How can I make my toddler's nap time easier?
Real Mom Problem
“I have a two-and-a-half-year-old little girl. I can't get her to stay in her bed to take a nap. She thinks it's a game. Nap time is a disaster. I NEED HELP!!”
- 1. Ask your pediatrician how much sleep your toddler should be getting daily
- 2. If you find your child is meeting all their sleep requirements at night, consider eliminating nap time
- 3. Not ready to give up that "mommy time?" Think about instituting a quiet time to replace the nap
- 4. If you find your child still needs to nap but is fighting it, try setting up a consistent nap time and routine
Real Mom Solutions
If your kid is a good napper, you've got it made. But not all kids are. Whether you're having trouble getting your little one to lay down or you're not sure how long he should sleep, the moms of CafeMom have experienced it all. Get their notes on napping right here.
Don't Force It
The amount of sleep they get at night determines whether my kids will nap. I don't force the issue.
Both of my kids stopped napping at 2 and I didn't force them or trick them, instead we got more playing time. It is what it is. Don't stress yourself trying to make your child sleep.
Don't make them nap. A lot of children simply do not need a nap anymore. Some days he may be more exhausted than others and so he will take a nap.
Stick to a Strict Nap Schedule
Naps are a must in my house. Set a nap schedule. Our naptime is 1pm everyday. He gets lunch at 11:30 or 12 and that way when he naps, his tummy is full and he'll nap without a problem. If he's not wanting to nap, I lay down with him and I read on my cell and he usually knocks out within minutes.
It's not an option in our house. If she doesn't want her nap, she doesn't have to sleep, but she will stay in her crib until naptime is over. I did the same thing with my other daughter when she was still napping, and it worked really well with her too.
Lay him down and say its naptime, shut off the light and walk out of the room. Every time he gets up, put him back in bed, say its naptime, repeat as necessary. My son has done this for up to 2 hours, but now he goes in there and lays down. The most he gets up is twice anymore.
A Little Rest Goes a Long Way
Doctors will tell you that half an hour of quiet time is just as good as a half an hour nap, so I would lay down on the sofa with my boys and we would watch TV on a very quiet setting for half an hour. More often than not they would fall asleep.
Try These Nap Time Strategies
We require 1 hour of quiet time in his room no matter what. He can read, play his music box, or sleep, but its quiet time in the house. This means we don't make a noise either. After an hour, he can get up. I don't think he's ever made it an hour without falling asleep. Set up a consistent routine, ask if they are ready for a nap a few times in the hour before and give a warning several minutes before nap time.
I tricked mine. We had "quiet time" instead. I made a pallet of blankets on the floor in the living room and put pillows down there and lay down on the floor with them watching TV or reading to myself while encouraging them to do the same. What I found was, 9 out of 10 times, they would fall asleep very soon after getting still and quiet.
I always plan something fun for after rest time so that she has something to look forward to. She knows that if she doesn't rest then we don't get to do that fun event or activity.
If it looks like my son doesn't want to take a nap, I take him outside and run with him. We play our version of tag and then when we're done, we go back home and lay down on my bed and just relax. Most of the time he ends up falling asleep and the rest of the time he will at least stay there for an hour. Sometimes I turn on some soft music.
Keep trying! Your toddler could be phasing out naps, or he could just be going through a phase. My advice would be to keep naptime consistent. Maintain the same routine, but don't stress about the fact that he's not sleeping. Allow him to have quite time in his crib. If he's screaming, leave him with a few books or toys. Hopefully he'll fall asleep, but at the very least, both he and YOU will get a bit of a rest.