Is It Time to Cut My 2 Year Old's Nap?

Updated on January 10, 2016
G.L. asks from Woodside, NY
16 answers

My 28 month old daughter is just not tired at bedtime! No matter how early or how late or how short or how long her nap is, she is still wide awake by 9:00! I would really like her to be asleep by 8:00 as we have to be up by 6:30 to get my son ready for school, but with these late bedtimes she is not getting enough night sleep and just wakes up so miserable. Her nap used to be about 2 hours and I thought cutting it down would help but even if it's just an hour she still won't go to sleep by 8:00. I have tried several bedtimes: 7:00,7:30, 8:00, 8:30, and they're all the same. It takes her 30-60 minutes to fall asleep. Is it time to cut her nap already?

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So What Happened?

Last week we went to visit her grandma and my daughter was so excited the first day, she totally wouldn't nap. She wasn't cranky about it at all and I was able to put her to bed at 7:30 where she fell asleep in less than 10 minutes and slept all night until 6:30! It was unbelievable! But I have hesitated to try it again. I just can't believe she might stop napping already for her age.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I don't know. But I will say that both my kids stopped napping at age 2.5. I thought it was too young but that is simply the age they gave up naps. One of my friends had kids who napped through ages 5 and 7! I guess every kid is really different. It's too bad you can't let her nap, go to bed at 9, and then sleep later in the morning. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Asheville on

I think that she probably is overtired, and is why she is up so late. I would suggest trying an even earlier bedtime, like 7:00 or 7:30. Watch for tired signs around that time, like slowing down, clumsiness, staring off into space. Once you see these, it's time for bed. Waiting past this "sweet spot" can cause them to get overtired and stay up late or have nightwakings.

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answers from Miami on

I disagree with cutting her nap. She will do that herself at some point. Instead, put her to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 instead of at 8:00. OR when you see her rub her eyes. Move quickly because that's a WINDOW of time that you can get her down.

The 8:00 can be bath time. Then brush teeth, go in bedroom and put on nightie, and then turn the lights down and read books to her. Tuck her in and leave her to sleep. It will take a while to get her used to the new routine. At 6:30, get her up. No more than the 2 hours of naptime, but consistently get her in the bed to read by 8:30. Bedtime routines shouldn't be long, but loving and quiet.

If you are letting her watch TV after dinner, stop doing that. NO TV at all after dinner. That prevents sleep in many children.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Ugh - I feel your pain! Usually they give up the nap about 6 months before they really can afford to go without it, you know? So it's just miserable either way. But your current situation isn't working at all, so you may have to change it up. What a lot of people do - partly for the kid and partly for parental sanity - is institute a mandatory Quiet Time (as they do in preschools) where napping is not required but sit-down or lie-down time in the room is required. That means no screen time, no dancing around, but they can have soft music and sit and read a book or three. One of my stepdaughters had a child-sized soft chair that looked kind of like a typical living room chair in miniature but the bottom cushion folded out to form a kind of a bed with a chair back/arms. Her kids took a favorite pillow and an afghan for snuggle time. Sometimes they fall asleep there, sometimes they don't. They key is to make it "special fun quiet time" and not "punishment because Mommy has just had it up to here with your crabbiness time".

But I agree with you that she really needs the night sleep more, if you can only have one. And you all need a less hectic morning.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My 2 yo granddaughter wasn't going to sleep at night. Her parents stopped giving her naps. She was then cranky in the afternoon. Put her back on naps and she slept better at night. For them, it was finding a balance between naps and bed time. Some days she naps for 2 hours. Other times for 30 minutes. Sometimes she seems tired late morning. Sometimes late afternoon. Her parents just watch for sleepy/tired and lay her down.

Her sister is 4 and in full day preschool. They have a quiet time during which the lay down. Since she started doing that, she often lays down on her own to take a nap at same time her little sister does.

I suggest it's a matter of trying different ways/times until you find one that works. Stay with one time/way for several days to give them time to adjust.

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answers from St. Louis on

I would cut her naps and allow a 15 - 20 minute nap if she needs one. Give it a try, what could it hurt at this point.

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answers from Norfolk on

Our son napped till he was 7 yrs old.
I know some kids drop naps - but ours NEEDED the extra sleep!

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answers from Washington DC on

some kids just don't want to sleep on demand. schedules are awesome for moms, but if a little internal metronome isn't coming with you on it, you're only setting yourself up for battles.
if she's a night owl, she is, but it's interesting that she's wide awake at 9 no matter what her nap situation.
what i would try would be a mandatory quiet time, but keep it to an hour. and although it sounds counter-intuitive, i'd put her to bed earlier. sometimes overtiredness can make for a wakeful baby.
i hope she evens out soon.

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answers from Kansas City on

Hmmm. If this not going to bed till 9 has been consistent for more than a week or so, then yeah, maybe it's time to cut the nap. And that sucks. My daughter napped until she was 5. My son stopped napping at 2. He might have been 2.5, but it was still way too early for me!

For us, my son was just wound up. He was happy to play and be busy all day long but when it was night, he just wanted to go to bed. So for a while he was asleep by 7:30ish each night. That lasted for a couple years. He's 6 now and is still asleep by 8 every night. He can stay awake longer if it's some kind of occasion and I allow them to be up later, but otherwise he's perfectly happy to crawl into bed and usually falls asleep within 10 minutes.

So, my point is...I think she's probably ready. And although it sounds like it's terrible to give it up, and it kind of is, it will make your life easier! I personally find it much more relaxing to just put my kids to bed and have the evening to myself and my husband.

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answers from Portland on

I let my kids sleep when they wanted to - took me a while to figure that out, but mine gave up naps when they showed they didn't need them. They just didn't need to go down after lunch. Sometimes they wouldn't make it till supper, so they'd have a cat nap. Then I'd juggle their bedtime (around 7-730pm that age) and move it up so that they could go without the cat nap and just off to bed earlier.

My kids - if they miss that pocket or window where falling asleep is easy - will become overtired, or wired. They did this as babies, toddlers and kids. Even my teens - if they don't go up to bed when I tell them to (when I see them yawn) will become kind of wired. So I usually just get everyone ready early (even my teens - I'll say "just go get in your pajamas" - say before we watch TV at night, so that they are ready to go if it hits). But my 2 year olds would have been wired at 9 pm and would be hard to get down. Are you doing a routine? We did supper, bath, jammies and then they could play quietly or whatever - but that routine earlier on right after supper got them thinking about bed.

Good luck :) Keep us posted.

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answers from Los Angeles on

When dies she nap?
Does she fight it?
Normally I'd never suggest a child NOT napping. Maybe try every other day?

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answers from Springfield on

nither of my kids napped past age 2 unless sick. you could cut naptime to 15-20 minute recharge to see if it helps.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Just because you cut her nap out doesn't mean she will go to bed at a certain time. 8pm is really an okay bedtime but 9pm worked much better for us. Why does she have to get up at 6:30? If your son is the one getting up how does that include her? Let her sleep in a bit.

If she's getting up at 6:30 and going down at 8 that's not bad but again, if she isn't a kiddo that goes down that early it's not going to make any difference.

I think kids need to keep their nap as long as possible because if they go to Pre-K they are under child care laws and they are required to lay down and take a nap or at least lay there and be quiet. Even the first semester of Kindergarten they have them lay down and take naps. Some don't sleep but they do have to lay quietly so others can sleep.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My kids both dropped naps by 2 1/2. I was glad when they dropped napping, as I was no longer tied down and having to plan my day around nap times. They slept well at night, a solid ten hours, and they weren't tired or cranky during the day.

ETA: Where I am from pre-schoolers and kindergarteners are definitely not required to nap. I can't even imagine such a thing!

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answers from Chicago on

I had to do that with my youngest. He would never go to bed at night. Even if he'd just sleep for 15 mins in the car, he'd be up until 10:00 or 11:00 pm. Once I got rid of the naps, I could put him to bed at 7:00 and he'd sleep until morning. It was life-changing! Sure, I had to put a lot of effort into keeping him awake in the car when we'd go pick up my older kids froms school, and he'd be cranky around dinner time, but it was worth it!

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answers from New York on

Two nights ago she slept from 9:30-6:30 so she was pretty tired still in the morning and I was able to give her an early nap. It ended before noon so I was then able to put her to bed by 8:00. I tried 7:30 but it still took her 30 minutes to fall asleep. But she slept from 8:00-6:00 so she got 10 hours which I was so happy with, but then she wanted a really early nap from 9:30-11:00 which I wasn't expecting. Then again last night she was asleep by 8:00 and slept until 6:00 this morning. But again she wanted a really early nap at 10:00. I'm just so confused!

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