2.5 Year Old Not Napping

Updated on March 13, 2011
C.T. asks from Carrollton, TX
9 answers

My 2.5 year-old son has recently stopped sleeping during his nap time. I put him down every day at about the same time (1:30 or 2:00), after reading stories and singing songs. After I say goodbye and close the door, he stays in his crib, talking, singing, and playing with his toys. He used to fall asleep after 20 minutes of this, but lately he stays awake for 1.5- 2 hours before I go in and get him. The house is quiet, and his baby brother is sleeping at the same time. He doesn't cry and he's not in a bad mood when I get him (or while in his crib), but he is extra cranky at night time. He sleeps for 10 - 10.5 hours at night time, but I don't think that should be enough for a 2.5 year old ... is it? This has been going on for 6 days now. I plan to keep putting him down for a 'nap' for a while, even if he doesn't sleep, because I think the quiet time is good for him. Any advice on getting him to sleep again? Or, do I already have to say 'goodbye' to daytime naps?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses ... on both sides of the issue! Those who said he should be napping or that it might be a phase gave me hope, and those who said their kids stopped at two made me less worried! I don't think the problem was a lack of exercise ... we already are very active, and with the beautiful fall weather, we've been spending nearly all day outdoors walking, hiking, and playing at playgrounds. I think all the activity was part of the reason he wasn't fighting me on going to his crib ... he did need a break. In any case, he did take a nap for the last two days. So, hopefully that will continue or he'll at least nap sometimes. Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

I have to be the odd man out here and tell you that no, 10 hours is probably not enough and no, he doesn't sound ready to give up naps yet. If he were ready, he wouldn't be cranky in the evenings. Also, it is only going to get worse because losing sleep has a cumulative effect. Just because a 2 year old stops napping (to play and sing) doesn't mean that the 2 year old knows what is good for him! I recommend the book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Very good SCIENTIFIC information about how much sleep children need. My 2.5 year old gave up naps for 6 weeks or so... I didn't give up trying because I knew he needed them. I eventually found out that what he needed was an hour of playtime in the backyard before his nap. So now, he goes out around 12:00, plays for about 45 minutes, I feed him lunch at his picnic table and between 1 and 1:30 he goes down for his nap. He sleeps 2-3 hours for his nap. He goes to bed every night at 7:30 and sleeps to 7:30-8:00 in the morning. The best piece of advice in the sleep book is that the more kids sleep, the more they want to sleep. Please email me if you need some support!

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answers from Dallas on

I think your young man needs some run and play or wrestle time before his lunch and nap. Maybe outside or tumbling in the livingroom, tickle time... something to get his heart really pumping and muscles moving. Wii Dance mat?? I dunno what's out there anymore. Teach him jumping jacks or something for rainy/nasty days. LOL... Isn't there a kids cardio series, or kids yoga??? Afterwards, wash his face, hands and FEET (it's relaxing!)with a wash cloth, change him into his nap-time jammies (for effect). I just CAN'T take a nap in my regular clothes, even if I'm sick. I HAVE to put on P.J.'s...

Then feed him his lunch with some soft music on and dim the lights.

My girls took naps until they started school. Who am I kidding... they STILL take naps if I let them... and they're 18 and 21!! hmmm... Maybe I'm too good at the nap game. LOL ;-)


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answers from Dallas on

My daughter is just over 2 and she has started skipping hers occasionally, especially on the weekends when her daddy is home from work. I still make her have quiet time and sometimes she falls asleep. During the week she usually takes a 2-3 hour nap on her days at home with me. She is in school 3 days a week only sleeps about an hour there. She is cranky on those days. I like to wear her out before nap and I let her know it's coming, we have vigorous play time before lunch, quiet time afterward, and then I put her down by 1. If I follow a good routine, she will usually sleep. She sleeps from 8 at night to 7:30 in the mornings.

I'm not ready for her to stop naps but I know that some kids try to give them up at this age. I would keep trying with him. Have you tried putting him down earlier, like 12:30 or 1, not sure if it would have any effect but you could try it and see.
Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

According to my pediatrician 10 hours was enough for a 2 week old!

It's wonderful he is willing to play in his crib quietly for so long! Enjoy it while you can.

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answers from Dallas on

Yup, I think your nap has left the building. Enjoy the the fact that he's happy by himself during this time. Mine kicked his naps about a week or two before turning 3. It was a transition for sure. Now if he naps, he gets super cranky. You might want to try putting him down a little earlier in the evening to see if that helps him.

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answers from Dallas on

Nap time is over....sorry to say but it's gone. I have three kids and they kicked the naps when they were between the ages of 2 - 3. It's normal, maybe just turn that time into mommy & me time with him since your 6 month old will be napping.

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answers from Knoxville on

Hi there. I have 2.5 identical twins. I have had this problem very occassionally with my girls. Sometimes, the kid is just not tired enough for a nap. It is probably not a good idea to keep toys in the crib with the exception of one snuggly stuffed animal. The crib should be pleasant and comfortable, but it is also a place for sleep, not play for 2 yr old. I have had one of my twins throw everything out of her crib, even removing the crib sheet. I go in, give her back her blanket, and sternly tell her that Mama said its nappy time and that I will not come in here again. Usually that works and she falls asleep, even if an hour later than her sister. Sometimes, even that doesn't work, and I just scoop her up, close the door, tell her no TV and not to wake her sister up. If she does wake her sister up, she gets time-out. If she gets mean, she gets time-out.

Most kids need at least one nap a day until they are 4-5 yrs old. Sleep science says that 2 yr olds need a minimum of 10.5 hours of night time sleep, and 1-3 hours of day time sleep. (For my own children, they wake up on their own, usually by 6:30am, stay up until 10:00am, go for a nap until 11:30-12:00p, then back down for a nap around 4:45ish to 5:45ish. They go to bed promptly at 8:30p. I rarely (and I mean rarely!) deviate from nap time or sleep time, because I am of the opinion that no situation or circumstance in my life, other than an emergency, is more important than my kids' health and wellbeing--and sleep is a major component of well-being.

It might be wise to make bed time 30 minutes earlier, or try putting him down for a nap at an earlier time. Some kids operate on a different clock than mom and dad. I certainly agree though that even though he might not nap for you, quiet time is necessary for kids so they can process everything they are learning during the day.

Good luck to you :-)



answers from Chicago on

My daughter just turned two. She napped every day of her life, but now, no! When I close her door, she tries to get out of her crib and cries. She does not want to nap, but she still gets a nap in every few days or she'll crash.



answers from Atlanta on

Hello, Some kids are done by 2 with naps, but you could try to put him down a little bit later. 10 hours is a good amount of time for a 2 year old, specially if he is not that active during the day. Once I went out of town for a week and my 2 year old son didn't want to nap. The doctor told me to give him benadryl for three days before naps to get him back to his schedulle and it worked.

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