16 answers

Toddlers & Naps

Hi Mommies,

I was curious to know when your child stopped taking naps. My 21 month old seems to be phasing out her nap...although, I think it may have to do with what time I wake her up in the morning. She seems to do fine without a nap, but by dinner time, she is so overtired, that she just crumbles and bursts into tears and throws tantrums. I'm trying to introduce "quiet time" (story time, movie time) in the afternoon which seems to help.

Any information/suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated :) Again, I'm just curious to know.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone's responses! They were very much helpful. I figured because my daughter was having her meltdowns at dinner time, nixing the afternoon nap was definitely not an option...I just needed to hear it. I think I'm also going to need to wake her up earlier, that way she's tired by lunch time, and wakes up from her nap early enough in the day where it doesn't affect her bed time.

Thank you again!

Featured Answers

I am a believer in naps as long as you can. With both my sons there was always a point that they fought the naps. However, we worked through it and but both my sons napped until they were in pre-k (one was 4 almost 5 and the other was just 5).

More Answers

My son will be two in May and he still takes a long nap in the afternoon. He sleeps from 9pm to 8am and then sleeps from 1:30 to 3:30. I think there was a month that I was like uh oh is he going to skip naps?? He did a couple of times but went right back to napping again once I got him on a regular sleep schedule and feeding him a big lunch before he goes down in the afternoon. I think it just depends on the child. My son is a mess by 1:30. There is no way he could go all day without a nap. Also, I think some kids go in phases depending on growth spurts and such. Not sure if any of this information helps. Take care.

Yea.. my dd tried the whole no-nap routine. It wasn't pretty.

She phased out the morning, but we kept her 1PM.

When she started no-napping around 2/2.5 y.o. I stuck to the nap routine anyway. Sometimes she'd fall asleep closer to 3, but the point is she'd stay in her bed. She'd babble, sing, whatever..it was a quiet down time.
She eventually, within a month, fell back in step with her nap and doesn't really fight the routine.. after reading a story, now.

She is almost 4 and we bumped up her nap to 2pm and in 6 months will probably bump it to 3pm (until we phase it out and she gets used to longer days- but I think a quiet (me)time, be it reading, coloring, etc is a good thing for everyone!)

The question is: can they handle going the entire day without a nap. Mine CAN NOT. She gets to 5 and then melts down.

I heard once that the little ones just need quiet time to rejuvenate. If they sleep fine. If they just rest, fine.

Go with the flow, but you know the answer already: she melts down by dinner = she needs a nap/rest period. Once she learns your expectation, she'll yield to it.

Good luck!

I worked as a preschool teacher, and 90% of our 3-4 year olds still took naps. Most about 2 hours. My son is 20 months, and every now and then will skip a nap. It's probably just a phase, but i would say it is too soon to stop.

The phase during which children are adjusting to the elimination of the afternoon nap is tough. There is no absolute on what age is "normal" for kids to give up their naps. Some give it up by their first birthday, some nap past age 4 yrs. It is quite normal to be tired and cranky by the end of the day. It doesn't necessarily mean she needs the nap. It is also very normal during this phase to nap some days but not others, or for the nap to be either shorter or longer than her former "usual" afternoon nap. I think your afternoon quiet time is a perfect solution: it gives her the opportunity to sleep should she want/need to do, gives her (AND YOU!) some quiet time in the middle of the day. Even if she doesn't sleep she is still resting. Good luck!

I think the fact that she's so teary and throws tantrums by dinner time means she needs a nap. You said you think it might have to do with what time she wakes up...is it on the later side? The time that a child feels tired enough to nap definitely depends on what time he/she goes to bed and wakes up. I would still put her down for a nap...usual bedtime routine...and tell her things she can do quietly in her room if she's not sleepy...then leave her there for a designated time frame. Some days she may sleep and others she may not. I think the quiet time (story/movie)...if it's WITH you might be motivating for her as close time with Mommy, but may not stop the dinner tears and tantrums. Lastly, I found with my kids...the time to truly stop trying for the nap was when the nap backfires. If she takes a nap and then can't go to sleep until really late at bedtime, it's time to be done.

Good luck!

Hi J.,

You must be exhausted with a new baby and the older one not napping! Several months ago our 3 1/2 year old went through a phase of at least a month where she was barely napping at all, maybe 2 or 3 days a week and very short naps at that. I was so afraid she was all done with them! I kept putting her down every day and telling her it was nap time, and gradually she started sleeping again. Now she's back to sleeping for 2 hours every afternoon -- and it's usually at the same time our one year old takes her afternoon nap, too! Yay!!! Don't give up!

Its only my opinion but she seems too young to eliminate naps. Have her get up at the same time every morning and lay down at the same time every day for nap and she will probably fall asleep. Keep the lights down low and tell her its time to take a rest. Try to follow a similar routine as you would for bedtime. My own son would only nap if I had him sit on my lap, rock in the rocking chair and watch tv for 10 mins (not a show he would be interested in). I didn't phase out nap untill he was more than 3 1/2 but he was like your child and would breakdown if he missed a nap.

Hi J.,
My just turned 2 year old hasn't napped since last December. He was never a good sleeper and if he does take a nap it makes going down at night the biggest struggle and he actually sleeps worse at night when he's had a nap during the day. Every child is different if she doesn't want the nap don't force it. We usually have some quiet rest time after lunch but he stays awake. Personally I would rather deal w/ a cranky toddler then one that doesn't want to go to sleep at night. If she is very over tired in the evening put her down at an earlier bedtime.

My daughter is 26 months old, and just before her 2 year birthday was doing the same thing. She's still not the best sleeper. But when I talked to my pediatrician about it, she said I should just get rid of her nap. I questioned the timing (at 2 yrs old), especially because my 4 year old still takes naps. But she said 50% of 2 year olds grow out of their naps. Now as for kids in daycare situations that's completely different. The kids (4 year olds) in my daycare/preschool all take naps, just because they see the other kids doing it, most of them don't take them on the weekends their parents say. But I go into the 2yr. classroom to pick up my daughter and at least 3 of the 10 kids are not actually sleeping at nap time, just playing quietly on their cots. I have a friend that got rid of her naps with her kids, and just puts them down for the night at 6:00 or 6:30. If you think it's appropriate you might want to try that.

You also mention that you're recently a stay at home mom. If she's been in daycare all her life, now she's not, she may just be adjusting to that. I was in the same situation a couple months ago, and now my daughter is at least giving me an hour nap in the afternoons (which she wasn't doing 2 months ago...).

Good luck!

Our daughter also stopped napping just after age 2. Seems like the older she gets (she's 3 now) the less sleep she needs. Her normal bed time is 9pm and she is up by 6:30am. Our daughter didn't get tired later in the day as you are mentioning. Your daughter probably needs an afternoon nap well before dinner.

Sounds like you are doing all of the right things (quiet time). Both my kids started dropping their naps at a very young age (18 months to be exact)!! Some kids need more sleep than others in my opinion.

Good Luck!

I also have a 21 month old who just went through a shift in his sleeping. He used to sleep 12 hours at night with a 1-2 hour nap in the middle of the day. Just recently, he downgraded. He now sleeps 10 hours at night (8pm-6am) with a 45 min-1 hr nap mid day. I'd suggest trying to have your daughter take a nap and maybe push her bedtime back a little? Or as you're doing, quiet time during the afternoon to have her relax....Good luck!

Lots of good advice so far. Aside from the dinner-time meltdown probably indicating she's not ready to skip it all together, keep in mind that most kindergartens still have naptime after lunch. So you might want to consider how much she could object to this quiet time when she starts kindergarten if she's no longer used to it. My daughter has never wanted to nap and she's frequently been punished in school for not being able to stay still and quiet for an hour while everyone else is sleeping. Good luck!

Every child is different!

My son is now five and he gave up napping before 2. Just stopped sleeping one day. I was really good about enforcing rest time. Until he was about 4 he still went in his crib/bed at the same time every day and had to rest. I would give him a stuffed animal and a couple books but he had to stay on his bed and lay quietly for an hour. He would not fall asleep but it still worked wonders for him (and me). He is awesome even now about asking for quiet time and reading books for a little while in the afternoon when he is tired.

My daughter is now 22 months and about three weeks ago stopped napping. Same thing -- just stopped sleeping one day. We are still enforcing rest time every day and hoping it is a phase, but she doesn't seem to be taking to rest time as well as he did (protesting). We are going to keep at it though in the hopes that we can get her to have some sleep or at least quiet time.

Good luck! Many of my friends have 4 year olds who still take naps, and while there are days I wish my kids would I have to admit that most times I much prefer the flexibility I have with my kids!

I am a believer in naps as long as you can. With both my sons there was always a point that they fought the naps. However, we worked through it and but both my sons napped until they were in pre-k (one was 4 almost 5 and the other was just 5).

My daughter is 22 mo. old and takes a nap from around 1-3 every day. She goes to bed around 8 and wakes up anywhere from 6:45-8 a.m., usually around 7:15 lately. From what I've heard, 21 mo. is a bit young to give up naps. I've heard it can happen as early as 2 1/2, but not under two (I don't know for sure though!). I would be consistent in putting her down for a nap. I have also heard of children not napping for a a few days, but then going back to it. Maybe it is something she is going through.

Looking at the age difference between your girls, you need her to take a nap! I'm in the same boat- one born 6/07 the other 2/09!

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