36 answers

Napping - Bella Vista,AR

Ok..how many of you have 3 1/2 year olds who still take naps?? I am tired of fighting mine every day to lay down and be quiet, she plays in her bed for 2 hours and is a total grouch the rest of the day. If we have to go somewhere she falls asleep in the car before we make it out of the neighborhood. Some days she will finally fall asleep about the time her sister wakes up from nap and I have to wake her up to eat dinner-and she wakes up grouchy and won't eat etc...So, i still feel like she needs one-or she wouldn't be so grouchy when she doesn't get one. Am I losing my happy hour?? or should I still battle her over naptime? Help please!

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Thanks to everyone for all the responses, I'm happy I'm not the only one who thinks a 3 year old needs a nap! We're still calling it naptime, although she rarely sleeps. If we go to the pool or lake in the morning or have to get her up early (Sundays) she will take a nap, but usually she just plays. I've told her on days when it looks like she won't sleep that she may look at books, but she needs to be quiet, and sometimes she will fall asleep doing that. She seems to be getting used to not napping if that is possible, she's normally not as grouchy anymore and she doesn't fall asleep as soon as we get in the car. I am still able to get some things done, even if I need to go out in the yard for awhile-I can trust her to stay in her room as long as she is occupied with books she seems pretty content. So its good-and she may go back to napping when preschool starts up in September!!

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I have cared for some children who would not fall asleep unless I sat beside them and kept them from sitting up. I have rubbed backs on some. I tell them: "You don't have to go to sleep, but head, bottom and feet had to be on the bed at all times!" Following that rule is hard for a tired kid to do without falling asleep.


You don't mention what time you put her down but I found that with my 3 year old the earlier I put him down the better he goes to sleep. So, if he gets up at 6:30, its seems that the best time for nap is 10 or 10:30... maybe 11! Good luck!

Oh mine did this too. I would say yes that at this age she still needs a nap......BUT....fighting her for a nap is much worse.

So what I did was, when the kids got to this point, I let them lay down and rest. You know have quiet time, but I let them watch tv. AS LONG as they were laying down all was good, but if they got up to play the tv went off.

Quiet time would sometimes lead to nap time, but the important thing is they are getting some rest.

Hope this helps.
Going green is EASY!

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I have cared for some children who would not fall asleep unless I sat beside them and kept them from sitting up. I have rubbed backs on some. I tell them: "You don't have to go to sleep, but head, bottom and feet had to be on the bed at all times!" Following that rule is hard for a tired kid to do without falling asleep.

you might try putting in favorite movie. we had my husbands granddaughter and when it was time for a nap i would ask her which movie she wanted and she had to lay down and watch it she usually fell asleep watching it. when my daughter who is 17 months doesnt get a nap she is awful so i know how it is, good luck, well continue with ours for sure.


You don't mention what time you put her down but I found that with my 3 year old the earlier I put him down the better he goes to sleep. So, if he gets up at 6:30, its seems that the best time for nap is 10 or 10:30... maybe 11! Good luck!


Children really need a nap, now saying that I have kept children over 20 years and have two children of my own. Of course some children don't like it, but once they rest things go more smooth in the afternoon. My day-care kids new our rule , but ever now and then we would get one who just hated a nap. Well each child is different, so I would telll him that he had to lay there quitely during nap time, he didn't have to go to sleep, but that he was going to rest quitely,and not wake up the other children who were taking there nap. Take care! S.

Having a daycare out of my home, trying to get kids to take naps usually only takes a consistent routine. It takes my newcomers about 4-5 days to get into the routine that after lunch, we brush our teeth, use the restroom, wash our hands, then lay down & let our bodies rest. I always play some kind of music for them, not always slow and relaxing. (If I only play the slow & relaxing kind, then any noise wakes them up. With all kinds, they tend to get used to the different "noises" in the music and sleep through it.)
This worked for my own three children a few years back prior to my daycare routine. Good luck!

My three year old still takes naps, but not everyday. When he was in daycare, he would lay down every day and quite often fell asleep. Now that I am home for the summer, I have him still lay down. I turn on PBS, and tell him he has to lay down for quiet time. He does not have to fall asleep, but he has to lay down and rest. Most often, he falls asleep, other times, he just plays. I can tell you that my 12 month old does not always get to take a nap at the same time though. There are days that I am just alternating which kid is awake all day long.

Sounds like naptime is over for your daughter. My daughter gave her naptime up about the same time....it wasn't worth her being sooo grouchy afterwards. Maybe some quiet time in her room, or watching a movie might help...I had a friend who would let her daughter nap every other day, or every few days until she got over the hump. My daughter (now 4.5) will still fall asleep in the car (if we are going very far)but that doesn't happen very often. Good Luck, L.

mine is almost 4 and we lost our regular naptime almost a year ago. the only way to get him to nap is to really wear him out with a lot of intense morning activity and then to take him for a drive or lay him down on the couch in the afernoons. otherwise, he'll nap at school but not at home. i think its pretty normal.

I feel your pain! I had one that was a napper and one that wasn't. I also need my down time to recharge. When I had a new baby, I needed the older child to nap to keep from waking the baby from her afternoon nap. Since she was nearly 4 years old, it wasn't happening at all! I finally used reverse psychology on her that earned me about 1 1/2 hours of quiet time a day. I would have her lay down on her bed with a book. I would tell her I needed to feed the baby but then we would need to run errands so DON'T GO TO SLEEP! Fifteen minutes later I would lay the baby down and peel the book off my older child's face where it had fallen when she fell asleep! I have some really cute pictures of it! lol I also used 7" fans for white noise. I love the suggestion of the relaxing music, too! Sounds like a spa day! A book, a comfortable bed, a wafting breeze and soft music. I think I'll go try it out right now!
Good luck!

I have the same issues with my 3 year old. He naps fine at school, but at home, we have issues. What I have started doing is letting him nap later in the day. At school nap starts at about 12, but when he's home, nap starts between 1pm-2:30pm. This has helped us a lot and he usually falls asleep within 30 minutes. I let him run around outside and get VERY tired before nap time also! Good luck!

I'm D. and a former child care provider. I also got tired of fighting 20 little people to take naps. Sooo, I came up with a simple but sure solution. I told them, They did not have to go to sleep. I said, because your eyes are very tired, just close them so they could rest, but don't go to sleep. I told them I would watch them and if they fell asleep, I would wake them up. Believe it or not, most always they fell asleep and true to my word, I would wake them up, at the end of nap time. So you could say I learned how to pull the wool over their eyes. LOL. Good Luck.


My daughter stopped taking naps at 2 yrs old. I would try to get her to take one but she would do the same things your 3/12 yr old is doing. The only time she would take a nap would be in the car. I basicly just learned to go with the the flow. She would go to bed at 7:00 pm and sleep til 7:00 am. She is 5 now and still goes to bed around 8:00 and will sleep iuntill 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning except during the schol year then I have to wake her up no later then 7:00. She will give me a hard time about waking up so early but she eventually snaps out of it. Now my happy hour is after 7:00 pm.

Hey C.

I am a mom (nearly 20 years), married for 23 years. I've had my shares of kids not wanting to take a nap, especially my daughter who now is 13. One day after many days, I saw her sitting in her bed, not wanting to take a nap, and then it hit me. We would go on vacation, and sometimes when we were on the beach I would say I going to have a tropical drink, relax and listen to peaceful music. I remembered how it helped me to relax, because I'm a really can't keep still type person, especially when things need to get done. Well I decided that I would put my instrumental music (trust me I don't listen to this all the time, I like my upbeat stuff) calming wave, calming relaxing CD (you can purchase one at Walmart and even listen to get a preview) but anyway I explained to her that for nap time I would play her this soft music CD and told her that it would make her feel good, make her happy, make momma happy, and just really made her excited to hear it. I started playing it, and before I knew it, she started napping so well. In fact it got to the point where if I was leaving the room, she would remind me to put in her CD so she could take as she would say at the time "a good little nap". Try that, it worked for my daughter, and a lot of schools, I know ours does that, but when she was in pre-K and Kindergarten in the public school system, they too put instumental music on. Let me know how it works @ ____@____.com or even if you have any further questions.

Good Luck,

A. H.

Well, my son is only 2 and 1/2 but he still takes a nap everyday after lunch. I figure if they have nap time at school for 5 year olds, then they must think they still need a nap, therefore I am still going to give my son a nap. He is a much more enjoyable child because of it...lol I usually have no trouble getting him to go down for his nap, but we still use a crib since he still hasn't tried to climb out, and I put him down on a full tummy, which usually makes them lethargic anyway.

I read through several of your responses and I didn't see what I used to use at the day care I worked at. We would turn on some quiet, relaxing music and tell the kids they needed to rest quietly until the music stopped playing. Then they were allowed to get up. I made sure the tapes I played were a couple of hours long, and most of the kids would be asleep in about 30 minutes. Some would never sleep, but they would lay quietly listening and still got some rest in. My own kids seemed to give up their naps around the age of 2 or 2 1/2, so it could be that she is not needing a nap any more. However, there is nothing wrong with her getting a rest period in. Just make sure that she understands she needs to lay quietly in her room until the rest time is over and then she can come out and play with you again. Good luck.

I think kids need naps. I need them to take naps so I can have a break during the day. Now, that being said. If your little one is sleeping enough during the night then they might not need one anymore. Here are a few links.





(Go to page 4 for 3 yr. old information)

All these articles say 3yr. old children still need naps unless they are sleeping the full 10-12 hours at night time.

I feel for you. K attended the Head Start 3 yr. program this past year, they put all the kids down for a nap at Noon, darken the rooms by covering the windows, they play soft music, pat the kids on the back, every child goes to sleep. Next year when she is in the 4 yr. old program they won't go to such great lengths to get the kids to sleep. They still make the room darker, play soft music, but if the kids don't drop off themselves they will let them look at books or quiet things they can do on their cots. Most of the kids in that classroom took naps though.

I hope as Summer goes by that your issues work out.


Just hang in there. Your story sounds exactly like mine. I would get so frustrated with my youngest son. He wouldn't fall asleep, but was grouchy and fell asleep in the car, etc. I finally started setting a timer in his room and telling him that he had to rest for 45 minutes without getting up or calling for me. He had to stay on the bed and could have a stuffed animal and books and he had to be quiet. Usually just knowing that the timer was there and that he could get up when it went off made him relax. Most of the time he would fall asleep within the time and I would just turn the timer off and let him sleep. I tried lying down with him, but that didn't work for us because I always fell asleep! :)

Don't give in to her yet. She still needs a nap and you need that quiet time for Mom. I am sure that she is much sweeter, too, when she has had her little rest.

I am having similar problems with my son who turns 3 on Saturday. Lately he tells me he doesn't take naps, but today he passed out while we ran errands and I was able to carry him into the house, and he stayed asleep. Course we just got back from visiting my inlaws and none of us slept good there. Hopefully you and I don't have to lose our quiet time yet.

I guess all kids are different. I have freinds whose 4 1/2 year olds still take naps. Mine however, is 4 1/2 and hasn't had a handful of naps in 2 years!! If he ever does fall asleep and i allow him to take a short nap, he's up till all hours. We have afternoon "rests". He lays on the couch with a cup of milk most afternoons and watches a low key cartoon like little bear or something. It works best for us. I'm by no means an expert but, personally, i wouldn't keep up the fight. It sounds like she just doesn't need her naps anymore. Best of luck and god bless!!

I don't think your daughter is too old for a nap, especially if she is grumpy the whole evening. My son is 3 and I still force him to take naps, and I will continue until he goes to school. The best way that I've found to get him to sleep is to sit with him. It only takes me 10 minutes before he goes to sleep, but that 10 minutes is worth the 2 1/2 hour nap.

She probably doesn't want to miss any of the fun, so that's why she fights her naps. I've read that if you make the pre-nap time boring and quiet, she'll feel less compelled to stay awake. Keep the t.v. off, casually draw the curtains, talk slower and quieter, etc. Put away the loud noise-making toys and bring out the soft, cuddly, mute-colored ones.

Then, maybe you could read to her or make it a cuddle time, or "nap together" and when she nods off you can tip-toe away. Or, as they say, sleep when the baby sleeps. And the toddler, too! This way, instead of a fight, it becomes a really sweet time together with both of your girls.

I've also found that neurofeedback works wonders. Basically, like watching fish in an aquarium, your brain follows patterns of high activity vs. low activity. Watching slow, round fish movements slows brain activity, the heart rate, etc. and is restful. Neurofeedback in music is really nice for various needs. I've used it to help me concentrate when I went back to school, and I have another kind that helps me to sleep at night now that I'm so late in my pregnancy and sleep has become an issue.

There are two websites that I like, and you can order CDs or mp3s, or even tapes. There's brain-sync.com and hemi-sync.com. It really works! Even my hyper little dog gets sleepy when we play the meditation one.

Good luck!


I have a nephew that just can't nap but he goes to bed pretty early (8:00) easily. He just is not a napper and I've heard many folks say their children from 3+ didn't either but they were able to go to bed early since they were tired. They do require children to have rest time in Kindergarten so they will be required to lay down and not make noise. Maybe you could convince her to "rest her eyes." That always made my brother fall right to sleep without thinking he was going to sleep for nap. Even if she just watches a dvd - it would give you some rest time for an hour or so. I LOVE naps too!

I had a kid like that and I forced him to take naps until he was about 5. They never like to lie down because they think they will miss something. I used to have to lie down with him and then I would usually fall asleep. But sometimes it was the only way to get him to sleep. I also threatened and punished him (mildly) when he would not go to sleep.

Sleep is very important to the development of the child, regardless of the other issues. Keep working on it and it seems most kids need naps until they are about 4 or 5.

Good luck

C.! She still needs a nap! At age 3 and until kindergarten begins for her, she needs a nap. You must be consistent with the nap hour. Feed her by noon, a nice hearty lunch. Then after washing hands and face, IMMEDIATELY take her to her bed for her nap time. Make sure nothing is available for her to injure herself in there. Slightly close the door, with only peeking space for you to ck in on her without being spotted. Then go back to the kitchen to finish whatever you were doing there. Enjoy at least 1.5 hours, preferrably 2 hours while she should be in her bed. At the end of 2 hours, whether she's slept or not, take her out of the bed.

DO NOT GIVE IN TO THE CRYING! She must remain in the bed for the duration of naptime. They usually sleep a full 2 hours. I had a neice I cared for while her mom worked. She was only a yr and half when we began. She cried daily for a few weeks. She refused the baby doll sleepign with her, refused the blanket to snuggle with her. She would sit in the bed and cry until she exhausted herself. REgardless of what time she finally fell asleep, I'd awaken her at the end of 2 hours! Sometimes she was grouchy for a little while after awakening. We'd have a light snack as her reward for napping like a big girl! We'd play or take a walk outside until Mommy or Daddy came for her. She received lots of hugs and kisses for having napped so well, even though she'd cried herself to sleep. After a few weeks, the crying stopped. She knew the drill.She'd even say to me all that I normally said to her when putting her down, such as "Aunt Denise, you will watch me while I sleep? You won't leave me right? And if I sleep like a big girl, then we can have a snack and play!" I'd answer lovingly and praise her for being so smart and a big girl. Oh yeah, before and after nap we were going to the potty as I was also potty training her at that age. She was very advanced for her age!

It worked. That's my point. I needed the break as do all mommies. It had worked on my kids, who never rebelled over naps but would lay in the bed the 2 hours talking to themselves or repeating all that we'd learned thus far that day! It will work for you also.

Be patient and consistent! those are your keywords, words to live by...

take care and feel free to write anytime!

Children need naps. Maybe not as long, but she still does need a nap. My 2 1/2 year old was fighting as well to take a nap, but I never gave up and now she doesn't fuss anymore. The deal is, to quiet her I allow her to watch one DVD to settle her down, once it plays one time, the television gets turned off. And I remind her that when she wakes we'll either go outside and play, or have colortime, etc., but that she needs to take a nap first, I kiss her night, night and she rolls over to sleep. I make sure the DVD she watches is something that won't hype her up. And children still take naps in Kindergarden, so it's better to keep her in routine because she's going to have to do it in school.

Good luck. Hang in there.


(SAHM, mother of three adopted children) I love them as my own. I may have not carried them in my belly but I carry them in my heart each and everyday. I got my two babies at birth and my oldest at 7. They are now 2,3, and thirteeen.

Hi C.
I have a 3 1/2 year old son who does take naps. He is in nursery school so they take a 2 hour nap every day. On the weekends he will sometimes sail right through nap time, but like your daughter, will have to crash out for at least 30 min. - 1 hour late evening which messes up bedtime. Because they fall out from exhaustion, I beleive that is an indicator that they still need a nap. We went through a period of time about 3 mos ago where he was bucking the nap at school and at home....but his grumpniess proved he still needed it. We were persistent in at least making a "rest" time. Things eventually got better. Maybe you are in that phase? Hang in there.

It definitely sounds like she still needs a nap! Is it possible that she is overly tired when you lay her down in the afternoon? I would try laying her down a little earlier or even later than usual. She may also just be going through an independent stage where she wants to decide these kind of things for herself. I think it's worth the fight! Once you decide what time is best for her to go down just be consistant and stand your ground:) I let my daughter listen to music and read books in bed, but if she gets up at all I turn the music off and then take the books. I tell her that even if she is not tired enough to sleep she needs to lay in bed for a rest time until I come and get her.(my 5 year old still does this!)

My 3 1/2 year old does the exact same thing. I call it the last phase I just have to wait. My son went through this too. I think it's the last phase before they are done with naps all together. My son started this at 2.5-3 yrs old and it probably lasted six months. My daughter just stared this a few months ago. I have even tried putting her in my bed with me to nap and she'll just lay on the bed for a couple hours. What just stared doing with my kids this last month is having "quiet time" they just have to go to their rooms for an hour in the afternoon. This helped because I get a break. I set the kitchen timer so they know when the time is up. They can play, look at books etc as long as they are quiet and don't come out. This also helps them get a break. I noticed in the afternoon it was getting crazy with fighting, sassing etc.....this has really helped.

I still miss my naps, but I try to get one on the weekend when my husband is home.

My son is the same age and acts the same way. The only thing I can suggest is instead of making her take a full blown nap just have her sit down and watch somthing quiet, like a Baby Einstein movie. She may fall asleep, but if she doesn't then she will have at least let her body relax and have some down time.

Oh mine did this too. I would say yes that at this age she still needs a nap......BUT....fighting her for a nap is much worse.

So what I did was, when the kids got to this point, I let them lay down and rest. You know have quiet time, but I let them watch tv. AS LONG as they were laying down all was good, but if they got up to play the tv went off.

Quiet time would sometimes lead to nap time, but the important thing is they are getting some rest.

Hope this helps.
Going green is EASY!

My oldest quit taking naps at 3. but we still had "down time" they (as well as Mom) need a time for their little bodies and minds to just relax. Maybe a veggie tales movie or books or something quiet. Explain to her that this is what we're doing instead of having to take a nap. Or put her in her bedroom for that time and explain that she doesn't have to take a nap just take a "rest" the termonology difference might work or just let her play quietly but explain that she must stay in her room and be quiet....at least as much as a 3 1/2 year old ever is...good luck, R.

My daughter is now 5 and she has gone through stages where she stopped sleeping at naptime, but she would then start again at certain points. Even if she doesn't sleep, I would not make her give up the rest time as you and her both need that. At 5, my daughter rarely sleeps for naptime, but she does still rest for an hour. At 3 1/2 I believe that I still made her stay down for 2 hours, just in the hopes that she would sleep. Sometimes if I were desperate I could get her to sleep by lying down with her and making her lie quietly and then sneaking out once she fell asleep. Or you can let her listen to music or a story on cd and tell her she has to keep her head on the pillow. Something as simple as that is sometimes all they need to let themselves sleep. I feel for you as I hated those transition times when they obviously still needed naps, but it was harder to make it happen. One other suggestion is to move her naptime a little earlier and see if that hits an easier time for her to sleep. Sometimes you just have to play with the time until you find that perfect hour. I wish you luck. :)

My 3 1/2 year old still takes a two hour nap every afternoon after lunch. If he doesn't, he whines and is in a bad mood. I use a nap routine. He picks up his toys, goes to the potty and then we read a story or two and I tuck him in. I don't allow him to have any toys in bed with him, only his stuffed animals. He usually goes right to sleep once he's tucked in, but he protests a little most days before nap. Hang in there; I'd keep trying. Perhaps try a naptime routine to let her know it's coming and include something she wants to do - such as read a story or play a calm game. If my little boy protests taking a nap too much, I tell him he's going to lose out on his nap-time stories and that works. I also tell him his stuffed animals, his "friends" need naps and I'm sure they would sleep better if he slept with them.

I have a 5-year-old son. He still takes naps...sometimes. My mom is always saying that she thinks he's too old for naps. I'm not too old! Anyway, we deal with the super-grumpy evenings when he hasn't at least rested. My advice is, take her outside for a while before naptime. Set up the sprinkler or kiddie pool. It's summertime, and something about sunshine and water wears them out! Good luck!

My youngest is 3 yrs 3 mths and she still takes a nap. It's not everyday, but she does. My 4 1/2 year still will take a nap occasionally as well. Pre-k ers still take naps so I see no need to break the habit yet. Keep the happy hour going!!

My daughter (to be 4 in September) still takes naps. You may want to consider getting her up earlier in the morning so that she might actually be sleepy when you lay her down for her nap. I know of some children that outgrow their naps. However, if you know that she still needs that nap, try adjusting her bedtime/wake up time. I've also given my kids an herbal tea made for kids called "nighty-night". It is a calming tea designed for kids to drink before sleep. You also will need to lay down the law and tell her that she has to lay down and close her eyes and rest and that she can come out when the naptime is over. Another thing is, I've discovered that when my kids outgrew two naps and had to do only one, the morning nap was the first to go and the afternoon nap is the one that is effective. Play with different naptimes to find the one that is most suitable for both kids. For us 1-2 is that "magic" hour in which to lay my kids down, since they normally get up between 6:30 and 7:30. That nap will typically last an average of 90 minutes, my older son may wake up sooner (he is 6), but the rule is they have to lay down and rest. Good luck, you don't have to lose your happy hour!!!

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