42 answers

2 Year Old Won't Take Naps Anymore

I recently switched my two year old daughter to a toddler bed from her crib and now she isn't taking naps and I can't get her to even stay in the bed without having to sit right there...even then she won't fall asleep. Just wondering if anyone else has had or is having this same issue and how they resolved it if at all. I've had people tell me that she may just be "growing" out of her naps but at the end of the day it is very evident that she needs a nap. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for all of your great advise. After reading what everybody had to say I decided to try sitting in her room and reading a book while she lays in bed and that seems to be working pretty well. The first day i had to sit in there for about 1 hour and 45 minutes but it's getting better and there have been a few days that she didn't nap, but for the most part it's been pretty effective and it gives me a chance to have some reading time for myself. So, thanks again to everyone that responded.

Featured Answers

Car Ride.

I have a 3 year old, who falls asleep like clockwork at preschool but at home, unless he is tired he won't sleep. But a car ride will do the trick. I use that when I want him to take a nap, otherwise, don't care. I prefer him to want to go to bed earlier if he has no nap.

hey don't feel bad, I have same issue with my 2 year old son. My husband recently switched the crib into toddled bed and for a little while he liked his bed but i said to him ok it's time to go nite nite and get a cupy of milk and lay him down or you could lay down on the flore by the bed, sometime it's work. or put a movie on and say mommy go lay down. i leave the room and don;t let her see you.
Well Good luck I hope this helps. L.
Let me know please here is e-mail ____@____.com

Be persistant. I had problems with my youngest not wanting to take a nap. Even when she clearly was tired. (I was operating a day care in my home so this was somewhat of a problem) I would put on some soft music and tell her it was time to rest. Then give her the blanket and pat her back. In about a week's time, she would grab her mat and blanket and lie down. I still had to pat her back for a little while longer but she would nap. Good Luck:)

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We had the same problem around 2 with my son. I believe he was about 2 years 4 months at the time. Several other of my mom friends had this happen with their children at about the same age. Since it also was apparent that my son still needed a nap, I just stayed consistent in putting him down at the same time everyday, following the same routine. I would have to sit outside his door and put him back to bed a few times. Many days, he didn't sleep but our deal was that he needed to stay for one hour in his room. If he chose to play, then we just dealt with him being overtired later. Fortunately, after several weeks, things improved. He just turned 3 and naps for 2-3 hours everyday (occasionally not on the weekend - I guess because of the routine change). Oh yeah, we also started trying to do more active things with him in the morning hours so that he was more tired. On the days he has preschool, naps are simple because he's so tired from school. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

your daughter may not necessarily need to nap anymore, but she does need quiet time. my daughter took naps until she was 4, but my 3 yr old son doesn't nap anymore. put her in her room, with a book or quiet toys, and tell her she doesn't have to sleep, but she needs to stay in her room, be quiet and rest. 45 minutes to an hour is good. part of her refusal to nap is a power struggle, so giving her some control can help diffuse the situation. she may end up sleeping some days if she's really tired. hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried the Super Nanny method yet? I know most people who try that- are successfull! :) I am switching my 2 1/2 year old daugther soon... I am excited, but scared at the same time! :) We just finished potty training in Jan. SO.. I figured it was time to get her outof the crib!!! :) Keep me posted- I'd love to know how it goes!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

We also just switched our son to a toddler bed, he has no problem at night but did have problems napping. So we tried his pack-n-play for naps. I actually gave him a choice between the bed and the pack-n-play for his nap and he didn't choose his bed. For us we've decided that even if he doesn't sleep that he needs some quiet time in the afternoon to rest

Good luck

My first question is did you switch her to potty train her? If not, perhaps she is too young to be in a bed just yet. When my oldest was 2 1/2, I potty trained her, so I had to put her in a bed, and it was hard at first. The first thing we did was put all toys, etc in the closet, so she couldn't get them. I spent a good week putting her for a nap with the door slightly open, and made an effort to keep an eye on her. As long as she was in her bed, I didn't worry to much, but she had to be nice and quiet. I told her "this is quiet time, and you have to stay in bed". I let her pick out 2 or 3 books, and told her I would take them away if she wasn't quiet. After a few days of this, she started falling asleep because she was so rested. And sometimes, even if she didn't fall asleep (it does happen some times ;}), she was nice and calm when it was time to get up. Think about the value of your child being able to be nice and calm and quiet for a few hours, it's been great for eating out and church. And, nap time isn't just for her, it's for you too, you need the break to sit down eat a healthy lunch, and get done some things that you can't do when she's up and about!

This isn't much but... it might help. I have twins. At that age we switched beds too and I worried. But my kids knew that when they woke up from their nap they could choose a piece of candy from the candy drawer. It was such a given it became one word "after-nap-candy". I didn't offer candy as a reward for napping exactly, just reminded them of our routine.
It worked amazingly well.

My two year old started fighting naps a couple of months ago, so now we have "rest time". He can read books, or I read to him, but he has to stay down and rest for an hour. We moved his bedtime up a bit to make up for the sleep he's not getting during the nap so he still gets about 12 1/2 hours of sleep a day.

I had this same problem with my daughter and fought it for a long time, then I just realized she was done with naps and made her bed time a little earlier. That worked. Good luck!

looks like you have a lot of advice but i will put in my experience too. we just recently switched our 3.5 yr old to a toddler bed. she was always a great sleeper and when right to sleep when we put her in her crib. it took a couple weeks to transition into the bed at night. and it took a few more weeks for her to take a nap during the day. we skipped a few naps and had some cranky afternoons but she seems to be on track again. be patient and she will take naps once she feels comfortable and safe in her new bed. good luck!!

send me a message if you need more help. S.

Be firm with the schedule and tell her that it is nap time. Even if she doesn't want to take a nap, she needs that "quiet time". She can lie down on her bed with maybe a book or toy to play at quietly. And hopefully, she will eventually sleep. Even if she doesn't fall asleep every time, she needs that "quiet time." My daughter napped or had her "quiet time" until she was four years old. Many of my friends who had toddlers who didn't want to nap accepted it and let them not nap any more, but they would be cranky. Insist on the nap or "quiet time." And the reward idea might be a good idea to try.

I think you should just forget the naps!! Children that age only need a few hours of sleep anyway....

Lie down with her at "nap time" to read to her and cuddle until she falls asleep!

i AM IN THE SAME BOAT WITH MY 2 YEAR OLD

yeah i am going through it now with my 20 month old she's not wanting her naps either and i made her crib into a toddler bed and she wouldn't stay in it at all so my best suggestion is put her back in the crib she may not be ready for a toddler bed that's what i did with mine i put her back in a crib.

My oldest started dropping her naps at age two even before we switched to a toddler bed. The best thing to do is just try to give her quite time.

Good Luck!

My daughter also stopped taking naps at 2 and she was still in her crib. And yes by the end of the day it showed. We switched her bed time a little earlier (about 1 hour) to make up for some of the lost sleep of the naps and that seemed to help.

I would strongly recommend putting her back in a crib. My 4 year old didn't move into a toddler/big girl bed until she was 3. We had it in her room, but she wouldn't stay in it. You can't really expect them to at 2. And they still need naps at 2. I let my daughter stop napping before she was 3 because it was such a battle, and I've regretted it.

I also have a 2 year old I just moved to a bed and am having the same problem. The only way I can get him to nap is if I let him lay beside me in my bed and SOMETIMES he will fall asleep after a while of negotiation. I would been interested in any solutions to this problem! The odd thing is that he naps just fine at daycare during the week (in a bed) but hates going down on weekends or when I can stay home with him. Wish I had more advice for you!

A little about me:

Mom to a 2 year old and a 6 month old (who doesn't like sleep anytime!)

My son stopped wanting naps around the same age as your daughter. I got tired of the nap fight every day so we just stopped the naps and moved bedtime up. I love it, I get more quite time with my husband now and my son gets the sleep he needs. Also when we moved him into a toddler bed he would just play and play all night. We fixed that problem by putting his bed in a "bedroom" and his toys in a "playroom". We allow him to take one toy to bed with him and now he sleeps great.

My daughter won't nap in her bed, but she will konk out on the couch or in the recliner...if she's tired. The only sure way to get het to sleep, is in her car seat. Lately I'm finding that my 2 year old is napping less & less, so naps may be becoming a thing of the past! Sorry!

Hi,it id possable she is growing out of it or it could be timeing! I mean the time between when she wakes and when she is really ready for a nap-it could be she needs more exersise to be really tired enough to sleep .Maybe a nice walk before nap time would help? I know it really helps my 3 yeaar old grandson to nap.Good Luck.F.

Car Ride.

I have a 3 year old, who falls asleep like clockwork at preschool but at home, unless he is tired he won't sleep. But a car ride will do the trick. I use that when I want him to take a nap, otherwise, don't care. I prefer him to want to go to bed earlier if he has no nap.

I feel your pain. My 2 year old daughter has the same struggle. If she is not asleep when I put her down for a nap, then she loves to get in and out of bed constantly (sometimes she doesn't actually go to sleep until 2 hours after I put her down)

When she was in her crib she was going down for a nap around 11am. I have tried pushing her nap back (I try to get her in bed between 12:30-1pm) and that has helped a little. I also let her pick out a few books or a toy to have in her bed so she can play or read until she gets tired. Some days this works and other days it doesn't matter. We haven't found a perfect solution but those things are helping. I hope they work for you. Good luck!

Give her 2 very special things she likes such as a 2 princess dolls, flowers, Magic wands, dinosaurs. If she gets up take away 1 and if she gets up again take away the other. Reward her with a special activity of her choice if she takes a nap, such as finger painting, kids yoga. Have her do a lt of physical activity like an hour before and then a calming activity right before bedtime. also dim the lights and use black out curtains. This has worked for us. Our little one naps between 12:30 and 12:45.

Try a safety bar on the bed that is wat I had 2 do 4 mine wen they was young. But she just might b grown up b4 ur eyes. They grow fast. Take her on nature walks 2 the park or make up games 2 play. Outside games with fresh air r the best then a warm bath they usually r ready 4 bed at end of the day. B adventerous and creative. Their minds r at the curious age and luv 2 discover new things. And unfortunately naps r out of the question. They want activity. parks,chuck e cheese, nature walks, museums. B creative, paint, arts and crafts. Even food kidz luv playn with food. and makn things. Good luck.

Hi K.
I really feel for you. Changing from a crib to a toddler bed can really change the whole nap situation, as now they can just get up instead of being confined to their bed.
My son started jumping out of his crib at 17 months, so I had to put him in a toddler bed immediately. He never napped again. He also just wasn't a big sleeper.
Some of the things that I did try were taking him out and really running him around (although I usually pooped out before he did), and even timing it so that we would be in the car on the way home at nap time in hopes that he would fall asleep in the car at least. While nothing really worked for my son, this did work for other friends and their kids.
Since then, I tend to encourage friends to leave their kids in cribs a bit longer (if the child is happy in it) unless they're ready to deal with the changes in napping.
Many have suggested the quiet time idea, which is very important. Whether napping or not, down time is important.
I wish I had more solid advice for you. For now, let me just say that I understand what you're going through, from one mom to another.
All the best,
M.

I know how you feel I had the same problem with my first, I did the whole sit there and wait and it didn't work. If nap time is the only time time you are having the difficulty you might try having her lay with you on the couch until she drifts off and then tranfer her to the bed. This way she gets into the rythym of knowing that her new bed is safe enough to fall asleep in just like her crib was, alot of toddlers don't take the switch from crib to toddler bed well they don't like change it is a security thing just like a favorite blankie or a binki. Alot of the time it is just being anxious cause she can move around freely now, thats what she wants to do. You could also try the lets run it out method and take an outing after breakfast but before nap time time to a local park let her run it out there then she might even be out by the time you get home.

K.:

Just stay consistent in your routine. She may just be excited about the fact that she's now in a big girl bed and could go back to napping again. At the very least, if she continues to refuse to nap, call it "quiet time." You can leave her some of her favorite books or maybe a favorite lovey or two, anything that's a quiet activity so that she's not overly stimulated and can have some down time. Good luck.

Be persistant. I had problems with my youngest not wanting to take a nap. Even when she clearly was tired. (I was operating a day care in my home so this was somewhat of a problem) I would put on some soft music and tell her it was time to rest. Then give her the blanket and pat her back. In about a week's time, she would grab her mat and blanket and lie down. I still had to pat her back for a little while longer but she would nap. Good Luck:)

I actually rock or snuggle mine to sleep and then lay her down. Sometimes she still doesn't fall asleep but at least she gets some restful quiet time. We have more trouble on the days she is with her nanny (because both my husband and I work so we switch shifts etc. to minimize nanny time but she does have a few days a week with one and it actually works pretty well). Except, that is, for nap time. She just doesn't behave as well for the nanny in terms of snuggling quietly or rocking (which involves her settling and snuglling as well). Let me know if you figure it out because the more tools we have the more successful we are with our little ones. You often have to switch it up I find.

My daughter did the same thing - I concluded that she had outgrown her naps though, because she was fine all day - little to no crankiness (and she was only cranky if she didn't sleep long enough at night) - she sleeps about 12 hours at night, and that appears to work for her.

I would maybe knock her bedtime back a little - put her to bed a half hour earlier and see if that works. As long as she gets enough sleep at night, then there's not any need for a nap (even though it's much easier on us moms!!)

Hi K.,

I am a grandmother of a 3-year-old, have raised two daughters and have experience working with children professionally. Three things I have used: 1) have her lay on her tummy, gently run your hand on her back while she is laying down for her nap, relaxing her to sleep; 2) have her lay on her back, run your open hand, palm down gently down the middle of her forehead, down her nose, repeat this gently and somwhat slowly, she will get sleepy, her eyes will start to close, one of the times she will not reopen her eyes; 3) do hand sewing that needs to get done anyway, or anything else that is a priority that you can do in a chair facig her, so she can see you feeling comfortable that she can close her eyes and relax, yet you are not really interacting with her distracting her plus you can see her while you work and see if she has fallen asleep. Thank you for doing such a great job caring for your daughter.

L. R.

At 2yrs old, neither would any of my 3 kids. Quiet time, reading or playing with soft toys on the bed for 30 minutes was required, and then up and out back to playing. I put them to bed at 7:30pm. Don't go gradual on the bedtime, just do it. It's hard when it is light outside, but they need it. As long as they are in the bed, that's good enough, they will fall asleep.

my 3 year old has issues too. but i tell him to go lay down and read some books. he falls alseep without a fail. i love it. cause he doesnt want to go to sleep and he fights it. but when i tell him you need to go read, he goes to his bedroom and looks at books and passes out.
A. l.

hey don't feel bad, I have same issue with my 2 year old son. My husband recently switched the crib into toddled bed and for a little while he liked his bed but i said to him ok it's time to go nite nite and get a cupy of milk and lay him down or you could lay down on the flore by the bed, sometime it's work. or put a movie on and say mommy go lay down. i leave the room and don;t let her see you.
Well Good luck I hope this helps. L.
Let me know please here is e-mail ____@____.com

I've always looked at the total number of hours my children are sleeping to find out if they're getting enough sleep. A 2-year-old should be getting between 11.5-15.5 hours total per day. My youngest got all of this sleep during the night and has always had trouble taking naps. I just ensured she had "quiet time". She had to lay in her bed for at least one hour. She could read a book or listen to music, but she had to lay down for an hour. While I did not need to do this, you may offer a reward when your daughter stays in her bed and has "quiet time". It may be just a sticker chart, a trip to the park, or something else she likes to do or have that she doesn't normally get. While I don't like to use food as rewards, my daughter responds really well to ONE M&M for potty training (stickers worked for awhile but were short lived). Gerber fruit snacks worked well for my son at 2. My peditrician was also very adament that my daughter, even at 3, was still having "down time" during the day. He said it was really important for their well being. Good luck!

This happened to both of my children when they moved into a bed. The temptation to get up and play was just too great. :)
I realized very early that though my child fought it, he still had a definite need to nap in the day. The best advice I can give you is to keep trying and don't let the child be the boss. You put them in their room, turn off lights and maybe read them a book and try to make a nap time routine to help the child realize this is what will happen everytime and help them accept sleep. Then you just need to be consistent. If they get out of bed, put them back in. Shut the door if you have to. Do chores that are quiet or sit in their room and sing softly to yourself until the child is asleep. Put them back in bed, don't argue or threaten or talk to them, just get back to your routine and don't let them up until naptime is over. At first, they might not sleep at all. But when they understand that they don't really have something else to do and that nap time isn't optional, they will get into the groove and be grateful for the extra rest.

i am in the same situation that you are in. My daughter is 2 and in her own bed for the last few weeks. she hasn't napped in months now so i thought the bed thing would be good. She does well at night. what i do is sit outside her room so she can see me at night and ignore her completely until she gets up. Then i just continuely put her back in her bed or very firmly say lay down. sometime she fusses but i think she is l=earning how to put herself to sleep. make a schedule and stick with it. as for the nap, i try not to worry about it. my daughter is fussy by about 3, but it is such a fight to get her to nap - i don't worry to much about it. she sleeps 12hrs a night and that is great! Good luck to you

my son gave up his naps at 2 as well. it was extremely difficult for about 6 months but he really just didn't need to nap anymore. i was lucky that for a while he would stay in his bed for hours just reading and playing but that diminished until it went away and he was just done. it definitely cramped my style though. we couldn't be in the car for even 5 minutes past say 3:30/4:00 which was frustrating. i actually put him to sleep at 6pm every night (instead of 7) for a few months until he grew into the new schedule. this actually worked out fantastic since i had a baby as well so they both went down at 6.
if your daughter really still needs that nap, meaning napping during the day doesn't keep her up until all hours of the night, then why don't you try forcing her to fall asleep by taking a drive or a walk in the stroller? it means you have to be outdoors or trapped in a car for an hour but on the other hand if it gets her to nap and be normal for the rest of the day go for it.

It might be true that she is growing out of her naps, however, you are right that they need this downtime. I would suggest keeping the same nap schedule and setting a timer requiring her to have alone and quiet time. Give her several options...rest, read books or do a puzzle, etc...have her curtains/shades drawn and close her door to let her know regardless if she sleeps, this is quiet time.

That's what I did and it worked. Usually she fell asleep anyway.

Good luck,
JK-V
www.AisForAutism.net

When my boys were going through that transition stage I said it was fine if they didn't want to nap, but they had to have quiet time in their room. They could read through books or play with some quiet toys on their bed. But they had to stay in their room. This way we both got what we needed. I needed a break and half the time they would fall asleep anyway. So on the days when they really needed a nap - it still happened and on the days they didn't nap, we both got some down time. In the beginning I did have to keep a child knob on the door so they wouldn't sneak out, but after a while they seemed to enjoy their private time. My 8 year old still takes some quiet time when he needs it. It's worked out well and the boys all know how to entertain themselves very well. Good luck!

this happened with our daughter as well. I instituted "quiet time" instead of nap. She had to be in her room with quite activities (books, puzzles, etc.) and I left her in there for 1-1.5 hours, if she came out, I walked her back in and reminded her it was quiet time. For a while she would nap every 3rd or 4th day, but most days just had quiet time. We kept that up for a long time, as I was pregnant and really needed the down-time myself. Once the baby came though I've fallen out of the practice of even quiet time, but she's nearly three now so she makes it through the day without the NEED for it like when we first started quiet time.

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