Is Your Toddler Refusing Naps?
Make Nap Time Dreamy With These Simple Tips
Ever notice how right around noon, your child tends to turn into a wild animal? You know what I’m talking about.
The tortoise: She eats her lunch… soooo… slowly… every… bite… slower… than… the… last…
The hyena: The minute you put her down for her nap, she starts screaming so loudly her face turns red.
The cheetah: You think she’s down for her nap. All is quiet. And then — bang! She’s out of bed and running all over the house so fast your head spins.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can stop being a zookeeper when naptime rolls around. And get back some of the peace and sanity you deserve.
Here are some simple tips for helping your toddler have sweet afternoon dreams.
Why Afternoon Naps Are So Important
So your toddler just jumped out of bed and started running around the house. And after a minute you’re starting to think, “hey, maybe she doesn’t need a nap anymore.”
Not so fast. 2- and 3- year olds are developing unbelievably fast — intellectually, emotionally, physically. Everything in their bodies is changing so quickly, and they need a lot of rest to keep up with it all. Sleep expert Marc Weissbluth emphasizes that getting a solid nap also lowers stress levels, enabling your child to wake up refreshed and ready to learn and explore.
So how long should your toddler nap? There aren’t really any hard-and-fast rules. Different children have different needs. Your toddler may nap for ninety minutes a day, while her friend may need two one-hour-naps a day. That’s totally normal… and it will change over time. Be prepared to adapt as your child’s needs change.
Do The Math
How much can you expect your child to nap? It depends. 2 and 3 year olds tend to need a maximum of 12 hours of sleep… and that will taper off to 11 hours as they reach ages 3 to 5. You’ll want to factor that in when you think about reasonable nap times.
If your toddler already sleeps 12 hours a night, you probably want that blissful free time every afternoon — who wouldn’t? But the reality is, it’s not realistic to expect your child to sleep much more.
But if your toddler is sleeping 9 hours a night, she’ll probably need two or three hours of nap time each day to meet her daily sleep needs.
Make It Enjoyable
What happens when naptime rolls around? If your child is turning into one of the wild animals we talked about above, think about why she’s resistant to taking a nap.
Often, the end of lunch means: playtime is over and it’s time to sleep. One way to make the transition easier is to make going to the bedroom a more enjoyable experience for your child.
When lunch is over, take time for some quiet play with your child in her bedroom. Darken the room and play some quiet music or white noise to provide some cues that naptime is about to start. It’s also a great time for the two of you to read a book together, and build an early love of reading together.
When the bedroom is a place you share comforting experiences, your child will find it much easier to settle down for a nap.
Conclusion: Little Tweaks Make a Big Difference
A naptime “no!” is nothing new. Every toddler wants to assert their autonomy. Your child is excited about exploring the world and establishing their independence — and that’s something you should be proud of.
But you still don’t need to be a zookeeper every afternoon. With a few little tweaks, you can make sleeping much more enjoyable and start winning the naptime game.
Before you know it, your child will be back to a solid naptime routine. So if your toddler is refusing naps try some of these strategies and see how it goes!
Sleep Baby Sleep to The Rescue!
If your toddler’s nap troubles have you at your wits end, we can help! Get a sleep plan tailored specifically for your child, and one on one help through the entire process. Take look at our sleep packages.