my own sanity. He is perfectly happy to just talk and play, but I'm torn: do I just give up and let him do what he's going to do, or do I put him in back in the crib (he graduated to a big boy bed three months ago) and attach a crib tent so he can't get out? The latter seems a little nuts on my part, but I'm wondering if he'll succumb to sleep when he realizes he can't get out or play. Part Two: I'm locking the door so he won't come out repeatedly. He's stripping naked and peeing... and he's potty trained. When I've left the door unlocked and told him he can come out to go to the bathroom, he takes advantage and does it over and over again, comes downstairs, says he has to go when he doesn't, etc. What have people done about quiet/nap time and pull-ups or underwear? I've been doing locked doors and pull-up, but I'm worried I'm sending a double message - ie you can pee and poop in your pull-up during quiet time and bedtime but not at any other time. Supporting info is that he sleeps through the night, usually 7-7, no problems, and goes right to sleep at bed time. HELP! anon


I was in your exact situation a few months ago. First off I should say, every child is different, so you never know what will work, this is just my story. This actually started with a trip to my dads, where she was able to climb out of her crib there. It was not a safe or sane situation, as NOTHING was child proofed. So, I broke down and bought a crib tent. It worked great, she loved it and called it her princess castle. (I have read all the opinions about a crib tent being like putting your child in a cage, but safety and the health of your child should be your most important concern!) Later, we came home, and decided to transition her to a toddler bed; no naps for weeks. All she would do is play. Drove her crazy, drove me crazy. With no nap she was done by 5pm and could NOT make it through dinner! It was awful. I worried that she would get sick from lack of sleep and I worried that she was not eating enough since she was too tired/cranky to even get thru a meal. So, I decided she was not ready for the transition and put her crib tent on at home. She loved it again and seemed so much calmer and able to sleep. They need sleep so much at this age, so they stay healthy and have the best development possible and I believe we have to do whatever is necessary to make sure they get enough rest. The crib tent saved both of us and a couple months later we took it off and put her in a toddler bed again and now she stays put. She will lay in bed and read if she is not sleeping, but will always fall asleep eventually. We do use a gate, for safety purposes. As far as potty training, when they say they gotta go you have to take them, at least in the beginning. Once I knew my daughter didn't have to go I would just say ''no, you already tried, now you're just trying to not take a nap.'' Then I wouldn't take her again. It never resulted in an accident. Also, I hate pullups, just go for underwear and clean up the mess, this way there are NO mixed signals! (when they are close to being potty trained of course) My daughter knew she could go in her pull ups and I believe it just slows down the process. I would literally just cut her underwear off (like a diaper) if she went #2 in them and it was very easy to clean up. I didn't make a big deal and within a couple weeks she was fully potty trained. Good Luck! Nana's mommy
I say if you can keep him in his room for quiet (ha!) time, call it a win. Our almost three year old (in underwear) knows he has to stay in his room or he loses his post-nap TV option. It works, for the most part. Can you put a potty in his room for quiet time? That prevents the facetious trips to the potty. Can I get my 1 hour 15 minutes of break, please?
I have gone through everything you mentioned with my just turned three year old. I have no magic for you other than ''I feel your pain!'' From what I garnered, from books and other people, these behaviors are all just stages unless you make a big deal out of them (easy to say). I thought about locking my son in his room, but I just did not feel comfortable. I think the book Magic 123 does not recommend this for young children unless you have a barn style door. Maybe I am a softy, but your child has only been here (on the planet) for three years, do you really thing he needs punishment? My son gave up stripping and peeing after a month or so. He still wanders around the house every once in a while. We just keep putting him back. I know it is tiring. I just kept telling myself that he is only three for a short time. The day will come when I will miss this nightly ritual. Good luck! Andrea
It sounds like your son is giving up his nap. He is tired. Such is life. Some days he will take naps and some days he won't. My daughter gave up her nap a few months before her third birthday. She takes one or two a month now...when she initially gave up her nap, she took one or two a week. She was tired and cranky in the late afternoon. I couldn't force her to take a nap and I am not a fan of the the locking a child in her room idea (I would be scared if someone did that to me). I generally did the reverse...gave her the run of the house while I went into my room to read. I set her up with crayons, paper and turned on the tv. I told her that she had to watch two episodes of Little Bear (50 minutes) before she could disturb me (unless there was blood or fire). I put out a snack for her. Sometimes she fell asleep and sometimes she stayed up. I generally tried not to drive anywhere so that she wouldn't end up taking a nap at 4 in the afternoon. We walked. I did the same thing when my elder daughter gave up her nap. Drop some of the control. It won't work. -anon
This may not be what you want to hear, but it sound like your child is pretty much done with naps, while you feel the need for a break. That can be frustrating. Both of my kids stopped napping before they were two (I know some folks say they should have had one anyway, but it wasn't worth the fight to me), and three is a petty common age to give it up on most days. If you want to insist on a quiet time, go ahead. Let him know you are not available to play, but he can look at books quietly in his bed, or have a few quiet toys there. Maybe even allow a quiet tape or cd he can operate himself in his room. I would definitely stop locking the door (are you sending him to prison?), and I think going back to a crib with a tent is probably not going to work at his age. It sounds like YOU need a break, so take it - close the door to YOUR room, listen to music, fold laundry, whatever. anon.
He's 3. My daughter stopped napping at 3. They don't nap forever, get used to it. Don't lock him in his room or in a crib. He's 3. He doesn't need that nap anymore. You're doing a great job getting him to bed at 7. With that 12 hours of sleep, he doesn't need a nap. I know it's an adjustment not to have that break in the day, but I absolutely think you are doing the wrong thing by locking him in and the whole pull up thing. Perhaps you can still have him have a ''quiet time'' at that nap time and get him to do something on his own, but you can't force him to nap and I don't think you should. Say goodbye to nap time
It seems like your son is ready to give up nap time - he's trying to tell you that through his behavior. A lot children give up naps around 3. Although there may be some transition time where he is tired in the afternoon/evening, it will even out eventually. Forcing him into ''regressive'' situations (like going back into the crib and wearing pull-ups) seems demeaning. anonymous

3.5 year old not napping I'm 8 months pregnant!!

August 2008

We recently moved my 3.3 year old into a twin bed, which has been going well, but now he will not nap at all!! He's been an excellent napper all his life and until very recently would do 2.5 or sometimes 3 hour naps from 2-4:30. It was awsome- except that he would fight bedtime for an hour and not sleep till 9:30/10. Without the nap he is super tired and grumpy by 4pm so I know he still needs a little rest but its impossible to get him to stay in his bed. Is this unusual? Is this the age when kids give up napping? Should I try to enforce the nap or just look at it as the next transition, even though its kind of been cold turkey. The good thing is that he doesn't fight bedtime at all-but its still late, 8:30. The bad thing is I'm 8 months pregnant and I'm EXHAUSTED! I've tried ''quiet time'', but it lasts for 10-15 minutes. He's really social and wants me to play with him. He'll focus on certain art projects but I still have to be in the room with him. Any other suggestions on what to do in the afternoons given that I'm pretty tired and probably will be once baby arrives? He will be going to preschool 2 mornings a week and I'm seriously considering getting a babysitter for another 2 mornings even though its really not in our budget. I just miss those 2 hours where I could lie on the couch or take a nap! They really helped me survive being a SAHM but now I'm starting to freak out because I feel like things are really changing and I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it well... missing those naps


I sympathize with your situation -- I remember being 8 months pregnant and completely exhausted when I had a toddler too. 3.3 years is a totally normal age to give up a nap, though. I think enforcing a quiet time for the length you need is entirely appropriate. If you don't enforce it now, when the baby comes and you have a child who needs some downtime/rest and is wired/grouchy from not getting it, and you're not getting a break either, you're going to have such a difficult time. 15-20 minutes is a very short time. Try to lengthen it as you go along so that it's stretched out by the time baby comes. Good luck!
I have 3 kids ages 9, 7 and 3. When my oldest no longer needed a nap, I instituted the concept of ''book naps''. A book nap is an hour long rest period where they can look at books or read. They have to stay on their beds during book naps or else they lose the priviledge and have to take a sleeping nap instead. The beauty of this is that if they are tired, they fall asleep. Even if they don't sleep, I still get an hour of peace and quiet.

If they balk at taking a book nap, I simply remind them that the other choice is a sleeping nap. This almost always quells arguments.

Hope this helps! Tanya


Your child is certainly not too young to be giving up a nap and you will probably not be able to force your child to nap anymore, unless he tends to fall asleep in the car, in which case you could drive around in the car in the early afternoon and then transition him to the bed when you get home, if that works. At 3.3 with no nap, he could also probably go to bed a bit earlier. Mine at that age were going to sleep around 7:30.

My daughter gave up her nap completely the day she turned 3 and there was no going back, although she started really fighting the naps when she was 2.5 and I was in your position (8 months pregnant). I utterly panicked. Two things worked for me during those last few weeks of pregnancy when I needed to sleep and she was ambivalent about it: taking a nap with her, and letting her choose a tiny toy from a bunch of cheap stuff I bought at Mr. Mopps AFTER she took a nap. Good luck! anon


Ooooooo... I so remember that! Yes, that is a common age for no more naps. You are lucky you got it that long! With my older two it seemed like each time I got pregnant, they instantly stopped napping (they were 2 yrs and 2.3 yrs, respectively). You don't say when your child wakes up in the morning. You may try putting him to be a little earlier. All 3 of mine all transitioned to a 6:30-7 pm bedtime once we did away with the nap. I am pregnant again and my youngest is 3.5 yrs. He hasn't napped since December. I try to ''rest'' on the sofa while he plays on the floor or watches a video curled up next to me. Your child being in preschool will feel good for you. If you can swing the babysitter thing, I would definitely do it... especially when the baby comes and you are getting nearly no sleep. Good luck to you! BTDT
I hear ya' sister! When I was 8 months pregnant with my second, my son was 1 yr. 10 months, and had given up naps completely. I was running on fumes most of the time. But I'll tell you a little secret (that's bound to receive jeers from a lot of people out there): 1 hour of Sesame Street every weekday afternoon. I'm generally pretty anti-TV for the kiddies, and I really tried to heed all of those 'no TV before 2 years of age' studies, but I just needed that break at the end of the day. I'd sit on the couch with him and kind of doze off in between singing the alphabet and counting to the number of the day. These days, we've pretty much reverted back to our no- TV ways (my second is now 10 months).

And just one more thing: you'll be fine after the baby arrives. Forgive me if this is forward, but you sounded in your post as if you're worried in general about the possible chaos (and exhaustion) that will descend after #2 is born, as if this nap issue is just the harbinger of things to come. I felt the very same way, and I just could not imagine pulling it all off, the sheer logistics and balancing act of having 2. But it works out, it really does. Sure you'll be exhausted the first few months, but I'll tell you, give me a newborn over pregnancy any day - it's a much more forgiving kind of exhaustion! I promise you'll have more energy than you do now, even though it's hard to fathom, and even though things really are changing for you, you'll figure it out as you go. Remember to take care of yourself and your needs (can you budget for a sitter for just 1 morning a week?), and you'll be a great mommy of two. Good luck! Mama of Two


Consider this practice for the second child, LONG gone are the days of a 2 hour nap to recharge in the middle of the day - mine are 1 and 3 and I'm lucky if I can get my teeth brushed daily. Seriously though, my #1 started to drop her nap at 2, sounds like yours is doing the same, don't sweat it, seriously, you'll have a lot more to deal with very soon - good luck! tired mama, aren't we all?
My daughter also stopped napping when her younger sister was born - and what has worked well for us has been to have a ''rest time'' when she stays in bed and listens to stories on tape/CD. The CD/tape is the key. I found a series of sleepytime tapes that have stories and songs geared to bedtime - good for those days when she is tired enough to fall asleep. But even when she isn't, it gives me a set amount of time off (usually to work on the baby's nap.) Good luck! Annemarie Goslow
I would advise you to put him to bed earlier. He gave up a 2.5 hour nap but is only going to bed 1 hour earlier. Try putting him to bed at 7:30 and see what happens. He might like it.

My twins gave up their very solid 2-hour nap cold turkey when they were 3.9. I know many children who stopped earlier. Yes, it is a shock to not have that daytime break when they are sleeping, but for us, having them go to bed at 7:30 instead of 9:30 turned out to be much better. Also, it made days easier because we didn't have to plan activities around their nap. You will probably miss out on that benefit due to your infant, but the early bedtime is really a good thing.

Best of luck on your delivery. Kids need more sleep than we think


My daughter stopped napping right around her 3rd birthday, so yes, I do think it's the time that some kids stop napping. It's a big adjustment, especially if you need that down time, I know. I was also pregnant at the time. Maybe try some books on tape for that quiet time...perhaps that will keep him busy for a while. Otherwise, just get him down earlier at night and enjoy that down time instead...I know it's tough, but it's just another one of the many adjustments you'll make being a mom. Mom of 2
My advice, especially given your child's age: 1) go for mandatory (lovingly but firmly imposed) quiet time. My version of quiet time for my child was doing anything that didn't make noise or anything I wouldn't have to help with (I would help mildly but I explained that a rested Mama was a fun Mama, so quiet time was good for me, too). The only exception to the noise was that I allow stories on CD or tape (Magic Tree House were excellent, very engaging for my kid and it's the extreme engagement of these that probably held him)and would put the volume on low in my son's room. THen set him up with crayons, legos and a snack tray with a few different items and a drink( I know this sounds like a lot but it takes just a few minutes and was SOOO worth it!). Could also remind for a few months if getting repeated requests for help, ''Mama is in quiet time...happy to help you later''.

So, I made quiet time feel nourishing and cozy. He still enjoys it, and how good for kids to know how to take quiet time.

Sending light and love - -sister


Yes, it's a bummer when that nap starts to go! My son is 2 3/4 and he's already giving up his nap. And, yes, he is crankier in the afternoon now, but I figure if he can't fall asleep for a nap, that's not his fault. We still do/enforce quiet time every afternoon for 1.25 hours. Sometimes it's hard to keep him in his room. I keep putting him back in, sometimes holding the doorknob for stretches until he gives up trying to open the door, or until the 1.25 hours are up. I tried taking away his beloved pacifiers if he came out, but that wasn't enough of a deterrent. I think we've hit on the solution for us (it's been working for several days, so cross your fingers!): if he stays in his room and doesn't come out until we come get him, then he gets his TV viewing allotment that day; if he comes out during quiet time (other than for a poopy diaper), he looses his TV privileges for that day. Not as much rest for mom as a nap, but better than nothing!
I'm also 8 months pregnant and I too would be lost without a nap. We have a 2-year old and a 4-year old and they are both still in cribs. We might even be getting a third crib for the new baby because our older son *loves* sleeping in his crib (and has never climbed in or out of it, despite climbing in and out of his brother's for almost 2 years now) and it is a great way to enforce quiet time, even if it isn't nap time. He almost always takes a nap, but if he doesn't, he needs to stay in his crib until his CD is over. So at least I get a 50 minute nap.

His bedtime is about 9 because he sleeps during the day but it is worth it to me. On the days he doesn't nap, he goes down about 8.

Can you re-institute the crib, at least for naps? Put him down and tell him if he can't sleep he needs to at least rest as long as some soothing music plays and to call you to get him up when it is over? Tired too


I'm 7 months pregnant and I think I'd have to be hospitalized if my 2-year-old didn't nap every day. :-) My son just moved up to a big-boy bed for nighttime sleeping, and he won't nap in the new bed either. We still use the crib for his naps or (sigh) plan our outings so that he falls asleep in the car around naptime, and then move him to his bed. It's been working out well, and it doesn't seem to bother him to sleep in two places. Good luck! Mommy needs a nap too
Have you tried letting him nap with you, or cutting his naps from 2.5-3 hours to 1-2.5 hour? or have some quiet time with quiet play? That way he gets a nap in and isn't burned out by 4 but should give you some time to rest. If you could get him to lay down with you for a short time with you you could get some rest. He could color or draw and you could lay there and get off your feet? mother of a 3 hour napper
Your situation sounds pretty normal. My daughter dropped her nap a few months shy of her third birthday. It isn't fun to lose that block of time...but, some thoughts for you. *Turn quiet time into tv time. My kids watch two shows in the afternoon on noggin (50 minutes). They don't disturb me (tv goes off otherwise) and I get to relax, read, etc for a bit. *Start hitting the gym in the afternoon -- leave your child in the daycare at the gym. *start looking for an afternoon preschool. My 3 1/2 year old just started five afternoons a week at a local Montessori. She loves it (she is social...much more social than me) and I get my block of time back again as my elder daughter is in 'all day' kindergarten. -anon
I completely sympathize with how tired you must be. My son quit napping in his crib at 18 months. I finally was able to get him to take an afternoon nap by laying down with him in my bed. Once he was asleep, I could move out of the bed and do what I needed to do around the house without waking him up. Believe it or not, we made this arrangement work for 2 years! When I was pregnant with my second I just napped along side him, and even after the baby was born I was by some miracle always able to coordinate a time during the afternoon when we all took a nap together. Eventually he did go back to napping in his own bed for several months before he finally gave up the nap at 4 1/2. I know your son is older, but it might be worth a try. You might also start a little later in the afternoon when he is more tired, like 2 or 3. If that doesn't work, you could try driving him around until he dozes off. Good Luck

Not sure if 3 year old still needs a nap

August 2008

I'm not sure what do to about my almost-three-year-old daughter's nap. She still seems to need an afternoon nap - she falls asleep easily around 1:30 and will sleep for 2 hours or more. The problem is those nights she will be up until 9:30, 10 or later. The obvious solution is to wake her up after only an hour or 90 minute nap, but I find even after a short nap it's very hard for her to fall asleep at night. Is this an indicator that she's ready to give up her nap? Or should I work on more effective techniques of getting her to sleep at night? Thanks for your suggestions! Sarah


What time do you put your daughter down to bed? 9:30-10 is pretty late for a toddler. Even when my 3 1/2 year old naps (it's on and off these days), bedtime is 7-7:30. Any later and he gets wired and has trouble falling asleep. This could be your daughter's problem. Try an earlier bedtime while still keeping the nap. It's counterintuitive, but it works. Good luck
Sarah, I think that the transition from naps to no naps is very difficult for kids and for parents. I would maybe transition to setting a rest time. If there is a CD that your child can listen to during that rest time that is good. The rule can be the child stays in bed, can look at or ''read'' books, have a stuffed animal friend and have down time until the end of the CD (35-45 minutes or so). Sometimes the rest can be helpful so that they have enough energy through the rest of the day. This can allow the child takes a nap then they take a nap if they need to. Plus you get to have some rest time too. As far as the staying up... make sure that your child is getting enough exercise so that they will tire out earlier in the day or start setting that this is bedtime and that you will read to them and if they need to they can look at books to help them wind down. Just some suggestions. Blessings during this transition period. Nanny in the know
Yes, your three-year-old is ready to give up naps. My three-year-old was the same way--she would happily take a two-hour nap, but then couldn't get to sleep at bedtime. We cut off her naps and she started going to sleep at a reasonable hour again. It can get a little rocky in the late afternoons when they first give up napping, but they'll get over it. Good luck with the transition! Glad to be done with naps
My daughter, who is now nearly 4, stopped napping right around her third birthday. She goes to bed now between 7-7:30pm and sleeps until about that same time in the morning. I believe that's the key...12 hours of sleep total. So however it works out to get her those 12 hours is what you want to focus on. You may need to shift her gradually away from the nap...having her go down for that nap later and later and then just getting rid of it entirely. Hope that helps. Been there...
I can't wait to read what people have to say. I think this is a common issue at this age. My friends and I who have kids this age have all been having the same problem. My daughter just turned 3 and has been having the exact same issue for MONTHS. In her case, she frequently goes days where she won't take a nap (unless we were to let her fall asleep in the late afternoon, which we don't if we can help it); but even if she falls asleep earlier and sleeps for only and hour or hour and a half, she still won't fall asleep until much later in the evening (between 9 pm and 10 pm).

One thing that I have found can make a difference is EXERCISE. It is the one thing that will work, if we wear her out in the morning, and then get her worn out in the evening, she'll take a nap and still go to bed at a more reasonable time (between 8 and 9 pm). But that is something we rarely have the time to do, because we have to take her somewhere that we can really get her *in* to moving her body, and we have to make sure she spends a solid chunk of time doing it. Finding the time to do that twice a day, every day has proven to be more difficult that one might think. At least it has for us.

So, probably, more exercise would help. If you have the time and wherewithal, practice the Tired Puppy Principle of Child-rearing, and get that kid worn out! Mama of Another Night Owl


My son was the same until a few weeks ago. Napping 2-3 hours in the afternoon, not going to sleep until 9 or even 10 pm (even with an 8 pm ''bedtime''), up at 6 am. My doctor said it's up to me if I want the time in the evening or during the day--his sum of sleep is the same. I hated nights when he wouldn't sleep until 10 pm. It's just to late--for me!

So, we are in the midst of transitioning from one 2-3 hour nap per day to none. It is a long process. If we happen to be in the car in the afternoon, he will sleep. Sometimes, he'll fall asleep playing. One day, he fell asleep on the changing table in a poopy diaper! On the days he naps, he will not go to sleep until 9-10 pm. On days without naps, he's often a nightmare by 4-5 pm, but he is in bed by 7:30, and asleep by 8 pm. He's even getting up later in the mornings, too, sometime not until 8 am! It is a process, but it is getting better. The car naps are affecting his actual bedtime less and less, and he is able to keep it together better throughout the day. And now it's 9 pm and here I am, writing this post! miss the nap, but love the evenings more!


I remember this dilemma well for myself. My little guy (now 8) really, really needed a nap but the late night jazz was taking over the home, felt unbalanced. I had a lot of guilt about taking away the nap but I did - worked Great. And here's why: he still gets 11 hours a day and uses every bit of it well (goes to bed at 7:30 and wakes up 6:30). Funny that his behavior will be trying even if he misses 2 hours. Funny also that I see behavior problems in kids who get 8 hours of sleeep - it's just not enough for kids! I think we're all used to hearing ''8 hours'' for adults and try to apply it to kids....Hope I'm not getting off the point here. I''m trying to validate your good sense of the importance of sleep, encourage you to still insist on the combined hours of nap/nightime sleep and - give up the nap! It'll be a crabby transition for awhile but no worries. Family balance is as important to your child as having the nappy-poo. Good luck. sister
Try ditching the nap...it doesn't make for a super-fun late afternoon, but it is wonderful to have your evening free.

I have a 3 1/2 year old who ditched her nap a few months prior to turning 3. My story is the same as yours...even a 30-minute nap means that we get to discuss the finer point of Star Wars at midnight (why my husband ever showed her that movie is another point...perhaps HE should be discussing the colors of light sabers used by Yoda with her...).

The transition was difficult initially, but now I love it. She still naps on occasion (once a week or ten days) as does my elder daughter. I still get my nap/space -- quiet time includes 30-minutes of Noggin during which Mommy cannot be disturbed unless their is blood or fire involved. She is better at handling her tiredness at the end of the day...or perhaps she is just less tired. jan


Trouble weaning 3-year-old off naps for preschool

Feb 2008

Our daughter just got into an amazing preschool but they only had a spot in the afternoon program. She has been napping everyday for about 2-3 hours. we decided to try to wean her from her nap now since she is starting school in 2 weeks. She has been doing fine during the actual nap time, but falls apart in the evening. we are getting her to bed about 45 minutes earlier than before, but she is not sleeping in at all. After 6 days, she still has not made up for the lost sleep. She is cranky and tired and I feel like I may be making a huge mistake. I don't know if I should nap her the 4 days a week when she does not go to school. I am a stickler for a schedule and feel that napping off and on may be too confusing to her. Does anyone nap their child some days and not others? Does that work? Has anyone forced their 3 year old to stop napping? Did the child eventually make up for the lost sleep? How long did it take? By the way, my son shares a room with her at night, so he often wakes her up. We have to take this spot in the school and I know she will eventually drop her nap anyway...

I appreciate any and all advice on how to navigate this transition! Stressed-out mom to a cranky 3 year old!


My niece is 3.5 and still naps a few days a week. This has been her choice, and part of her natural process. She decides which days she wants to nap (with a little prodding from mom on the days she seems especially cranky), but is not forced to nap if she doesn't feel like it or the schedule doesn't work. She is a well-adjusted and happy child. I bet letting your daughter nap on non-school days would do a world of good! Good Luck
I would never ''force'' my happily napping child to not nap. Day time sleep is restorative for children's developing brains in ways that night time sleep is not. If they have an opening for afternoon, eventually they will have a morning one - you just have to wait - unless this is how they fill their pm slots - in which case I would question how ''amazing'' a school it is. Also, I assume you are in Berkeley/Oakland where there are many amazing schools. Some kids will nap well into their 5th year, and I recently read that trying to help kids nap until their 4th birthday is a good way to go. I'd skip on this preschool, have a well slept happy child & find another place. good luck
I'm not sure why you have to take this afternoon spot in preschool (as opposed to hiring a sitter to be with her while she naps, or something akin to that), but it sounds like dropping the nap isn't working. She'll drop the afternoon nap on her own time, but it sounds like she needs the sleep now. And now her sibling's nighttime sleep is being hampered as well. I suggest figuring out a schedule that accomodates her afternoon nap needs so that everyone gets the sleep they need. Anon

Suddenly won't take a nap anymore

Aug 2000

All of a sudden, my son does not want to take naps. He will fall asleep at the bottle and when I put him in his crib, he starts screaming bloody murder. Yesterday, I tried to put him down twice without success. He finally fell asleep while watching Sesame Street at 5pm. This has also happened in the evenings, he will wake up and not want to go back to sleep. He has slept well until this point, is this a developmental phase? Has anyone else experienced this with their child at this age? I would appreciate any type of feedback on this issue. Thanks, Angela


Since your son is a toddler, I suppose he's something like 2 to 3 years old? To paraphrase Dr. Spock, you can usually trust an infant to get the sleep he or she needs, but by the age of 2 you can't leave it all to him to decide. This is an age when some kids start giving up their naps -- there's a lot of variability here. Many kids do so by 3 - 4. Have there been any changes in his or the family's routine that might be upsetting him? Kids this age are much more aware of their environment, more subject to becoming keyed up by what they've been doing (or are anticipating), etc. What to do? I'd just be consistent, not make a big deal out of it and perhaps present it as "rest time" or "quiet time" rather than a "nap." Bear with it for a while. He will work probably work out a new natural rhythm after a bit. Snuggling with him until he is settled might help, but runs the risk of making you part of the relaxation pattern (especially if you stay till he falls asleep), which you may not want.

I'll tell you a story for fun. When our younger boy got to be this age we could not get him to go down for naps. But he always fell asleep in his car seat when we were out. Thus came to pass "sleepy rides." A pass or two up and down The Arlington from Marin Ave. to Kensington and he'd be out like a light. We took sleepy rides for a couple of years at least. It is now a fond memory. Good luck! Tim


With our infant daughter, we experienced a sudden change to crying fits every time we'd put her down to sleep. She'd fall asleep feeding, but as soon as we put her in bed she'd scream. It was a scream that expressed pain rather than the cry of frustration we'd heard many times before, and it seemed she couldn't get comfortable. It turned out she was suffering from an ear infection, and it was the pressure in her ears, especially when lying down, that was the cause. Rebecca
Re: Sleeping Tips for Naptime

I have two things I try that usually, between them, seem to work. The first thing I do is to lie down with my 3 year old and read her one or two short books. This calms her down a lot, so it's easier for her to go to sleep. I also turn on the radio (classical music) softly, when I leave the room. This works about 85% of the time.

If she is really insistent that she is not sleepy and doesn't want to take a nap, I work out a deal with her. I tell her that she has to lie still and quiet on her bed for 30 minutes. At the end of that time, if she has not fallen asleep, I will come back and let her get up. Knowing that she only has to lie still for a little while, and that she doesn't HAVE to go to sleep, helps her accept the deal. I do go check on her after about ten minutes to make sure she is sticking to her side of the bargain. Occasionally, at the end of 30 minutes of being quiet, she is still awake, so I let her get up. Most of the time, however, she is asleep. -- Caroline


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