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Trouble with Toddler's Naps (12-24 mos)

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Sleep > Naps > Trouble with Toddler's Naps


Questions, in order by age More Toddler Nap Topics Related Pages

12-month-old will NOT nap - I need a break!

Feb 2008

HELP!!!! My daughter has become an increasingly worse sleeper with time. She is 12 months old. I still have to rock her and breastfeed her to sleep and put her down in the crib dead asleep. Most nights, I have to rock her back to sleep at least once. We're working on that. But my true concern right now is NAPS. She won't take them! She is SOOOO tired which is surely contributing to night problems. The only way she falls asleep for naps is in the car. She used to nap well (45 min a.m. 2 hours p.m.) in the crib (and sleep 13 hours straight a night). Now however, I'll breastfeed her, she'll fall dead asleep, and then as soon as she touches the crib, she's JUMPS up as if she were faking it and stands in her crib and cries, no SCREAMS. No amount of patting, singing, rocking, or anything will get her back to sleep. Even if I try to give her the other breast, she won't return to sleep. I am a fulltime student working from home with no childcare provider and NEED those naps to get anything done. Any suggestions for parents that have overcome this? I am so desperate that I have left her crying in her crib for awhile while I cried and threw pillows in my room until I could get over the sense of helplessness, desperation, frustration, etc. Other than this my daughter is AMAZING and I am head over heels in love with her, but this is making life hard for everyone. Desperate mom


My daughter is the same age as yours and has some of the same falling to sleep associations. She nurses and if she's still awake after that, I put her in her baby carrier and we walk/bounce around her room until she falls asleep. I also have to wait until she's Really asleep (deeper breathing, zero fidgeting) before putting her in the crib. She also wakes up at least once (usually 2-3 times) during the night, which I think is pretty normal. If I'm not yet in bed, I nurse her and rock her back to sleep and return her to the crib. If I am in bed, she comes to bed, nurses, and falls back asleep. It sounds like you need to differentiate her nap routine from her going to bed for the night routine. We sing different songs for the nap, and of course, there aren't any baths or PJs before naptime. You could also try varying the time when you put her down for her nap. If I miss my daughter's tired ''window,'' then it is near impossible to get her to nap without going at it for an hour or more. Watch for signs and as soon as she's starting to get cranky, rubs her eyes, loses interest in what she's doing, or gets quiet, start the nap routine: fresh diaper, nurse, whatever. I like Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution book. She's has lots of suggestions and explains how babies' sleep pattern are so that you can work with them. I've also given her rescue remedy and a calm child herbal tincture I found at Elephant Pharmacy at times when she's been way overtired or fussy. They both help (you can take them too! Or just get some skullcap or make a cup of Chamomile tea). On the days when my daughter doesn't sleep well (few and far between, now) I find that it is essential to get out of the house, whether we go somewhere or just go for a walk. It makes both of us happier and more relaxed. Another thought--make sure she's not eating anything for breakfast that would make it hard for her to calm down and relax for her nap. When my daughter eats a lot of fruit early in the day, she gets a little sugar wired, even though it's natural. Good luck and remember, this too shall pass! been there
I understand your situation. My daughter never took naps unless i sat with her the entire time, this happens even now when she is with me, and she is two years old! The question you have to ask yourself is, what can i do to make her more comfortable? Have you tried nursing her in bed, and moved away carefully? That would sometimes work for me. If i had to get work done, and could not put her down I would do one of two things, when she was tiny I used a sling and typed, did research on the computer while she slept, or cooked while she was in the sling (although she got to be much bigger and then that did not work)2. Then I would just sit in one place with everything that I needed, and sat with my boppy pillow while I nursed her,typed on the computer and let her sleep. OR I would sit on the couch and read whatever needed to get read with her on the boppy pillow, which helped a lot. I used to get a good 3 hours of work done that way. Sometimes it is a good use of time to just catch up on your own need to rest. You will figure out a way that works for you, this happened to work for me. since my daughter had severe GERD she was constantly nursing, and I found that this was the only way to get anything done. I still use the boppy today =) Good luck, try whatever it takes; since both of you crying in separate rooms seems to be more stressful than just sitting with her for a half hour and letting her have a quickie nap. Gabriela

Is 12-month-old napping for too long?

Sept 2006

My 1-year old son likes to marathon nap...2-3 hours at a time. This seemed to work okay when he was younger and I guess needed more sleep, because he used to sleep through the night. Now, he wants to wake up for a bottle in the middle of the night and still take two 2+ hour naps during the day.

I hate to ''wake a sleeping baby'', but it seems that his daytime sleep is definitely affecting his nighttime sleep. My plan is to keep him from eating at all during the night. If he cries I let him cry for awhile and try to soothe him if he cries too long.

In the morning, if he is crying at 6 am, I am resisting the temptation to give him a bottle and go back to sleep (even though I desperately want to). Instead, we wake up go downstairs and have breakfast. I am trying to make him realize that bottletime/eating is for when we are awake. Am I being too harsh? Are my expectations too high? Diana


Hi We just got a better sense of what is ''normal'' for kids with our 15 month old who has been an erratic and light sleeper. We found all the answers to our questions in Weisbluth's book ''healthy sleep habits''. We had even consulted with a sleep specialist but the book was better at explaining the biology and medical research that relates to sleep from birth through school. I really highly recommend it. THere is a lot of attention to napping and bed times for kids in the book, hope it helps you anon
Our (now 2.5 year old) boy used to do just the same thing you have described: he would nap for 3 or more hours during the day and then ask for the bottle a couple of times during the night.

Although our pediatrician adviced us against bottle-feeding at night (I guess because the baby has to learn how to put himself back to sleep by himself), frankly, we resisted doing that for some time, as we both were too tired to have battles with our son when we could sleep - both me and my husband work full- time. Fortunately, this turned out quite well, as our son has gradually stopped asking for a bottle - by the age of 1.5 he slept through the night. Maybe, your son is just not ready yet and if you let him have his bottle for another couple of months, he will stop needing it, as our son did?

In regards to nap time - my son still sleeps 3 to 4 hours in a row during the day, and i think that it is normal. He wakes up around 7 am and goes to bed at 9:30 pm, so as far as I can see, his nap doesn't disrupt his schedule. Hope that helps. Good luck with your son! anon


Once babies get into a great sleep pattern, they go ahead and throw a wrench in the works, don't they. My thoughts -- try to start consolodiating his naps into one a day. The books say 18 months, but my girls did it at 11 months and 14 months. That seems to be the normal range in the group that my kids run with...That may help with the night waking.

I would ignore the middle of the night waking. It will go away soon. The 6 a.m. thing is tough. I started getting up at 6 with my older daughter when she would wake up. This lasted for a few miserable months until she shifted into a good three hour afternoon nap and 12-hour 7 to 7 routine. With baby 2, I would throw a sippy cup in the crib at 5 when my daughter woke up and head back to bed. I'd hear from her again at 8. Again that lasted for a few months and now she (at 18 months) is on the same three hour afternoon nap 7 to 7 (and sometimes 8 - yee-haw!) routine. For both it took a few months to transition. But it was worth it. jan


Tired 15-month-old won't nap

April 2006

Help! I've scanned the archives but am not seeing much about this situation. My 15-month-old is still solidly needing 2 naps a day, but has been fighting sleep more and more for 3-4 months now--bed-time, nap-time, whatever. Nap-time is particularly difficult: she'll have circles under her eyes, too crabby to play or read, and she'll sometimes go down for 20 minutes of quiet rest, and then she's singing and dancing in her crib for the rest of her hour (non)naptime, pitching her blankets and toys out, anything to stay awake--but never actually sleeps. She won't sleep in the car, and often does the dancing routine at night, as well. Once she IS asleep, she is out for an hour in the morning and often two in the afternoon.

I try to follow a schedule, but she has never been predictable like some kids: I aim for 10 a.m. and 2:30-3:00p.m., but she often is already fussy and tired by 9 a.m., and that throws off the afternoon nap, too. She is put to bed about 6:30 p.m., up between 5:30 and 6:45 a.m.--going down earlier has not helped, and if we do put her down earlier she also won't see her other parent except on weekends. We've tried going in to put her back down every 10-15 minutes, we've tried just leaving her to dance and fuss for the hour, nothing seems to get her to go to sleep sooner, except waiting her out for over an hour until she gives up and sleeps. And leaving her in her crib for more than an hour, twice a day, seems unreasonable and mean. Yet, without the naps she is too tired to play or do anything but watch the TV--which isn't acceptable to us.

One problem with this is that it seems the entire day is spent either eating or refusing to nap, without nearly enough playtime. But she doesn't get much quality playtime when she's tired, fussy and crabby either.

Any suggestions? Do I just wait her out every day, let her up after 20 minutes and put her back down again when she fusses out less than an hour later, give up on schedules and wait until she is unbearable, follow a rigid schedule? And, does anyone know if this might be related to the sensory integration issues that she is already getting OT for? frustrated


The naps seem too late--she's tired at 9, and 9 and 1 are standard nap times, anyway (Weissbluth ''Healthy Sleep Habits''), so why wait til 10? As long as she still needs two naps, I'd push them earlier. On the other hand, if the morning nap turns into a play session, I'd consider making the switch to one nap. Weissbluth also says morning naps disappear between months 16-21, so you're probably in for a schedule change soon anyway. You could stretch her morning awake time so the morning nap starts at 10:30 one day, then over a few days 11, then 11:30, so gradually you've got a solid nap starting between 12 and 1. sleepy
I am curious what has you convinced that your 15 month old still needs two naps, other than being tired? I am also curious what kind of play she is usually engaging in. I have a toddler not much older than yours who is extremely active and fights sleep too, sometimes, which is common for any toddler. The thing that makes the biggest difference is making sure that he has A LOT of time outdoors, not in the stroller, but running freely (crawling or whatever she does is fine!)..outdoors seems to be especially good for getting to sleep and sleeping soundly later, but running around anyplace outside the house works as well if it's rainy (Barnes & Noble kids section/train table, Hilltop mall, Target, Gymboree classs, etc.!) I wouldn't recommend this be too close to bedtime, but being outside most of the morning or afternoon when it's nice out will probably make a big difference. When my son is cranky and seems tired, he often really is just bored, I have found, and needs to get out of the house, and also needs to do something fun with me (which usually means a very active game together, playing ball or chasing, or climbing). Don't underestimate how much time your baby needs roaming on her own, without being pushed in a stroller or carried. Most of all I would suggest dramatically increasing how much time she spends outdoors (and it's the perfect season to do this!) and I bet it will make a difference. By the way, my son transitioned to one nap a day around your son's age, and started napping around 12 or 1, which now is more like 1 or 2 at almost 18 months (for 1.5 to 2 hours or so), and he has been going to sleep around 7, now it's changed to 8 since the time changed, and wakes at 6:30 or so. I'm sure you'll get lots of great advice! I hope this helps. B - Meet us at the park to play! : )
it sounds like it is the age where many children move to one nap a day. if you drop the morning nap and push her to about noon for the afternoon nap this may help. but you may need to move bedtime a little earlier (the other parent may suffer for a time but it is better for the child) until nap-time is re-established. and follow a schedule! you are hurting her and yourself if you don't. this is advice from weissbluth's, ''healthy sleep habits, happy child.'' look at it if you need more help. anon

18 month old suddenly stopped napping

August 2005

My 18 month old son has always been a good napper,especially after transitioning to 1 nap a day at 15 month. He used to fall asleep on my chest while we were both lying on my bed and I would move him carefully after 10 minutes or so. He would then sleep for about 2 hours, from 12 till 2pm. Because I'm 6 month pregnant it has become very uncomfortable for me to lie on my back He also took longer and longer to fall asleep that way -- I guess it was not very comfortable for him either anymore.

I decided to put him down in his crib for napping (after darkening the room together, sitting in the rocking chair and singing a pecial nap-song). It worked twice - 10 days ago- and since then he screams bloody murder every time I put him down. He sometimes quiets down after I leave the room and plays, but never for very long before he starts screaming again. I have also tried to put him down after he is asleep (some rare occasions when he fell asleep in the car and I carried him to his crib), but he wakes up and cries.

To give some more background: We had a hard time to get him to sleep by himself at night -- he needed to be rocked and held till asleep, but finally learned it and has been sleeping from 7:30 till 7 almost every night since 4 month. We used the sleep-ladies method (having him cry, but being in the room at first and moving further away from his bed every night till finally leaving the room. Took about 4 weeks.) I have tried the same training for napping, but he gets even more upset with me in the room (which wasn't the case at night). Going in every 10 minutes helps a little -- he doesn't get as hysterial, but still cries and screams for the entire hour I have him stay in the crib. Most days I end up driving him around in the car afterwards. Even then he takes 30 minutes to fall asleep, sometimes doesn't and always wakes up after 30-40 minutes. If I wouldn't do the driving it would mess up his night sleep(been there). He is cranky all afternoon and I'm sure he still needs to nap at his age. But on the other hand he doesn't show signs of tiredness before naptime as he used to do which makes it hard for me to determine a good time to put him down -- I have tried earlier and later as the time that used to work... Any advice on that would be greatly appreciated since I'm totally clueless what's going on. mother of a ex-good napper


Hi! It seems like you son is too tired to nap, believe it or not. Babies who resist napping and nap too briefly usely are. I think it's because when he switched from one to two naps his bedtime should have been moved up earlier. Now he is suffering from accumilated sleep deficit. Try having a temporarily earlier bedtime, 5:30pm, for four or five nights. This helps him catch up on sleep, wake up better rested and fall asleep earlier. You know how sometimes you are so tired it's really hard to fall asleep, same case with your son. Also try extra long soothing before naps. Also you might have to stop checking in on him, he's probably old enough that he's learned you keep checking and eventually pick him up. I know it's hard but think how much happier he'll be when he's napping better! You might want to get Weissbluth's 'healthy sleep habits, happy child', it has really helped me with all my daughters sleep issues at different ages. Good luck! mommy who's been there

20-month-old refuses to nap

Nov 2006

My 20-month-old son is increasingly refusing to nap. He normally naps from about 12-2 each day, but lately downright refuses. Its not because he doesn't need the nap anymore - right about noon he starts getting cranky and visibly tired. I feel like I've tried everything - from waiting a few more hours until he's *really* sleepy to sticking to a routine for nap (lunch, then milk, then bed, a few books, night night; if he gets up, put him back down, if he gets up, put him back down, etc. - the longest I tried this was for FOUR HOURS and he never gave up) to forgoing nap altogether and even once closing him in his room (thought of it as a ''huge crib'') which was a very big mistake (he went ballistic with panic). However nothing works. He refuses. Cries, jumps up, plays, gets off the bed without end, etc. I wouldn't worry so much about this if it weren't that: (1) he does get really cranky, throws tantrums, and is generally obnoxious to be around because he's tired and (2) if I just go ahead and take him with me to continue my errands for the day, he inevitably falls asleep the moment I get to my destination. Only to have me turn around and go back home for him to wake up the second we arrive back home and once again refuse to sleep!! Friends have suggested I use the car to get him to fall asleep, since its the one sure- fire thing. However, I don't want to because I don't want him to get into that habit, and secondly, I'd have to drive all two hours for this to work because once I stop the car, he's up again, regardless if its been 10 minutes or two hours. I'm at my wits end. He basically stays cranky (on and off) until bedtime, 8 HOURS later. And it also means I don't get much done after 12pm because I'm so actively dealing with this nap thing. Help!!! Frustrated Mommy


First of all, don't panic. It is pretty normal for kids to get into phases like this and it doesn't mean that your child will never nap again. My son had periods of a month or two when he refused all naps and then really wanted them again. Sometimes he would never sleep in the crib but only in a car or stroller, but then he would go back to napping in the crib. So one approach is just tough it out and see if it improves.

If not, you have two choices:

1. Give up trying to make the child nap. Put him to bed at 6 p.m. Yes, it is tragic to be without your afternoon downtime, and the late in the day crankiness is horrible but you can do it. And if you make that decision, and stick to it, it will be easier than every day trying to make the nap happen and it failing. It just becomes your routine and you and your child will adjust to it.

2. Give in to not napping in the crib. How about a stroller? If your kid will nap in the stroller, it means you can use that time to exercise, much better than just driving for hours. You can use it to run simple errands that are in walking distance - return library books, pick up milk, etc. If you don't have that near you, you can drive to a central location, get out the stroller and walk around.

Or just give your kid 30 minutes of sleep while driving around, enough rest to get them through the rest of the day without too much melting down, and then put them to bed early.

All kids are different. Not all kids take those beautiful two hour naps every afternoon like clockwork. My two kids couldn't be more different in terms of napping - a long term battle with my son, my daughter just climbs in her bed and goes to sleep without protest I feel your pain


As hard as it might be to come to terms with, he might just not need to nap any more. My son went through the same thing around that age. I did try the car thing to get him to sleep and would park in the driveway, and even that stopped working after a couple of weeks. It's like when they transitioned from 2 naps/day to 1/day, they get cranky. When we could get him to nap, it started getting harder to get him to bed in the evening. The only thing we found that helped was to get him to bed earlier in the evening, and to do ''quiet time'' mid-day. This means playing quietly by himself in his room for a set period of time or some times I'll even just put on a short video to get him to lay down on the couch and take a break. I also make sure he's getting a good snack around this time so his blood sugar doesn't drop and make him even more cranky. anon
We had a similar situation. Once we took away the bottle at age 2.5, our daughter never took another nap (and yet needed it desparately). We ended up saying, you don't have to nap, but you do have to stay on your bed until the buzzer goes off. I put lots of toys and books on the bed and turned on quiet soothing music. She kept getting up and we eventually put up one of those baby gates across her door. She could see out and after the initial crying and screaming (and you have to stop interacting and talking to them) she decided to entertain herself on the bed. At first I set the timer for 10 minutes and gradually worked up to an hour. While she didn't sleep, at least it provided a stopping point in her day where she could regroup. Another idea - when you do send him to preschool they will make him rest in the afternoon as well. Maybe you could find an afternoon-only program. : ) anon

20-month-old Giving Up Nap?

Sept 2002

When do most kids give up on napping? My 20 month old daughter frequently will not nap. I do everything possible to encourage her to nap: I nurse her, drive her around endlessly (this used to be foolproof), make sure she doesn't oversleep in the morning, and give her filling snacks. There is no obvious physical reason for her not napping, though there have been some changes in our routine. We moved her into her own crib and room a month ago and I've had a (seemingly) drastic decrease in my milk supply. She does, frequently, seem tired and gets really cranky and tries to fall asleep a couple of hours before bedtime. Has this happened to anyone? What did you do? Could she be giving up on napping at this age? I'm really going crazy. Her nap time is one of the few times I get to rest. Molly G


Your daughter still needs and wants a nap. I think what is going on is that the foolproof methods of inducing sleep in an infant, such as the soothing motion of the car, stop working for a toddler/preschooler. Start thinking more about helping her fall asleep the way you fall asleep. After a meal, have a quiet activity, darken the room, read a book or two, put her in bed, rub her back, talk to her or sing a little, tell her what you will do after she has a nap. Tell her she doesn't have to sleep, but she needs to close her eyes and rest. Good luck. My 42-month old is still napping, so it can be done! Fran
You might want to review the sleep book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. It has been recommended here before and is my favorite resource for sleep questions regarding babies through teens. I am sure he can give you guidance on this issue and others as they arise. Laura Yerkovich
My daughter gave up her nap quite early. We made her bedtime earlier. Also, we have a quiet time for at least half an hour in the afternoon, which means reading or drawing, no running, etc. Joan
My 18 month old boy frequently doesn't nap either, which seems crazy to me, but he also doesn't seem too adversely affected by it. He's never been real positive about the whole sleep thing - he's way too excited about what he might be missing. The trade-off is that on the days he skips his nap he's more likely to go to sleep easily in the evenings, like 7:30 or 8:00 instead of 8:30 or 9:00. And he's up by 7:30 or 8:00 usually. His doc says he's ''active'' and just doesn't need as much sleep. We definitely try for a quiet time, like right now, for instance, when he sits in his crib reading books or playing with small toys while I get some chores done [I'll be paying my bills in a minute!]. It resolves a little of my dilemna regarding when else to do that kind of stuff. Jean

20-month-old will not nap in new twin bed

Sept 2005

We just got a twin bed for our daughter, who is almost 20 months old. She'd been in a crib since she was 4.5 months old (after co-sleeping with us for her earliest months), and has been in her own room in the crib since she was 6 months old. She's been sleeping through the night and napping well in the crib consistently since she was about 12 or so months old.

But she'd started to get too big for the crib, and occasionally waking up at night without being able to get back to sleep on her own (unusual for her) without coming into our bed or having one of us rock her on the rocking chair (tiring in the middle of the night). We decided it was time for the bigger bed, and that if she did wake up, at least one of us could lie down next to her to help her back to sleep (believe me, I spent several waking nights with her wondering if I could crawl into her crib without breaking it...)

For the past 4 nights, she has been going to sleep at night in her bed right away, and sleeping through the night happily. But NAPTIME is a different story... She seems to think it's ''free play in her room'' time instead, because she can get out of her new bed easily. I don't like the idea that the only way she had been able to nap well until now was because she was ''trapped'' in her crib and had no other choice - and we don't want to bring the crib back just because then she'll have no choice but to sleep. We read her millions of stories at naptime, which is after a good lunch, and even lie next to her in her bed while reading. Then we tell her it's naptime and time to sleep, and we leave her room and close the door. But most of the time she lies down quietly for a few minutes then starts playing again around her room.

What to do? Did we move her to a big bed too soon? We really don't want to bring the crib back, especially since she's sleeping so well at night in her new bed. Are there special ways to teach a child to nap in a bed they can get out of on their own? Is there an age where they just get this, and naptime becomes easier? Should we put her down earlier and then just let her play until she decides she's tired and goes to sleep? Will she, or will she just play for 2 hours?

I would love any suggestions. Thanks. incredibly patient mama


What's worked for us is giving our 3-year-old daughter a choice between napping and having quiet play time in her room. If she chooses quiet time, she knows that she is also choosing to go to bed immediately after dinner to make up her lost sleep. This means no bath, no playtime, and most importantly, no stories before bed. She has only chosen quiet time a handful of times. (Tomorrow, of course, all this may change.) I guess I should add that she's a kid who clearly needs and benefits from a daily nap, which doesn't seem true of many of her friends. Good luck. nap fan

Big-girl bed arrives, 20-m-o's naps disappear - Help!

Nov 2004

My daughter is 20 months old and is now in the Big-Girl Bed, as her brother has arrived and will soon be taking the crib. Bedtime has been a bit challenging, as she will get out of bed and play for awhile before finally climbing back into the bed and falling asleep. Naptimes, however, are a disaster, as she cannot seem to settle herself down and will not sleep unless I put her back in the crib. There was only one post in the archive that spoke to this, and giving up naps is not an option, as she still needs them (and so do I!). She likes the big bed, but would rather play than sleep. We desperately need to work this out, as my son is now 3 months and I will be sleeping in her room as soon as we can figure out how to get them both the sleep they need. How have others made this transition? Are there tricks or techniques? Specific disciplinary actions that are appropriate at this age? Do we just resign ourselves to two cribs? I'm either too tired or too frustrated to be creative anymore and could use some help. Erin


One thing that has always helped settle my kids into their beds is to put a hot water bottle down under the covers where the cold little tootsies go. They love to get their feet on it, and it starts to relax them, and then boom! they are asleep. Can't hurt. And at ages 9 and 11, they still love it on a cold night - or when they have a sore tummy - so we have about 3 in our house. hope it helps. Nancy
We had a similar situation when my youngest son came along. I told my older son (who would not nap in the big boy bed) that he'd have to nap in the crib until he could learn to nap in his new bed. He didn't like it, but he at least napped when I put him in the crib. Eventually, after several false starts, he started sleeping in his big boy bed, but shortly after that gave up his naps all together. In the mean time, I put the baby down in a porta-crib until the big crib was vacated. It worked for everyone. My youngest didn't know the difference, and my older one took the time he needed to learn how to nap in the big boy bed. Good luck! Nicole Radlow
You are right that 20 mos. is way to young to give up naps and I think you've answered your own question. Get another crib, after all she is not really a ''big girl'' anyway. Don't take her out of her crib because a new baby is coming. Put the big girl bed away until she is climbing out of the crib and no longer safe. You will be grateful that you did. anon
My son stopped napping when we got rid of the crib, too. However, I kept the crib until he was 3 and a half (and he is a BIG kid, too). I'd get a second crib for the new baby - can you borrow one from someone for a year? Give her her crib back and keep on napping! Fran
I also experienced the shock of this transition you're referring to. We followed a friend's suggestion to put a gate on our daughter's door at nap time so that even if she couldn't sleep, she could stay and play quietly in her own room. Some days I deperately need the break, especially since I teach night school. This has worked well. Now she's used to the routine, and we often don't use the gate at all. She's rather indifferent to it most of the time (I felt bad to put it up, but my exhaustion factor got me over that fast.) On days when she really doesn't want to stay in, she has knocked the gate over, so we adjust from there (like maybe no nap that day, or try again after another activity). What I've learned is, you can't make anybody sleep. But you can create a quiet atmosphere that encourages sleep, or at least lets a toddler wind down. Her quiet play in her own room has often turned into a voluntary nap (especially when we've seen signs that she's tired). Hope this helps. Barbara
I will soon be facing a similar situation and have been soliciting advice. Some friends have gone the two crib route, but like you, I have no desire to do the two crib thing. The best suggestions that I have heard are to use a pack and play for my daughters naps and turn the crib over to baby #2 for naps/bedtime or, keep my daughter in the crib full time until she is 2 or 2 1/2 and just have baby #2 sleep in the pack and play until then. -heading your way
The exact same thing happened to us. My daughter was 20 months old when we had to move her to a bed to free up the crib for the 2nd baby. She also wouldn't take a nap in her bed and would just play. We ended up putting her to sleep in a playyard that we set up in our bedroom... worked great. In fact, she seemed to find it comforting again to be in a cozy space. She stayed there for naps until she was 3 or so and was potty-training for naps and needed to be able to get up to use the potty. We moved her back to her bed for naps at that point and she will nap there now on most days. Good luck. roxanne
Personally, I would reconsider moving a 20 mo. old to a bed. Your baby could sleep in a pack and play if you really don't want to buy a second crib (what about a second hand crib?). It seems worth it to save the hassle. Twenty months is young for the freedom of a big bed. When my nearly 3 year old moved to a big bed, he gave up naps that day. If I'd have known, I might have put my younger one in a pack and play for a bit and waited it out. The older sib. has suffered from not having a nap, but he just wouldn't do it without the structure of a crib. Good luck! sabrina
When our son was 2 1/2, he slept in a ''big-boy'' bed for exactly one week before we gave up and put him back in his crib. He just wasn't ready. Like your daughter, he still needed to nap but got so excited by the freedom of his new bed that his naptimes turned into glorified playtimes. I think my husband and I were more disappointed than our son -- he only asked a handful of times what happened to his bed, and once we got him back in his crib, he reverted back to being a great napper. Like you, we thought that we needed to move him into a bed so that we could give his crib to his baby sister, not to mention that a lot of his friends were starting to transition into beds. We ended up buying a second crib for our daughter, we have had two cribs now for over a year. We ended up purchasing a good-quality used crib from Child's Play in Rockridge and then bought a new mattress. Our son is now 3 1/2 and is finally ready to make the move -- he has been dropping his naps pretty consistently, and has been asking for a bed for the past couple of months. I think that you should consider what is best for your daughter -- the fact that she still needs to nap and that she cannot do so in a bed. Good luck! Been There
What worked for us was to buy one of those cheap IKEA ''bed- tents'' and install it in his bed (it didn't fit nicely, but!). We then spent time ''camping'' with our toddler, reading stories, telling him stories about the stars in the tent... and just making a big deal out of it. He started taking some naps in there (but we didnt' force it) and little by little he got more and more into the bed and by the end of 2-3 weeks he was happily napping and sleeping on it. Now we have to convince the baby to leave our room and join his brother :=) E.
You should just resign yourself to two cribs. Some experts say that many children need the security of a crib until age three, some even until age four. At less than two years old-it just seems way too young. I waited until my daughters wanted to sleep in a bed (about two 1/2 for both of them) and it made the transition a lot easier. Zilla

21-month-old wakes in the middle of 2-hour nap

Dec 2007

My 21 month-old daughter takes a nap everyday about 11:30 am. She sleeps heavily for exactly one hour and wakes up. I go in and have to rock her back to sleep and ever so gently lay her down again. This usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes. She will then sleep another 45 to 60 min. This ''routine'' has been going on for about 4 months, probably longer. Is this common? Does anyone have some recommendations on how to help her sleep the whole time? (We are ''attached'' parents and are not partial to CIO methods.) She usually sleeps pretty well at night. Help! grumpy mom needs a break


My daughter did the same thing, only she would wake up after the 1st 45 min. What helped was to stand near her right before her ususal wake up time (bring a book or ipod). Then, as soon as she began to stir, I'd pat and shush her or jiggle the crib or stroller. Usually this would get her back to sleep within a minute. If not, we'd do the ususal rocking, nursing. The goal was to prevent her from fully awakening if possible. After what seemed like a long while (many weeks) she finally began to sleep continuously for 2 hours. I think I got this idea from Elizabeth Pantley's book, the no-cry sleep solution--a good non-cio sleep resource. Good luck to you! I remember how frustrated I was about this before I found a good solition. long napper's mom

22-month-old won't nap 12-2pm anymore

May 2010

All of a sudden my 22 month old son's naps have pushed out from 12:00 to 2 PM. Which is screwing up our nighttime routine. I have put him to bed at 9:40 for the last four nights. UGH. I don't know if it's because his 2 year molars are coming in or what!? Normally he gets up at 7:00 a.m., naps at 12-12:30 until 2:30, and then goes to bed at 8 p.m. He does not appear to be sick, but he is definitely teething. How do I get him back on track. I am so wiped out. Help! Frustrated Mama


What's happening from 12 to 2 right now? Are you spending that whole time trying to get him down for a nap? I would find that frustrating and not worth the work, and time to find a new normal. Maybe he's ready to give up the nap, at least on a daily basis? My younger child stopped napping--daily napping--well before 2 years old. You can try instituting ''quiet time'' in place of the old nap time. Maybe make the rule that he has to stay in his room from 12-1, but he doesn't have to nap if he doesn't want to. Just so you can get a break during the day. That worked with my older one when he outgrew napping (but he was older at the time, might be hard for a not-yet-two-year-old). Or let the nap be at 2:00 if that's what makes sense for your toddler's body, but limit the length of it so that it doesn't affect bed time?

22-month-old sleeps in toddler bed but won't nap there

October 2002

My 22month old son is now too big for his crib, and has even started climbing out of his playpen, so we've transferred him for the second time to a toddler bed. He'll sleep in it at night, after playing in his room with the door closed for a while. He just puts himself back in it and generally goes to sleep. The problem is he won't nap anymore. I put him in it and try to relax him with stories and songs, but as soon as the door closes he's off trotting aroung the room, climbing on things and playing. He doesn't cry but I worry about him getting in trouble. This wouldn't be such a big deal if I wasn't 7months pregnant, and desperate for a nap myself, plus very worried about when the new baby arrives. Any advice would be MUCH appreciated. Tired and desperate


I was in your same situation at the beginning of this year, so I really feel for you. Unfortunately, the end of my second pregnancy coincided with my then two-year-old giving up her nap. I thought if I let her sleep in her crib again, then that would help, but she would just climb out and tear her room apart. Bribes (i.e., a promised trip to the park if she would play quietly in her room) didn't work either. The only way I could get any rest was to have a babysitter come over or drop her off at a friend's house. And once in a while (maybe 25 percent of the time) she'd fall asleep in the car after a long drive. I would just nap in the car as well--she'd wake up if I brought her in the house. I'm sorry that I don't have a magic cure for you. The only consolation I can give you is that I actually felt better and less tired after the new baby arrived...pregnancy was more of a drain on my energy than a second child! And no, my daughter has not resumed napping. Good luck. not as tired anymore
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