At 2 1/2, Son Fights Naptime, Any Solutions?

Updated on December 27, 2008
L.D. asks from Oconomowoc, WI
14 answers

My oldest son has just recently started trying to get out of taking his afternoon nap. I do believe it it partly due to the cold weather; we can't just run outside and burn off some energy, what, with it being so cold and all. He doesn't feel physically tired. So, I actually stepped his naptime back an hour so as to shorten it. Now I put my youngest down first, spend quiet time with my oldest and then he goes down. But quite often he won't nap. Has anyone experienced this sudden change? Did you find a solution that worked for you? Is this age a milestone for something big that might be making him too anxious to sleep? (Unfortunately he can't make it all day without losing his mind...he gets the 'crazy eye', if you know what I mean because he is just TOO tired.)

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone, for all of the tips, ideas and similar stories. I agree completely that he still needs a nap most days, and I wish all who wrote that their kiddos may be growing out of naps would reconsider. I have found that I need to move it up a bit to make it happen, also to burn more energy in the morning hours prior to lunch. I also cut his nap short when he does sleep, so as not to throw off his night sleeping pattern. I think he is just going through some changes and we are going to work out those kinks...he is funny now, when he hasn't napped, and quiet time was too short, he will break down and then tell me, "I'm tired, Mom." So, thanks again to everyone, and happy momming!

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H.A.

answers from Waterloo on

The closer my kids got to 3 yrs, the more they grew out of naps. I just put them down (even if its to watch a DVD) to "rest" in the afternoon. If they fall asleep- great! If not- at least they had some down time.

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C.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

My toddler suddenly changed his nap schedule a few months ago. He used to wake up at 7 (still does), take his first nap around 9 or 10 am, and then a second one around 2 pm. Now, he will usually just do one nap at 1 pm. Sometimes he goes down earlier (one time at 10 am), but he rarely takes a 2nd nap, even if he is obviously very tired. I just make sure he has plenty of down time on those days.
My 6-year-old gets home from school at 4:30 so they have TV and toy time from then until dinner an hour later, get ready for bed after dinner, and are usually in bed by 8. They get about 11 hours of sleep at night. Combined with his 2 to 2 1/2 hour nap, he's getting the amount of sleep a 2-year-old needs. http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-much-sleep-does-your-chil...

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B.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

My twins, now 4 1/2, started this pattern about a year ago--actually my daughter moreso than my son--so we just let her stay up and then go to bed early.

It made it difficult to plan our day, but on the other hand, it was nice to focus on the awake child during the afternoon, and her brother during the evening. Sometimes she crashed so early she missed dinner, but she'd make up for it the next day. I found I had to stay very flexible. Now there are days when I don't want them to nap, because I need quiet time at night, but they do anyway if we go for a car ride.

Other times, whe I want them to nap, I'll just say "You don't have to sleep, but let's just lie down and read some books together." That takes the pressure off, and they don't fight it so much. If they're tired enough, they'll zonk out after a book or two.

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C.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

I think he might be done with naps. My son is just turning 1 year old, and he only takes one nap a day, for about 2 hours, just to give you a point of reference. At the rate things are going, I don't expect my own son to be napping at all when he is 2 1/2!

I would eliminate the nap and then bump up his bedtime a little. Good luck!

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J.M.

answers from Milwaukee on

Does he take any naps? By 2 1/2 my daughter wasn't napping at all (unless she was really tired) and my friends daughter and my nephew both cut out naps by their 2nd b-day. Until she was 2, my daughter had 2 naps a day, and shortly after that dropped one and a few months later dropped the other, so that is why I ask if he has 2. If he does, drop one. But it sounds like he doesn't so it is common in my experience. I would give him quiet time and that way if he is tired he can sleep and if he is not, he at least has some time to himself (and you to yourself) and maybe that will help with the "crazy eye" lol. What time does he have his nap? I use to do in home daycare and I moved her up to right after lunch and that seemed to buy us a few more weeks/months of napping at least.

K.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

We are going through the same thing at our house too. My daughter is almost 2 1/2 years old and has been trying to get out of naps. My hubby said that maybe she does not need a nap any more, and he said this in front of our daughter.... so the next day when I told our daughter it was nap time she said "No mommy! Daddy said I did not need to nap any more." So do not talk about this subject around your child because more then likely they will use it against you.

Anyway it just so happened that I just got my parents magazine and they had an article about naps. Here is what it said... kids up to age 5 still needs an afternoon nap to keep from being cranky. Children from ages 1-4 needs 10-12 hours of sleep (sometimes more) this includes night and day time nap, ages 4 and up needs 10 hours. So if the child only gets 9 hours of sleep at night then they need at least an hour nap if not longer. They also suggested that if the child will not nap tell them that they have to have quiet time in bed, obviously night time is still bedtime and a must to sleep. I usually have a stuff animal & a book or two to keep my daughter occupied BUT with in 30mins she usually falls asleep for an hour or two, but I do have to tell her EVERYDAY that she needs at least an hour of quiet time in bed.

A big problem for us... She was able to get at her light and she would turn that on during nap and started to turn it on at night. So we now have moved everything away from the light switch so she leaves it off, we also have put everything she could move to stand on to the living room otherwise she would just push that over to the light switch.

Oh the joys of nap time!

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S.S.

answers from Milwaukee on

I hate to say it, but perhaps he's done napping. My daughter is also 2 and a half and 7 weeks ago (2 weeks before our third was born), she stopped napping all together...couldn't have been worse timing! :)

I now send her and her older brother upstairs to have some quiet time together...they play with Legos and Playmobiles and she watches him play Leapster. I've now adjusted and let go of the fact that I'd get a break during the day.

I wish you the best in the adjustment!

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B.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

If he won't nap, you can still enforce a "quiet time" where he can watch a movie in your bed or something, and he has to stay there until the movie is over or you come and get him. Then maybe he'll just happen to fall asleep. That's what we do sometimes with my 2.5 yr old, when he refuses to nap. It usually works (he falls asleep).
But then, at some point, I guess our children will stop taking a nap altogether. But it sounds like yours still needs one. Good luck!!

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T.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

I definately know what you are talking about. Our 2 year old has been refusing to take naps for several months now, he needs to be really tired in order to do it and nothing short of a car ride will put him to sleep. He too cannot make it a whole day without loosing control in which case mom and dad start loosing their minds and control as I am sure you know what I mean. I have basically just started explaining to him that he needs to take quiet time in his room for a while (we give about 1 1/2 - 2 hours and then he can come down. He is able to play, look at books whatever but we start the time with one of us reading him a couple of stories and then rocking him a little bit. Then we tuck him into bed and let him do whatever he does. I feel that it is just isn't worth the battle to get him to sleep, as long as he has quiet time and I get some quiet (get stuff done) time that works for me and he will hopefully work through it on his own. Sorry I don't have better news, good luck!

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D.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

My suggestion is to find indoor ways to burn some of that energy off so he will nap: try a music video like laurie berkner or the wiggles and crank it up and dance with him, set up an obstacle course that he needs to jump over, go through etc, take a jump rope and swing around and make him jump over...can you bring any bikes indoors for downstairs?? play dodge ball with bean bags or small balls.

When we are stuck inside, we always try to find stuff to get the kids up and active and usually helps with naps. Also, keep the tv to a minimum and use at nap time for a treat with a special movie or show. That way they tend to be more willing to settle down to watch it.

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S.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

L.,

He is still young enough to need a nap every day. He is probably just testing you. Be firm. When my kids were older and started fighting the nap, I would tell them they didn't have to sleep. But they did have to lay very still and keep their eyes shut for 1 hour. Of course they fell asleep within 10-15 minutes.

Good luck,
S.

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L.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is only 22 months and most days she refuses a nap. She's up by 8 am but in these winter months when they don't get out to wear off their energy she doesn't have any reason to take a nap. She will be sleeping by 8pm tho which is nothing that I mind. He's probably done napping. Other thing to do is to take them to an indoor playground like Eagles nest in New Brighton or Adventure Park in Ham Lake. I do that with my kids every so often (since it does cost some $) but if I take them there right after lunch (1130) she's sleeping by time we leave usually around 1-130 and usually takes an hour and a half nap and ready for bed by 9pm. There's just no burning of energy so they just cant take a nap. We do quiet time, or sometimes watching a favorite movie and laying down on the couch can do it also

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J.O.

answers from Wausau on

Sometimes my 2 1/2 yr old will skip his regular naptime and then he usually will either go to bed a few hours earlier, or he will take a late nap (5 or 6pm to 7 or 8pm) and then be up for an hour or two before bed.

What I've noticed is that on the days that he skips his nap, he has been showing signs of sleepiness EARLIER than his usual naptime. If I put him down for nap earlier he will go to sleep, but I let him stay awake until his regular naptime, he is too revved up to sleep. You could try for a few days to put him down whenever he shows signs of sleepiness, even if it is earlier (or later) than his normal nap time, and see if that helps.

Another option if he is up past his nap time is to have him do several short periods of "rest time". This is 15 or 20 minutes of listening to soothing music alone in his room, on his bed. Choose a CD that is 20 minutes long or start one in the middle. When the music stops, he can resume his day.

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J.A.

answers from Omaha on

AskDrSears.com is helpful for all sorts of sleep questions.

My daughters gave up their naps about that age and I really wasn't wanting to give it up! However, that was what their bodies needed. I would still make some quiet time with your oldest and enjoy it with him.

The days are long but the years are short. Enjoy the time you have and hold them close.

Happy Holidays!
J.