To Nap, or Not to Nap - Oxnard,CA

Updated on December 09, 2010
K.B. asks from Oxnard, CA
10 answers

I have an almost 3 1/2 year old son and for the past few months nap time has become an issue. For awhile the pattern was a nap most days with a couple days where he layed there restless for up to an hour and a half. He is tired, rubbing eyes and yawning but just wont fall asleep. On those days by about dinner time he is sooooooo grumpy. Two things will happen, 1)he will fall asleep around 6 which is a bad thing because he wakes up around 8 and doesn't go back to sleep until its really late, or 2)we endure the grumpy monster until bedtime at which point it is still a struggle to get him to bed because I think he is overly tired. Plus factor in that my hubby isn't happy when he comes home from a tough day at work and ds is grumpy. When hubby comes home from work he wants a happy child to spend time with. My inability to get him to nap is reflected poorly against my mothering skills. I'm home all day with the kids, I need to take of this issue. So what do I do? I have lunch at noon, let the kids play while I do dishes, then its story time, then nap time(about 1:30). I have to pick up my stepson from school at 2:55 so I leave the house at 2:40. So the pressure is on every day to get him to sleep no later than 1:30 or his nap gets interrupted.

Any ideas mom? I welcome your thoughts and suggestions, as always.


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answers from New York on

You may want to start slowing him down sooner... make sure that his room is very dark... keep the house quiet and slow for the hour before nap time. You can't force him to sleep and many children give up their naps around this age- whether they still need them or not. Just make sure that nothing "interesting" is happening while he's trying to settle.

When my son (2.5) has these "no nap" days, one of us (me, husband or daycare) will lay down with him and look through books so that he's at least resting.

BTW- it's not a reflection of your parenting skills. It's a reflection of his getting older. He'll probably be rid of the nap altogether within the year!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I used to hate those "No Nap Crabapple" days! lol
You could always move your lunch a bit earlier (11:30) so he has more time to fall asleep. Really, as it is he only has O. hour to sleep, right? Probably not enough sleep for him.
And I always put my son to bed waaaay earlier on those skipped-nap days.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

My son is 4.
He still naps everyday... in the afternoon.
He acts like your son... if he does not nap.
My son cannot last the whole day, without a nap.
We have a routine, everyday for naps, and he knows it like autopilot.

For me, my son 'usually' naps RIGHT after we get home from picking up my daughter at school. So... about 3:00.
Then he naps for about 2 hours.
He wakes from his nap, and STILL goes to bed just fine about 8:30.

The thing is... yes it is busy after school... BUT you need to get your son to nap... so that must be a priority. IF the other afterschool stuff gets in the way... then your son will not get to nap.
So you need to decide... which is more important... to you and the best for your son.

For me, after-school when I put my son to nap... my 8 year old daughter KNOWS full well what the routine is..... while I am tending to my son, she handles herself eating a snack I made for her then the does her homework. After my son falls asleep... then I am back to her and the other routines... of the household.

ANOTHER option may be... can you get him to nap BEFORE... you pick up your stepson from school????
... my idea would be: give your son LOTS of runaround time in the MORNINGS. THEN have lunch earlier. Then, instead of having ANOTHER play time & story time after lunch while you do dishes (because that wastes time), use THAT time to WIND-down your son for his nap. (kids need to wind-down first). THEN do the dishes after or later. So you don't waste time, getting him to wind-down and nap. A child cannot nap.... IF there is horse-play or lots of hyper things before hand. Before naps... should be MELLOW boring calm things... to wind them down and transition them, to nap. For me, I even make the rooms dark... and then my son changes into jammies.

My son, it takes me about 1/2 to 1 hour to wind him down, PRIOR to nap. IT is a process.... so keep that in mind.

The other alternative is... you NEED to get him to nap, after your stepson comes home.

ALSO your Husband cannot expect... ANY child, to be 100% in a good mood all the time when he is home. That is not natural. But yes, if a child is over-tired... then they do get fussy. My son was like that last night. I explained to my Husband. But... again, a husband cannot expect the child to be smiley all the time... just because he is home.
Your so called "inability" to get him to nap... is NOT reflecting your Mothering Skills... believe me.
My Husband... has NO tolerance at all.... for putting any child to nap or to bed. He KNOWS... it can be very hard. He admitted it. That HE would not be able to do... that, like me.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there,
I had a similar problem with my 3 year old. She was was giving me a hard time about naps (right when she turned 3 yrs) I fought with her and fought with her, and just decided that it wasn't worth it any more. Yes, I missed the naps, and YES she was grumpy for a little while. However, over a few months, the grumpiness subsided and her bed time is 7:30 pm now (or sleeping by 7:30) My husband also had to deal with a rotten child for a while after a full day at work, but he got through it. They do adjust, it just takes a little time.
When your husband comes home from work, there could be a new puzzle (dollar store) or daddy's going to teach him a new new song...I don't know, just something fun to do with his dad. Drawing, paint..........
If you stick with no naps, then just be pacient and it will get better. Who whats to deal with a time contraint?
Come 6:00, try to have him do something active, so he doesn't get have to re-train his body.
Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Wake him up earlier, have lunch earlier and lots of activity before hand helps to tire them out. Good luck and God bless



answers from Los Angeles on

Your son is at the age where kids start to give up their naps. It happens to all kids. You are doing the right thing by letting him have "quiet time" even if he doesn't fall asleep.

On days when he doesn't nap, put him to bed a little earlier or try to put him down for a nap after you get home from picking up your stepson. Other than that, this is really out of your control. He will sleep or he won't.

The only things that will factor into this equation are your son's desire to sleep or need to sleep. That's it. Your mothering skills play no part in it, and it sounds to me like you are one good, attentive mama! Your hubby needs to get over it. Kids are grumpy sometimes. The entire household should not have to alter their moods to cater to daddy's wishes.

Hang in there, he will figure it out in his own time. Best of luck to you and your precious boys!



answers from San Diego on

Hello, I don't know how to make your son take a nap. However, I would suggest having his father stay home for one week and do what you do. That way, he will understand that a child won't sleep unless they want to sleep. It is not a reflection on you. I can certainly understand how hard it is to nap a child when you have to pick up others at school. I go through this on the days I watch my 2 year old granddaughter. I also had to nap two to three children when I was raising mine and then wake them to pick up others from school (I was doing licensed childcare).
Good luck with your precious family.
K. K.



answers from Honolulu on

Everyone goes through this at some point, this is NOT a reflection of your mothering! This is a developmental milestone and should be treated as such. That being said, you still need to live your life... I used "snooze cruises" at that age to help my little ones fall asleep. I would drive around with soft music playing. Most times, just strapping them down after lunch was enough to send them off to dreamland. My kids transferred easily, so I could just drive for 10 minutes and then move them to bed. I had friends who would just leave their kids in the garage sleeping in the carseat (this may work for you, because you need to pick up the older one anyway) but it is climate dependent. You will probably have to try a few different things: video, quiet time in his room, etc. If you want to force the nap. If you want him to outgrow his nap, then just don't let him nap, and keep him up as long as possible (this is also a lot of work and not much fun, either) and put him to bed at 6:30 or 7, after he eats dinner. My kids would sleep all night after this, good luck with yours!


answers from New York on

how many hours is he typically sleeping at night ? Eventually he is going to give up that nap and sleep more at night, like 7:30pm -7:30 am so would it work for you to have him sleep more at night? it may take a week or so to adjust to this new schedule! and a quiet rest in the middle of the day.
if you want to continue the nap, plenty of play time in the AM , fresh air right before lunch then no play time after lunch! I takes more than an hour to get a child to nap for an hour! Put him to bed to nap at 12:30, if he is sleeping late in the AM get him up earlier !

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