Naps for 8 and 6 Year Olds

Updated on November 22, 2014
K.M. asks from Arvada, CO
18 answers

My daughter has made it clear that she does not want advice or opinions from me about how she is raising her children. However sometimes I have concerns about some of her child-raising decisions with my grandchildren. One particular thing has disturbed me for several years, I was hoping to get some opinions from this parenting group, which I find excellent. I think this is an intelligent, caring group and have read postings numerous times a week for over a year, and am interested in what you have to say.

Although the kids have fought against having to take naps for several years, they are "forced" to take 2-hour naps whenever they are not in school (weekends, holidays, etc.) They are not allowed to read or engage in other "quiet time" activities during nap time which is from 2-4 pm each day. They go to bed at 8:00 and wake up at 6:00. They are both avid readers.

They are told that they must sleep, whether they are tired or not. If they are unable to sleep, they are told they still need to rest their brains and take a break from activities with no distractions. They're both intense, gifted children, one is challenged with ADHD, and is on medication.

Both parents work, and the kids are well cared for before and after school. I believe one of the main reasons the kids have to take naps is so that their parents can have a break from these bright, intense kids, which I admit, can be exhausting even for me. Their mom also is in serious need of some quiet time in order to have a chance to manage the many details of managing a home on the weekends and perhaps obtaining a little rest herself. (She's in her mid forties and works very hard in her profession) I understand needing some time to herself, but do not understand why the kids cannot engage in quiet time activities during nap time instead of being told to sleep.

Although I am hoping that someone might offer a few thoughts that might assuage my concerns, I am interested in anything other posters may have to share on this subject. I know better than to try to change my daughter or son-in-law, and as I mentioned, they are not interested in hearing my thoughts or concerns about their parenting decisions, so I keep them to myself but I worry that being forced to take 2-hour naps regardless of how the kids feel about it, or whether or not they feel the need for rest, could be psychologically or emotionally harmful to them.

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So What Happened?

I appreciate the thoughtful responses I have received so far. Mindy: they *are* allowed to attend friend's birthday parties during "nap time" or occasionally they have family activities outside of their home instead. They only need to take naps when they aren't involved in other parent-approved activities outside of their home...but that is still a lot of days.

Lilly: I don't know how they manage to make their kids do this either. I know the kids hate having to take naps. Their parents are really big into consequences so perhaps the consequences are worse than the naps. I don't know if they can get away with sneaking books are not. My granddaughter told me they took her flashlight away because they caught her reading in bed after lights out one night. I asked her how her mommy knew she was reading since the kids have to have their doors closed at night (and during nap time) and she said her mom could hear her turning the pages !!?!!

Featured Answers


answers from Washington DC on

while i can see the value in EVERYONE getting a break, i'm with you in that forcing kids this old to 'take naps' is belittling.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I wish my 3 would take naps still, there are many days when they really need them.
If it's working for the family, let it go. It's not harming anyone to get a little extra sleep in an otherwise busy schedule.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

There is nothing wrong with quiet time. You can't force anyone to take a nap but a good rest won't hurt anyone. I'd stay out of it. Especially since she's made it clear to you to stay out of it. Seems like this is a surface issue and that you and your daughter's relationship runs a little deep and murky.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

This is ridiculous and sounds like lazy parenting. Kids should enjoy the weekend, not dread the weekend! I have never met a six or eight year old that was taking naps. I would be concerned that napping could mess up their sleep cycle (if they actually did manage to sleep). If I slept for two hours in the afternoon I can guarantee you I would be going to sleep two hours later than usual.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Your daughter doesn't want your input, so I think it's time to try and let it go. She is not "harming" her children. This type of situation doesn't warrant a CPS report or any "intervention." She is choosing to raise her kids with naps. Is it a bit different? YES. But, she's probably doing it so that she can manage her family the best way possible.

Think about this... What if she is so stressed during the day (with them not napping) that she reacts and hits one of them? This alternative is worse than nap time.

Just my opinion. It's time to let this one go...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

To nap or not to nap. Not a big deal. When my son was these ages Sunday afternoons we would have a group nap. Now he's 20 and my youngest is 18 and we all nap after church on Sundays. Even my hubby, the King of Antinap is now touting the benefits of the afternoon nap.

You may not agree with their parenting which is fine, everyone can have an opinion but these are NOT your children so don't interfere.

I agree with others. If you invite them to spend time with you then they get to avoid the nap other than that your role is to be wonderful grandmother and lavish love on the grandchildren without interfering with the parents parenting of their kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Regardless of what people on the internet think or say about the subject, what does it matter when you've stated many times your "daughter has made it clear that she does not want advice or opinions from [you] about how she is raising her children"?

If you think you would like to and have time, offer to babysit the kids in the afternoons. Otherwise, all you can do is stay out of it and be happy they are so well-cared for in many other ways.

ETA: If you are getting your information about naptimes from the grandkids, they might not be telling the whole truth anyway. Your "SWH" sounds a little like you M. be feeding the idea to the kids that rest time and whatever schedule their parents have set up is a bad thing. Not nice to undercut a parent to their child, IMO.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Seems a little odd yes, but what if you have them over and teach them meditation? That would be a perfect "activity" for them to do to use some of that time wisely. Basic relaxation techniques can help them throughout life. Other than that, give them some small, soft animals or finger puppets to quietly enjoy in bed. :) Sounds like a long time to be awake in bed for that age. I'm sure it's a way for mom and dad to get a long break in the afternoon and get a nap in as well. It's probably best for the children if the parents get that nice break so they can get through the evening without losing patience.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It sounds like your daughter needs things just *so* and is trying to shoehorn her kids into what she needs. I need breaks from my 6 yr old sometimes, but that's when I tell her I need a break, go do x or y for an hour. I can hear her without her being in my face and without forcing her to lay in silence in her room. My DD has not napped reliably since she was 2 and certainly not for 2 hours. What you might also look at is your daughter's overall well-being and health. Perhaps if you addressed that you are concerned about HER that will filter over into concerns for the kids as well. If her coping is this strict time window of solitude where they can't even read, what is that really about? They manage because they demand it and enforce it, even if the kids hate it. If they are really big into consequences, it feeds into my theory that your daughter is very controlling and authoritarian. Heaven help them when the kids are teens.

I would try to be a soft place for the kids to fall on off days, so they can spend time with you doing their reading and whatever. Maybe what your DD really needs is respite care.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Seems odd to me. Particularly the child on ADHD medication. I might be mistaken, but I was under the impression that most ADHD meds causes children to have problems sleeping. Perhaps someone with more experience in that arena can chime in on that. (maybe it is only specific to particular meds, I don't know).

My kids gave up naps by about 4 years old, so I probably shouldn't comment further. My youngest, when she stayed past noon in PreK (most days she was picked up at dismissal at 11:45, but some days I let her stay in "aftercare" due to other activities I had going on), they took a nap after eating lunch. My daughter almost never was able to fall asleep. She was allowed to put her nap mat way in the back of the room in a more secluded area and read quietly instead (she was an avid reader by her 4th birthday).

I agree with the posters (and you) who see this as your daughter's way of coping with her kids and her own sanity (SHE needs downtime from them) rather than a healthy thing for the kids in their own right. If she were allowing them to read quietly in their rooms alone, or drawing, I would have no issue with this at all. But you cannot make people fall asleep.
And frankly, I cannot see how they are going to sleep at 8 pm after having had a 2 hour nap up until 4 pm. ??

Why in the world are they getting up at 6:00 a.m. on the weekends? That seems unusual to me, unless their body clocks just wake them up on their own at that time. But a forced "alarm clock" wake up at 6 on the weekends sounds a bit harsh, as well. (I'm not obtuse and I know that farm families do this every day, and earlier, etc... but that does not sound like the situation here at all. It sounds... militaristic.) Weekends should be for relaxing--for everybody. Maybe if mom didn't get up at the crack of dawn on the weekend, she'd have more patience throughout the day... just a thought.

As far as what you can do? Probably nothing. And in addition to that nothing, I wouldn't say anything to the kids that would encourage them to hate it or feel like they are being sleighted in any way. They don't need help with that.
But maybe offer to have them for the weekend once in a while. Mom can get a break, and the kids can, too. That's about all you can do.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I've never heard of regular weekend naps for school aged children (my own kids are in HS and college). I can't imagine that they need the naps at that age. However, I can't see where it is a risk to their health, and while you may find it ridiculous (as do I), it's really not your place to say. You've said that your daughter has made it clear that she does not want your advice on childrearing. She is a capable adult in her mid-40's. She and her husband are capable of making their own decisions even if you do not agree with those decisions. They are the parents and you are not.
I do feel badly for their kids, though, since most elementary kids spend their weekend afternoons going on family outings or having playdates with friends or going to activities. They are missing out on what they ought to be doing. But I'm fairly sure they won't be scarred for life from being made to lay in bed for two hours, they will just be bored.
So, if they get invited to a birthday party, they don't get to go? They never get taken to the zoo or a museum or a fair or amusement park?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I can understand the parents wanting quiet time, but a 2 hour nap seems a but much. I'm not sure if it would affect them psychologically or emotionally, but it will mess up their sleeping times. I would think by 8pm they are not tired and have trouble sleeping.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Our son was still napping at 7 yrs old.
He couldn't at school anymore and he was one grumpy kid after school.
Sometimes he'd grab a quick nap after school.
No one forced him to - he was just growing very quickly and very tired.
There are some cultures that really go in for a mid afternoon siesta.
I really don't think a nap is going to be psychologically/emotionally harmful to anyone.
Why does it bother you so much?
This isn't a hill worth dying on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

It wouldn't work for my girls and I certainly see nothing wrong with allowing the kids to read during quiet time, but I know your daughter isn't alone in this. When I was growing up my neighbors, who were also distant relatives of ours, made their three children nap during the weekends and holidays. We always thought a forced family nap was strange because why sleep when you aren't tired? I think the kids were allowed to stop napping at 13 or 14. Everyone turned out just fine. The oldest daughter is a pharmacist. The son is happy and is marrying a preacher next year. The youngest works in HR, is happily married and has two sons.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

How exactly does your dd manage this? My kids aren't special needs but they would certainly not be quiet for 2 hrs willingly. I bet they are sneaking books etc.. in fact this question is hard for me to believe because short of beating my kids they would never have cooperated with this unless they liked it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

This seems unreasonable...children this age need about 10 hours of sleep per day. If they nap during the day, do they sleep at night? I have kids the same ages (and a 3 yr. Old who doesn't nap everyday). My 6 yr. Old son is medicated for ADHD as well, and stopped napping consistently when he was 2. Children with ADHD typically require less sleep....and stimulant meds cause trouble falling asleep too. It would be downright cruel for me to expect my son to nap for 2 hours. In fact, at night I let him have a flashlight and look at books or play quietly otherwise he is in and out of bed keeping everyone else up because he can't settle. Another issue is that kids, especially those with ADHD crave and benefit from increased amounts of movement and exercise, which increases the amount of dopamine that is lacking in thier brains, which in turn helps them relax and focus. She should be sending them outside to play instead or at least allowing them to do yoga which would benefit them a lot more than making them be alone and sedentary.



answers from Indianapolis on

I wonder if they actually go to sleep. Most kids are done with naps by this age. My daughter stopped at 4. I tried making her take naps but she would roll around the bed talk to her stuffed animals and then cry so I stopped naps.

Unfortunately even though this doesn't seem right they are her kids and there isn't anything you can do to stop this. I guess you could encourage her to stop but I don't think you can do anything about it.



answers from Los Angeles on

You can't force someone to sleep & it seems mean.
I would definitely mention something to her (make it seem in passing like
small talk so she won't tune you out) but say something of the nature of
this: "they're too old to take naps. Nobody that age takes naps. You
could have them in their rooms for quiet time to do what they want that
is quiet like read, do puzzles, play quietly so you can have your time".
Maybe even suggest she take the kids to the mall or park so they can
play w/kids their own age so she can rest & read a book while
watching them there.
Or.....I'd offer to take them as often as I could so the kids could be kids &
the mom can rest/sleep/have her quiet time like she seems to want/need to do.

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