Weaning Preschooler off of Nap

Updated on July 22, 2012
K.R. asks from New Hill, NC
11 answers

My 3 & 4 yo both still nap from for 2-2.5 hours every afternoon. My 4 yo wakes up at 5:30 and the 3yo at 600-ish. The 3yo is in bed at 7:00 and the 4yo is in bed 7:30, although probably not asleep until at least 8/8:30. Up until now, they have both needed (and asked for) the sleep, but will be going to afternoon preschool in the fall so the naps gotta go :( Looking for any advice/strategies/been there on how to slowly drop the naps without total misery.

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So What Happened?

ETA: AM PreSchool is not an option...we didn't get picked for the lottery. PM PreSchool ends at 3:15 so we won't be home until 3:30 and it's too late for a nap to keep bedtime the same. I will def let them sleep on the weekends and school vacations, etc. but what I really need help with is practical ideas of how to actually get them off the naps.

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answers from Phoenix on

If they still want to nap, I wouldn't try to cut it out. I would've loved for DD to have napped past her late 2's. Can you adjust their schedule to accomodate to the later school session?

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answers from Honolulu on

My son, since he was a baby, was a regular NAPPER.
He went to Preschool at 4 years old for half days. And he would nap when he came home, for 2 hours. With no battles.
At 5, he was in Kindergarten. They had naps in the afternoon. 1 hour. He napped there or once he came home after school. With no battles. He was TIRED.

And even with naps, my son would still go to bed at night just fine, at 8:00pm.

Per naps, I ALWAYS went according to my kids' needs and cues. Not, by their age.
My daughter who is 9... well even last year when she was 8, she'd fall asleep and nap sometimes, after school or on weekends. She was, tired.

BUT, Preschools, DO have nap times. Usually in the afternoon, after lunch and after the 1/2 day kids, go home.
So I don't understand why... your kids' naps have to go?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

What if you let them nap after school and then kept them up a bit later? Since they are going to afternoon preschool, they won't have to be up so early. So if they are up until 9:00 or so, they will probably sleep in a bit longer.
My daughter is 4 and will be in preschool again this year and there is no way she could do afternoons with no nap. I am wondering if she will ever outgrow them!



answers from New York on

They can nap when they get hom. I assume school only goes to 3 or so.


answers from Norfolk on

Our son was still napping on weekends through first grade.
He was growing very quickly (for ages 4, 6 and 8 he shot up 4 inches each of those years) and he was TIRED (plus the growing pains were just awful).
He needed the extra sleep.
Sometimes even now that he's in middle school he'll come home and grab a nap.
Sleep is important.
He's 13 1/2 and he's 5' 11" - and he's not done growing and I make a point of making sure he doesn't skimp on sleep.



answers from Sacramento on

HI Kate,

I would start limiting their nap and putting them to bed accordingly. If they are being put to bed at 7 or 7:30 and not sleeping until an hour later, then they are probably napping too late or too long.

You don't mention what time they lay down for naps, but I'm figuring from the wake up time that it's around 2:30-3? I'd wake them no later than 4 or 4:15 and see how that affect their bedtime and morning wake up time. See if you can wean slowly from there. They will likely be tired from school in the fall... I would let them sleep when they get home at 3:30, but only for a little while if you can, to refresh them.

If they seem overtired from the shorter naps and start having night sleep problems or waking super early... try putting them to bed 15 minutes to a half hour earlier and see if that helps.

Good luck~



answers from Kansas City on

Can you change them to morning preschool? It seems it might work better with your schedule and you only have a month to basically get them to quit napping in the PM and not be grumpy...I'd try for morning. Just my two cents! ;)

Other than that, I guess I would start by waking them up after an hour or so and slowly wean them backwards. You can encourage your 4 y/o to play in the room quietly instead of napping or maybe go in there after half an hour, wake her up and see if she'll play in her room quietly for the next 30 minutes. I've found that it's really hard, at least with my kids, to change their sleep schedule drastically without them already showing signs of being done with naps. My almost 3 y/o still takes a nice afternoon nap and I don't want to give it up until I have to! ;) Good luck!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Wow, that is just harsh. In kindergarten they have to start taking naps again until after Christmas. If they don't lay on their cots and be completely still and quiet for that hour and a half to two hours they often will call the parents and tell them they have to come pick up these kids until the other kids are not napping anymore.

I have never heard of anything so odd before. Since your kids are afternoon nappers you need to make the school understand this will not work for you. There are kids out there that do not need naps anymore that would do well in this class. Not yours though.

But they are plenty old enough to not go to bed so early. If is too early for this age kid to be in bed at 7pm. They are old enough to play sports and other activities. Those sports don't often even start until 6 or 7. You guys need to start changing this bedtime schedule around.

BTW, they will be falling asleep in the car on the way home for a long time. They will get "some" naptime.



answers from Minneapolis on

It sounds like they start napping now at 3:30, so I'm not sure why they couldn't nap after preschool. They'll probably fall asleep in the car, if they are like my daughter was at that age.

So, nap when they get home from preschool (3:30), move bedtime later (8:30) so they sleep later in the morning.

I would start gradually changing their schedule about a week ahead of the start of preschool.



answers from Washington DC on

Seems like they are both going down later in the day for naps.
So I suggest putting them down earlier for naps which may mean getting them up earlier for in the morning. Some kids need the naps still so getting them down early they can get the nap before preschool possibly?and that way the nap will be shorter because you will have to have them up and ready for preschool. What time will preschool start?
So if they get up between 6-7am then they should nap maybe at 11:30ish immediately after lunch or morning snack. Will they be eating lunch at preschool? More info needed for this one and more suggestions.

my daughter was on a schedule where she was napping at about 11-11:30am then she started an summer camp preschool where they nap at 1:15pm she is PT so her hours there are 9-1 so she naps at home. She is two and wakes at 7am goes to camp come homes and naps at 1pm for two hours bedtime is lenient because of summer hours but she goes to bed anywhere between 8-10. shoot for more close to 8 but like I say its summer! She had no problem transitioning the nap time for later because they keep her busy at preschool she just follows the routine.
Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

If at all possible, I would enroll them in morning preschool. My son napped until he was 5 and would have been miserable without it. Your kids are already in bed super early so I don't think you could move it earlier. If they nap when they get home from preschool - they would be napping from say 3:30 until 5:30, then up for 1-1/2 hours, then bed again. I don't know how that would work. You could try room darkening shades in their rooms to see if that will help them sleep later in the morning. But really - I would go with morning preschool.

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