Q&A: nap refusal

Anonymous writes:

"So my 3-year-old daughter has been not wanting to nap for the last couple of months, but
usually we make her at least lie down and 50 percent of the time she'll
fall asleep anyway. She does need the nap, because she is an absolute
bear by 4 pm if she doesn't nap. But now it's even worse because the
past week or two she isn't napping AT ALL, plus we can't seem to get
her to sleep before 8 pm, plus she's been waking up at 6:30 or 7
instead of her usual 8 am. And I've seen a bunch of FB status updates from
people with kids around the same age suddenly not wanting to nap
either. I know a lot of those kids are probably just dropping their
nap, but do you suppose there's a seasonal aspect to all these kids
suddenly not wanting to sleep at once?"

Back when I was taking Driver's Ed classes in high school, one of the many cautionary films we had to watch was called "The Final Factor." The theme of the movie was that you could deal with one distraction (like listening to the radio), or maybe two distractions (listening to the radio PLUS talking to your friend in the passenger seat), or maybe even three distractions (listening to the radio plus talking to your friend in the passenger seat PLUS rain), but there would be that one final factor that would push you over the edge into a Horrible Accident (in the movie, an animal ran across the road in front of the car, which then crashed into a tree).

I think this phase of nap refusal is yet another situation to which the Final Factor paradigm applies. Many kids this age are flirting with giving up a nap or switching the time of a nap. If everything else continues as it is they might keep going. If something changes radically, they might give it up, or start needing it more intensely. (It seems like kids who are flirting with giving up the nap right when they start preschool or another way of spending time during the daytime often dig back into the naps, although maybe at a different time of day.)

So there's that factor, that this tends to be a dodgy time for napping anyway. But let's add in the weather change, with cold then warm then the Snowtorious B.I.G. then warm then "snow hurricanes" then warm enough for open-toes shoes and iced coffee (holla) and probably cold again tomorrow. That's disturbing. I know lots of adults who have been having sleep problems, so it's got to be worse for kids.

Another factor is probably the light. Not only is is lighter both earlier and later than it was a month ago, but the quality of the light is different all day long. I can remember going to visit relatives in central Norway the summer I was 5, and just how weird and disorienting it was all day long because the light was so different from what I was used to in the US, and how much trouble I had sleeping.

Any given kid might be able to nap through one, or two, or even three of these factors. But….What will be…The Final Factor?

And now we're going into the time change this weekend. What's going to happen? Your guess is as good as mine. But I'm wondering if we can gather some data points. So can you please pay attention, over the next week, to what happens to your kid's daytime and nighttime sleep? And then next week I'll put up a post asking you to list what happened? It would be awesome if we could do this in an organized way for 3 years+ of time changes, and then look at the data points and see if there are patterns.

What say you now, before we observe the weekend change?

51 thoughts on “Q&A: nap refusal”

  1. I’m in! We have another couple of weeks before we change the clocks here, so don’t forgot those of us outside the US.I’d be curious to know exactly how old Anon’s kid is. If she is closer to 3.5 it could be the start of the 3.5 year sleep regression. Also, I noticed for the first time when my son was 3 and 2 months more or less (this time 2 years ago), that his sleep went down the tube. At ngiht he would actually go to bed ok, but around 2.am he was up fooling around in the bathroom and up earlier than usual. He was having a harder time napping too but he was at kinder so not. my. problem. It lasted about 6 weeks. NOw, my daughter who was born at the same time and is now 3 and 2 months, is doing the same thing. Today she didn’t nap and last night she was up a couple of times in the bathroom.
    Anyway, my kid(s) was(are) probably going thru some kind of sleep regression. Although it is definitely getting lighter here in the mornings to, absolutely no light can get thru the shutters we have on our windows, so that wouldn’t be affecting my two.
    I would perserve though. I have been fooled many times into thinking my kids were done napping, then lo and behold they went back to sleeping like little champs everytime. My 5 year old still naps 1.5 hours when he is home and then off to sleep at 8.00 ( but then he is a freak that way)

  2. ‘Snowtorious B.I.G.’ hahaha!I was tempted just to jump in and say the kid is probably done napping at 3 (mine dropped his at 2, it was a sad time, but good to get my evenings back!) but having read Paola’s comment I’m not so sore…still napping at 5…that is an absolute miracle!! anyway I just wanted to say that a few friends and I at our toddler group (in the UK) noted this week that all our kids are waking up uncharacteristically early (explaining why we were all a bit comatose!) so I am sure there is something about the change of season..!

  3. I’m in as well. I am flying solo this weekend due to my spouse being on a guys trip to Vegas, gosh I’m so *glad* he gets to do something fun like that!! I love the Final Factor! We’ve been having changes but then again he is just shy of 18 mths and you all know what that means. DS is also cutting a gigantic molar and he is a very sensitive teether and wakes 3-6 times per night currently. 3 times before midnight last night if you don’t mind listening to me complain… sigh.I look forward to hearing everyones updates!

  4. Elizabeth, good luck this weekend.My 3 yr old has been waking up at 5 this week because (I think) of the birds singing outside his window. He did this last spring too. And overall he just doesn’t sleep as much in the spring and summer.
    He only naps three days a week when he is at daycare.

  5. I can tell you that I have been sleeping absolutely terribly for several weeks now… up til 2,3,4, even 5 am. I am blaming stress and anxiety but I think the weather changes and light changes are part of it too.

  6. I’ll try to pay attention to what happens, but we have a pretty big confounding factor here, in that we’re all getting over colds.On 3 y.o. naps- my almost 3 y.o. is pretty much ready to give up her nap now, but keeps napping at day care. I haven’t figured out what, if anything, to do about that.
    But for several months, she has still needed the nap on weekends, but fought it. We used a trick my Mom used to use on us (and that her Mom used on her and her 6 (!!!) brothers). “The birdie” comes during nap time and leaves a treat (a few m&ms or chocolate chips, or a gummy worm). Now Pumpkin wants to nap even when she doesn’t really need it. So we’re having the birdie come during “quiet time”, too.
    We still had struggle getting her to sleep during that period- we usually had to drive her or walk her to do it. But the lure of the birdie made it so she would at least let us try and not refuse to go for a walk. Sometimes. Sometimes, she still refused.

  7. The only movie (which was a real, reel-to-reel movie) I remember from Drivers’ Ed is “Sharing the Road with Big Rigs”. It comes in handy all-the-time.And I have advice about “forcing the nap”. Don’t you need to do some errand (like drop a letter in the mail box at the Post Office two towns over) at nap time tomorrow by driving in the car?
    They can have my incandescent bulbs and make me wear a sweater in the 64-degree house and compost my kitchen scraps and wash all my dirty clothes in cold water, but I refuse to give up the occasional car nap. My sanity is worth the carbon footprint sometimes.

  8. My kid is totally being thrown off by the time change (she’s two), but thankfully she’s still a big napper. I have noticed that the past week she no longer wants to snuggle or read a book at night time, instead it’s straight to bed. Then again she’s getting up at 6:15 which sucks.I’m totally planning on moving the clock forward tonight just so that 6am on a Saturday won’t be as bad.

  9. What? What?! The effing time change is this weekend. Argh. I’ve been sick for 1.5 weeks now and this won’t help. Well, at least it will seem like DS will be sleeping an hour later.OK. Rant over. Sadly, I have nothing to add about transitioning to no nap as my guy is 21 months. And amazingly, he is now napping for 2 hours on Sat & Sun at home. And is even napping sans soother at daycare. I’m sure this will all go to hell again eventually, but for now, I’m enjoying the consistency.

  10. totally OT but I still drink hot coffee in the summer. because if i get an iced one it is gone in 4 seconds. especially iced lattes from Starbucks.my son (3 YO) does not nap when he is at dayhome 3 times a week. he frequently falls asleep in the car on the way home (~5pm) and sometimes i let him sleep for about an hour, wake him, feed him and put him to bed around 7pm. So, he obviously still needs a nap most days. on the days he is home with me and we are home i put him in his room and sometimes he plays, sometimes he falls asleep and sometimes he just cries and cries and cries until i know he is not going to settle down for a nap. when he doesn’t nap and because unBEARable around 4 i try to distract, feed him snacks or go to the park. if that doesn’t work i fume on facebook and try to placate myself with the thought that bedtime will be easy and early.

  11. Can I just share that I am terrified for the time change this weekend. Why? Because it is unfortunately scheduled for the weekend before I go back to work after my maternity leave. My almost 1yr old gets very very cranky if she is not in bed by 6:30pm, and with the time change, I will be picking her up from the dayhome at what feels like 6pm for her on her first day there. And then I have to get her home, feed her and bath her before bed. (I predict the bath will be skipped.)So I will be watching what happens and I will let you know. Wish me luck. (Yes, yes, I should have been pushing her bed time back my 15 minutes a day for the last week. But I didn’t. Will try to do that over the weekend.)

  12. My youngest is 3.25yo and he’s been altering his nap lately, too. He *needs* it, so we’re just moving it a tad. Used to be from 1:30 to 4, and then he wasn’t falling asleep til 2:30 or 3 so we shifted it to 2-4 and that’s helped quite a bit. We shifted his and his 5yo brother’s bedtime back by half an hour, to 7, and that’s helped everyone (no more rush to get dinner done!). This weekend we’ll shift them as we do over 2 days and half an hour each day. Ideally we’d try to tire them out as best we could during the day for those days, but with a rainy weekend that may be harder than we’d hoped.

  13. Should be interesting to see what the time change brings! My 3.25yo has been waking up at 5 am (5:30 on a ‘good’ day) for 2+ years– it makes no difference what time she goes to bed, whether she’s napped or not, etc. We’ve tried everything. I am going to cry if the earlier light/birds singing means that time goes even earlier. Actually, I vaguely recall a horrendous phase around 15-18 months when she DID wake up at 4:30 day after day. And no, she won’t play in her room/fall back asleep/snuggle calmly with us. This lack of sleep, for years, is a major reason why we are not having a 2nd child…!

  14. My DS is only 2.5 but toying with dropping his nap. On those days when he skips, I move his bedtime WAY earlier. Usually he wakes at 7, naps at 12:45 for 1.5 – 2 hours, and then to bed at 7:30. No nap days mean bedtime is between 6 – 6:30. Otherwise, he starts to get into an over-tired cycle that means an early morning wake-up the next day. The OP doesn’t say what time she is putting daughter to bed on no nap days, but maybe the OP’s daughter is struggling to fall asleep before 8 on no-nap days because of over-tiredness, and a much earlier bedtime would help? The added bonus is that by the end of the day on a no-nap day, I am completely fried, and I need my quiet/alone time to start much earlier.

  15. @Kathleen- both of my kids totally changed their schedules when they started day care. I think that is pretty common- so try not to stress too much about it ahead of time. You really have no way of predicting what the schedule will be, daylight savings or no.With my second, I was really worried about some similar to your concern- she has an early bedtime- she was going down by about 6:30 before starting day care- and I wondered how I was going to handle that plus dinner for the toddler when I was working. Luckily, the baby takes a mini-nap in the car on the way home from day care and then hangs in fine for a 7 p.m. bedtime. So it all worked out.

  16. Y’all should move to Phoenix. We don’t do daylight savings. ;-)Not that it matters, because my almost 3yo doesn’t sleep much no matter what! I’ve basically just tried to come to peace with the fact. She recently started dropping naps– only taking 2-3 60 minute (EXACTLY) naps per week. Can’t get her to sleep at night till 8:30 (on no-nap days) and she’s up between 6:30-7am. We actually consider it amazing around here because she used to sleep even less and went through a LONG phase of getting up in the 5 o’clock hour (my consolations & empathy to anyone whose kid currently does that. It’s awful.)
    Hope the time change goes smoothly for everyone!

  17. Other than to say my two and a half year old doesn’t nap on the weekends unless he falls asleep in the car (I don’t know what magic his school uses to get a daily nap in him) I can’t talk about sleep this week with the time change coming up. I can’t talk about current sleep habits if it’s going well anyway, since that’s a sure fire way to make it all go to pot and on top of that all time changes SUCK in our house. I’m putting my head in the sand and pleading ignorance. Carry on brave soldiers.

  18. @mom2boy- we’re the same way. Naps at home require motion (car or stroller), and have for a long, long time. Naps at day care apparently happen by saying “nap time” and having her go lay down on her cot. I assume it is the peer pressure. Maybe they drug their juice at lunch. I don’t know.Regardless, I am now wanting to just get rid of naps, because if she naps and doesn’t run around like crazy all afternoon, it takes something like an hour after lights out for her to fall asleep. Which would be fine and dandy, except she wants me there with her. So I have declared the end of weekend naps, unless we’re having a very active weekend.

  19. My son, now 22 months, seemed to be giving up naps awhile back. He would eventually fall asleep but then wouldn’t sleep well at night. Then he got sick and went back to his 3 hour naps and bedtime at 8-8:30. I think he usually wakes between 7:30 and 8:30 but since he will play in the crib I am not entirely sure. He had a couple nights where he was waking (molar teething may have played a part in it, though) so at naptime I now go in to wake him at about 2 hours. If he still seems very sleepy, I just turn off the humidifier (white noise) and turn on the lights and let him doze for a little longer.

  20. While I am willing to admit that the change in the amount and quality of daylight might very well play a role in the dropping of/or the desire to drop the nap I can tell that it happens here in the tropics as well (we don’t see a huge change in the amount of daylight we get, nor do we observe daylight saving over here).At about 3 the same thing happened to my son, and to this day if he’s with us 98% of the time he wont nap, but he will thankful go down for bed early especially if we “force” it. But the funny thing is at school (he started pre-school a few months after turning 3) he naps 98% of the time and has always been one of the best nappers and will often sleep for 2 hours (which is hell come bed time bu that’s another issue). We’re lucky in that it is not difficult to “force” sleep, a 10 minute drive will do the trick.

  21. M is 2 and 3/4 and naps have been increasingly challenging for the past six weeks or so. My husband is home with her during the day and has mostly given up on getting her in her crib at naptime, but he can often rock her to sleep around 4 or 5 for a catnap. But that messes with bedtime, and she really is cheerier when she gets a solid one to two hours in her own crib. So today — in mere minutes — we are trying a new strategy: she must go in her bed quietly at two pm, tired or not; she can have books and stuffed animals with her, and if she doesn’t fight us, she can have a little animal cracker too. Screaming and crying means no cookie. It’s up to her if she sleeps or not, but she needs to have quiet crib time for an hour (odds are good she will fall asleep most days, I suspect). I hear my husband bringing her up the stairs now, so I can blog this real time!All’s quiet…
    And I hear my husband leaving the room … and all’s still quiet … victory!
    Now, we’ll see how long this lasts. And bribing with food doesn’t make me feel like parent-of-the-year, either… but it’s a start.

  22. Let’s see…My daughter gave up her naps at 3.25 (when she started preschool) she is 6.75 now. She has always been an early riser and the only way I get to sleep until 6:30 now is because we gave her a clock and told her to stay quietly in her room until 6:30 unless she has to use the bathroom. I anticipate an easy transition with the time change for her.My son, 3.75 yrs is still napping 5 out of 7 days. Lately his naps have been wonky, but he has been taking them. He has cycled his sleep pattern and I haven’t been able to link it to anything in particular, so I don’t think I will be of much help. When he takes longer naps(1.5 hours or more), he has a hard time falling asleep and wakes earlier in the morning. When he naps an hour or less, he falls into bed by 7 and sleeps for 12 hours straight. If I wake him before he is ready, he is a huge PITA, so not worth it!

  23. My 3 yo just went through this. Every year in February her sleep has gone haywire (actually, I don’t remember the first year, but she was 3 mo so it must have). She was napping 2-4 times per week (usually when daddy put her down) and staying up until 10 at night. What got us over it was (I think) her first head cold with exhaustion (so instead of “cough, cough, sneeze, let’s play tag!” she kept falling asleep). What got me through, on the other hand, was a)picking a cut-off time, so at 4 o’clock if there hasn’t been a nap we stop doing anything that might lead to a nap. b)finding the “sweet spot” for bed time. This was really, really hard. If we got it should would be in bed by 7:15, might wake up once or twice, but would fall right back to sleep and not wake up until 7:30 or 8. If I missed it she was up until 10.We also introduced “quiet alone time” so she could have a stack of books to read in bed or play quietly with barbies while I did something else. Occasionally this worked well and she would read for an hour, other times I was called in every five minutes to sing the “lonely song”. http://members.accessus.net/~bradley/keepapoeminyourpocket.html, which I remember from elementary school. When all else failed, she got to watch extra cartoons. Now we just have to work on cutting the screen time back to an acceptable level!

  24. My 3 1/2 yr old started dropping her naps when she was 2 although once very few months, she will crash out. But then watch out because she does not fall asleep until sometimes 11PM!Lately though, apart from the lack of napping, she has been waking up earlier than normal and falling asleep later than normal. All in all, I feel like she has been getting less sleep even on busy days (preschool, play dates, diff. activities).
    We go through these phases and then I stress myself out wondering why she is getting so little sleep, but then she always makes it up at a later time by either taking a nap, falling asleep really early or getting up really early.
    My philosophy lately is that if she is given the opportunity to get an appropriate amount of sleep (at least 12 hours in a 24 hour period), then I am doing my job. If she doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity to sleep, there is not much else I can do. I feel like some kids are not as active physically or mentally some days and they just aren’t worn out at the end of the day. My older kid could go for several days without very little sleep and a lot of activities, but my younger one who is one has a totally different personality.

  25. My 38 month old went thru a very long period, like between 18 months and 2.5 yers, where she would only sleep 45-60 mins with me. Sometimes I would have luck getting her back to sleep if I took her into my bed and lay with her, but not always. My MIL, who would put her to week a few days a week when I was away at work, whould get her to sleep 2-2.5 hours at a time! Of coures MIL loved that Zoe ONLY slept for her, and I had to prove to her that there must have been somethign else to it. Well, basically after 3 years I have decided there is nothing to it. My MIL DOES have the golden touch when it comes to getting Zoe to sleep.The hardest time was when she was around 2.75. She would stall using every technique under her belt, from one last drink, to demanding I kissed every one of her babies, to wanting me to send out the Twins ( imaginary freinds that kept her awake). Of course MIL would tell her, sternly, SLEEP, WITHOUT A FUSS, and she magically did. Every time.
    Then of course it finally dawned on me that it was all a great big power game. She needed to show me who was boss ( she was of course). I guess that is why teachers and babysitters, even dad’s don’t have the same problems getting our kids to sleep as we mums do. Well, that is what I have finally come up with, anyway

  26. Back to report that that especially insistent yell that I opted not to live blog at 2:40?That was poop.
    Into the bath….

  27. For me, there hasn’t been a seasonal aspect to my 3-year-old (He’s 3 and 8 months)dropping/fighting his nap. He’s fought it on and off for more than a year and ends up napping (2-3 hours) about 65 percent of the time.One thing that has helped get him to nap is the fact that I’ve become stricter with him about it. It used to be that I’d call it quiet time and say he could read books or play w/ toys. Now, if I hear lots of thumping and noise, I go right in and make him get back in bed and tell him its naptime and he needs to sleep. What prompted me to make this change is that he becomes super-cranky in the evening if he doesn’t nap and I realized that quiet time wasn’t really helping either of us recharge. So, even now w/ my harder-core rules, we don’t get a nap every day, but I’d say we get it 4 or 5 days a week as opposed to 3ish.

  28. I love naps, require my kids to take them (or at least have quiet time, even if it means Leapster), and will do anything, incl sleep w the kids, to get them to slow down and rest. It throws everything off if they don’t. So your poster has my sympathies.I hate time changes. My favorite day of the year – more so than birthdays, etc, is when we turn the clocks back and we all get extra sleep, wake before alarms with their awful buzz…
    We tried the every-other-day naps when our kids in different phases rejected them; aforementioned Leapster is a boon; just any kind of lowered sensory few minutes is good = dark room, quiet music, for at least 20 minutes.
    My question is, who needs the nap more, child or mom? There are good reasons for the mom to need at least downtime, if not sleep. That’s why I never liked the drive-em-to-sleep gig. I never got rest, then *I* was a bear by 5. FIguring that out (who needs it more) might help her find the solution that works for them.

  29. Oh, and another thing that works for us is doing the counterintuitive thing: move naps earlier if they aren’t working. We went from a 1 pm nap recently to 11 am naps for my 3 yr old and it works well. But I’m counter to popular stuff most of the time … not to say naysayer …

  30. My daughter just turned three last month. For quite a while now, like most of her friends of this age, she only rarely takes a nap. But I discovered long ago that a whole day without some quiet time was a sure fire recipe for one very cranky toddler as the day progressed. I invested in a nice bookcase for her bedroom, put all her books in there and bought her a ladybug bean bag which she adores. Her bookcase also has a drawer with some toy cars and other little things in. Plus she has all her soft animal toys in there too. So now every day at 2pm she happily goes upstairs and is the one telling me she is ready to go! Occasionally she naps but most days she just plays or reads to her toys and after an hour if she shows no sign of sleeping I go and fetch her. The quiet time is good for her and I’m not denying it, good for me also.As for the night time sleeping and early waking, the past few weeks my daughter has been waking earlier and earlier each morning, moving gradually from 7:15am or thereabouts to 6:15am this week. I am sure it is because it is so much lighter so much earlier now and I am interested in seeing if things change next week.

  31. Just chiming in with my prediction for sleep next week… My daughter, almost 2, will be up at 5 am, time change or not. She will nap early and short, so that by dinner she is a wreck. I’ll have to bribe her with TV to keep her calm and awake until bedtime, but it will take an extra hour to get her to sleep.C’mon, Fate, prove me wrong.

  32. @Maria- I somehow read that your DAUGHTER was up til 2,3,4, sometimes 5 am. Eek.But for yourself, I hear Melatonin is good for sleep. I’ve not tried it myself, but thought I’d throw it out there.

  33. @mom2boys and @cloud I am SO happy to hear about others who have the weekend nap problem. My 3-next-week boys actually do nap on the weekend, but barely. It’s gotten slightly better in the past few weeks, oddly, but for a year or more, it was a big struggle to get them to go down, and then they’d sleep for 1 hour tops. Weekdays, with their nanny (same house, same time etc), it’s story, lights out, not a sound, 2-3 hour nap every time.

  34. Haven’t read all the comments, so sorry if this repeats: My 3 year-old naps about half the time these days, and she doesn’t feel like sleeping, she definitely forces herself to stay awake, so I kinda have to woo her to sleep. And don’t underestimate the power of the bribe! She went on a nap strike last Fall and didn’t nap for about a month and a half, but she was so exhausted that she was begging to go to bed at 6 p.m., which meant she didn’t get to see her dad after work. So I started explaining to her that if she napped she could see Daddy and he’d put her to bed. It immediately worked. When we were having more problems later, I started telling her she could have a marshmallow if she took a nap. Totally worked. I only had to do it for a few days until she got back into the habit of napping, and the sugar was worth it to me. Another thing: Give a super-early bedtime a fighting chance. When my girl doesn’t nap, she is READY to go to bed around 6:30 and telling me she’s tired around 5-6. So now when she doesn’t nap, she’s asleep by 7. Granted, she does get up a little bit earlier (although not always), but it seems to jive with her body rhythm better, she’s happier, and it totally cuts out the awful fussy evening. And a free evening is kind of like a reward for me for not having naptime!

  35. My almost-five (in May) gave up naps a loooong time ago, around age 2.5, except car naps, (and car naps are few and far between these days, unfortunately.) I echo SarcastiCarrie about willing to do many things for the environment but unnecessary driving in the mid-afternoons is something I did do for a long time on the weekends, (does it help I drive a hybrid?)No way to get him to nap now but I do have to build in “down time” in the late afternoons. Down time could be quietly building with magnetic connecting thingees or blocks etc or, yes, iPhone games but there needs to be that time in his day. (Playdates around that time can be a disaster.) Come to think of it, there needs to be that kind of quiet time in my day, too, or I get cranky… hmmmm…
    As for evening sleep, we usually start the bedtime routine of teeth, pjs, books at 7:45pm and he is asleep by 8:15pm. (Shower is in the mornings 3x/week.) He wakes about 6:45am giving enough time on most days for play and breakfast etc before we leave for school about 8:30am.
    Don’t hate me; I’ve been there with not knowing day from night and crying myself from exhaustion when he was a baby. But now life is good on the sleep front. Perhaps that offers hope to those in the throws of craziness?

  36. It could be possible that Anon’s daughter is in an in-between stage: ready to stop napping every day, but not ready to stop napping all together. Have you tried getting her to nap every other day?My daughter did this when she was about 2. She napped at her caregiver’s (Monday through Thursday) but wouldn’t when at home (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday). When at home, without the nap she was so tired by 7pm that bedtime was a breeze — so I was all for no napping!
    Then her little brother arrived when she was 2 years, 4 months old and all naps came to a grinding halt. I think his birth was the Final Factor. Yes, she was a bear for a month or two.
    (My 3-year-old doesn’t nap anymore but she really needs some quiet time in the early afternoon. We usually read books during this time. She’s awake & alert, sitting on the couch with me.)

  37. I have twins who are almost 4, and the only way to preserve my sanity was to institute a ‘reading nap’ for an hour every day after lunch. This took some work to maintain, because they kept wanting to come out of their rooms. What finally worked was having them choose 5 M&M’s before their ‘nap’, and each time they called me or came out, I ate one. I think it’s been excellent for them to learn how to entertain themselves on their own, given that they are around each other all the time.

  38. Right after my son turned 3, he suddenly stopped napping — it was rough because he basically went from 2-3 hrs of nap to…none. But he was TIRED and cranky, so we kept trying for at least an hour of “quiet time.”I wanted this to be in his room in sleep-like conditions and preferably NOT watching TV. Audio CDs were a huge lifesaver for us. He loves the Little House series, Frog & Toad, Roald Dahl. If he can’t nap, he stays quiet/restful for an hour.
    Ah, the other thing that worked for us was me teaching him that he could get up when he saw a “2” on the clock. This was helpful because if he feels bored or restless, he knows there is a set end and he knows it’s not arbitrary.
    Take heart! In the last few months, he’s begun napping more and more and probably naps 4-6 days a week now. My niece went through a similar phase, as did another of my friend’s children at that age and all reverted to napping most days once it was over.
    So if you think he needs naps, I’d work with him and be patient and try to find a way to help him at least be quiet and rest for now.

  39. Ahahahaa Sue I love that m&m deal LOL. Brilliant!I have to write that down for when my boy is old enough for me to use it.

  40. Perhaps the best thing for my sanity and my husbands on weekends and every evening was when my daughter stopped napping. We stopped trying to put her down for a nap on the weekends probably around 20 months. It made for rough afternoons, but why the 1-2 hour struggle when she wouldn’t sleep anyway? By some sort of magic, the nanny was able to get her to sleep just about every week day.When she started pre-school at 2.5, that was it for the naps. We moved up her bedtime to 6:30, and now she actually goes to sleep within 15-30 minutes, instead of the 1.5-2 HOURS it had taken most of her life.
    I’ve been really looking forward to the time change, because I’m hoping to keep the kids on the same circadian rythym and not really transition them. We’ve been having dinner at 5:30 and go up for bed at 6:30, which is very tough for me to get home and not really spend time with them. And they’ve been waking up between 5:30 and 6:30 lately. So my hope is that we have dinner at 6:30 and bring them up for bed at 7:30, then they will hopefully wake up between 6:30 and 7:30.
    Last night was iffy about the dinner time switch, but this morning went really well! I hope it continues! What my life could be like if I had time to get ready by myself in the mornings and spend time with the kids in the evenings…

  41. Not another tale of woe from me, I promise.The same DD who weaned herself abruptly from breast-feeding at 16.5 months, for ever, also gave up all regular naps at 19.5 months.
    As a SAHM that was no reason for rejoicing as we’re often alone for 24 hours and DD is Spirited and was up until midnight from a very tender age. Not hyper active, but alert and eager for play and togetherness.I wasn’t.
    Trying to put her into bed would lead to hours of battles, and whatever I did at midnight she slept.
    She also woke three times a night and used to feed then; after her own weaning she still woke up those three times and it took a longer time to get her back to sleep without the breast-milk.
    I became convinced that the spirited behaviour was really sleep deprivation and that with more sleep and naps she’d ease up and be cooperative.
    So I saw a medical sleep expert who concluded that she did in fact get the minimum sleep required for a child her age and that she was not sleep deprived. Fine motor skills were fine, attention span etc. He also said that some children just stop napping abruptly at around 18 months.
    I could have told him that as she can doodle with a pen very carefully and do puzzles at night when I can’t string three words together. But I was seeking the triumph of hope over experience.
    But then, like caramama, I found that she now went to bed earlier without the nap, in her case around ten in the evening and the routine to get her to sleep was a lot shorter and less fraught.Her nighttime wakings also reduced and she fell back asleep easily.
    When DH is away for work she is emotionally distressed and her sleep suffers terribly. On those days she often naps. And I can add the exact number of napped minutes to her bedtime. It’s like she has a calculator inside her that is rationing sleep. No nap works for us. It does make for a very long day of course.

  42. @Wilhelmina – “And I can add the exact number of napped minutes to her bedtime. It’s like she has a calculator inside her that is rationing sleep.” That is exactly what it’s like! There have been a handful of times that she’s napped at pre-school (I can literally count them on one hand), and then we have that much longer to put her to bed at night.

  43. @Wilhelmina- I also chuckled in recognition about the sleep calculator comment. Our older daughter is a bit like that- she still naps at day care, and those days it takes much longer to get her to sleep at night than it does on weekends, when we have dispensed with the naps. It is not a precise 1:1 relationship for us, but I suspect that is because they also let them have lots of outdoor exercise at day care, which offsets the nap a bit.

  44. Ugh ugh ugh. This is sooo timely. My little guy turns two this weekend, and we have been battling in the no-nap war all winter. Maybe even longer than that. Who knows? My brain is not working right now, for my own lack of sleep. On top of all this nap nonsense, my fella learned how to escape from his crib and night-time sleep has gone out the window. Now that he can escape the crib, he doesn’t want to sleep there. We took the rail down and the crib converts to a day bed sorta thing, but he refuses to fall asleep in there! The other night I peeked in on him and he was sleeping on the lazy-boy in his room. And he wants to be rocked for naps and bedtime. And he is super needy/clinging and emotional right now to boot. Oh THANK YOU TIME CHANGE, for making this even crazier. Ugh.

  45. We’re in England and the time change happens in 1.5 weeks, but my 1.5 year old has also been waking up about 30-45 mins earlier than normal (he used to wake up at around 8am, now it’s more like 7:10). For the past two weeks he was taking deliciously long-ish naps (1.5 hours when at day care and 2 hours on the days at home) but now it’s gone down to 1 hour, 1 hr 15 mins max at day care and 1 hr 1 mins at home. I’m going to try using some cardboard to block out the light to see if that makes a difference, but I also don’t want to have to barricade his window at night – he probably needs to get used to the light anyway. We hold bedtime constant at 8pm, hoping that things will adjust themselves after a couple of weeks.

  46. The best thing we can get in live is sleeping becauese in that way we can be proactive and do all activities very well, Doctors recommend us to sleep at least seven hours per day to get healthy.

  47. Now I living that change with my son.he doesn’t want to nap and I was thinking about the light changes.
    There’s a window on his bedroom and thoght it could be because daylight is more intense these days.
    So am trying curtains on the window, taking him to the part in the morning and more activities like swimming.
    I started it two days ago and it worked.
    Of course I have to reset myself too, Now I run some errands in the morning with him, then park or any activity and leave chores for the afternoon when he’s napping

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