11 answers

How Do You Know When Child Is Ready to Drop Nap?

My 25 month old has difficulty falling asleep for naps and at bed time some days. He willingly goes upstairs for the routine but some days and/or nights it takes him an hour or longer to fall asleep. This doesn't happen every day but occurs about 3 or 4 days out of the week. Sometimes he falls asleep quickly at naptime (which ranges from 1-3 hours) but then has trouble at night, so I know he is tired some afternoons. We take him up for nap 1-1:30 and bed time 8:00-8:30. He wakes up in the mornings anytime around 7:00 usually on his own. He skipped his nap once and that lead to a pretty miserable evening and bedtime at 7:00. I am thinking about continuing nap time, just waking him after an hour...
Thanks for any guidance/suggestions!

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I have two children. In August they will be 5 and 2. I believe that at this age they still need a nap. Once my daughter, almost 5 years old now, started not "wanting" to nap, I changed the phrase to "rest time". This started when she was around 2 1/2 that she didn't always fall asleep. So the rule is that they have to go to their bed and "rest" for at least 1 1/2 hours. She can have a quiet activity, such as one stuffed animal or one book. She is not allowed up except to go to the bathroom. It took some training, maybe 1 1/2 weeks of sending her back, but she eventually got the message and learned to stay in her bed. This way, I get some quiet and time to do things that I want to do or I can take a small rest myself! I make sure I give both my kids plenty of fresh air and exercise in the morning so after lunch, they usually conk out. But I don't let her sleep longer than 1 1/2 hours. My son I let sleep longer if he needs to because he is younger. My son get ups in the am anywhere between 5:00 and 6:00am. So by 10:30am, he is done. My daughter gets up usually around 6 or 7am. So around 1pm, I make her take her rest. And she usually falls asleep! Lately my son seems to be wanting to take his nap later, same time as my daughter, but I guess he plays longer because she is home now that school is out. After nap, we spend a lot of time outside. I make sure they play HARD. After dinner and bath, my son is ready for bed by 7/7:30pm and my daughter is in bed by 8pm. Play around with it and see what works for you. Good luck! But I would not cut out the nap or rest time. :)

Our son is going to be 3 in August and has had more trouble recently with his nap, but I chalk it up to lack of consistency by my husband. We were taking our son to daycare until my husband, a professor, was done with school for the year. Now they are home together all day. I am sure that my husband is just inconsistent. Regardless, if he won't sleep, we at least make him stay up in his room in his bed for quiet time. He will lay there and "read" his books for a bit and usually falls asleep at some point. At least his body is getting a little break.

Read Sleepless in America by Mary Sheedy Kurkinca. It has some great ideas about chnages in sleep and how much your child needs to sleep. He is getting older so it amy be that he needs to sleep more at night and less during the day. Try nad keep with in the reccommended hours for his age which I think is 12-14. The book has it in.

Hi K.,
I have an almost 3 year old with similar issues, so here are my two cents. When he goes without a nap, we pay for it the next day or even two, so I know he still needs one. My son goes down for a nap between 2 and 3 and I have started to wake him up not necessarily after an hour or even two, but just by 5:00 so that he has a good 3 hours to play before bed. The only other thing I can share is that it seems to help if we use the last half hour or 45 min before bedtime to wind down. That doesn't include our going to bed ritual, just quiet play with puzzels or trains, anything that slows him down. Good luck!

I'm 38 and not ready to drop my nap! But seriously, I have 3 kids (8, 6, and almost 3) and they started skipping an afternoon nap around age 2. I was able to get the oldest to take naps past 2 yo because his little sister was an infant and I would lay down with him, but as they aged, it was harder and harder. My youngest quit his naps when he started climbing out of his crib (shortly after he turned 2). They all took/take naps at daycare a few times a week, but at home, fughedaboudit! Yes, we have miserable evenings sometimes, but anymore if they take a nap in the afternoon they don't go to bed until very late. My suggestion is to try different things to see what works best for you and your family. If you can tolerate crankiness in the evening but an earlier bedtime, go for it. Otherwise, continue the nap and see if waking him works. Good luck, and now it's time for my nap (yes, I live in a fantasy world of naptime and a perfectly clean house!).

I suggest putting him down a little later, maybe around 2, to make sure he is really ready. More time to enjoy the day too! Wake him after 1 1/2 hours. I wouldn't let him go longer. Most kids still need a nap until around 3 years. LOTS of kids drop theirs after 3, but he really needs it at his age! Your bedtimes are great. You seem to be doing everything right, hang in there.

Hi K.! I went through this with my first son at around the age of 2 and a half. If I let him do the usual 2 to 2 and a half hour naps then we would have a hard time putting him down at night. If he skipped his nap the last few hours before his bedtime (which was also at 7 on those days) he was miserable. Sooo, it did work when I woke him from his nap ,after an hour like you said you were thinking about doing. Give it a try, see if it works. By the time my son was three and baby boy number two arrived his naps were through. He is almost four and both of my boys bedtimes are at 7... makes for relaxed, peaceful nights for Daddy and I. All the best.leah

I would suggest that your follow your gut instinct. Keep putting him down for a nap but don't worry if he is actually sleeping. Make it quiet/nap time. But don't let it go past a certain time each day so that it doesn't interfere with bedtime. You may still find that occasionally you have difficulties with him but it will even out as he gets used to his schedule again.

Good luck. I hope this helps.

Hey there! My son is 27 months old and we do go through the same thing somedays- not often, but sometimes he just lays in his crib singing and talking up a storm to himself! You are not alone in this.It sounds like our sons are on the exact same schedule, too. I also agree with the other moms that they say he still needs a nap. I think at this age they are starting to realize they have some control over things- even if it isn't in their best interests! However, they can understand a lot also. I tell my son that we are all going to rest when he rests- so he doesn't think he is going to miss anything. I also remind him how cranky he gets and how he feels when he doesn't rest. We do the same routine everyday and although he doesn't always go right down- knock on wood, he usually gets himself to sleep in about 20 minutes, but yes, sometimes it is longer. I remember one day he rolled around for an hour and 15 minutes before he went to sleep. I realize I am very lucky- he doesn't cry or scream- he is quite pleasant actually in the crib (again-knock on wood), so if your little guy is too, I would keep putting him down as usual and I think he will eventually realize this is what is best for him. Best of luck!

I would keep him on a nap, that gives you the two hours to clean get a shower and do what you need to do. My daughter is 4 and still takes a two hour nap. She wakes around 9 naps at 3 bedtime at 9.IF she didn't nap she is one crazy chicky in the evening and its frustrating. I wouldn't drop the nap quite yet.

Hi K.,
Let's see....."How do you know...?" Well, they just STOP! You'll know it! LOL :)
My advice would be to wake him up from his nap so he is not sleeping too much/too close to bedtime. Probably by 3, he should be up. Either get him started earlier on the nap routine or wake him up by then.
Aren't the moods in the evening just lovely when they WON'T nap even though you know darn well they COULD nap and NEED a nap?! And now YOU need a nap because of all of the "NOT napping" going on! I hated it when the getting to the nap took longer than the actual nap itself. Sometimes it's not even worth trying the nap routine.
On the days he does not nap, there is nothing wrong with starting bath/bedtime an hour or half hour earlier. He will probably sleep better because he won't be over-tired when he misses a nap. What I did when my son started to not nap as much was put him in his room for "quiet time" to play quietly for an hour. Even though they aren't napping it still gives them that time to de-stress, relax and recharge a bit.
Is he still in a crib? I hope (for your sake) that he is, becasue it gets even trickier once they out and about! (Sob..sniff..sob...it so hard to say goodbye to those naps!)
Hope this helps! Good luck!

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