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3 year old nap and bed time?

I know each child is different. But I need a little help.
Problem: My 3 yo doesn't take a nap unless I lie down with him. I don't mind if he stays in his room and reads or plays quietly. But should he take his nap? If he doesn't he does ok for the afternoon for most part.
When it comes to bed time he fights it. It is at 8:30. and is still up till 9:00 or 9:30. Especially if he takes a nap. And still gets up by 7:00 and 6:00 on the days my husband gets up for work.
I have a schedule and a routine. It just doesn't seem to matter.
So, I guess my question is, should my 3 yo be taking a nap, for I know even 5 yo in school still have a nap time.
Any suggestions?

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Asked by theygrowtofast at 10:35 AM on Jan. 7, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (11)
  • At 3 Dude wasnt taken a nap... As for bedtime no later than 8 forsure... An stick with it... Dont let him take a nap after 4pm cause then he will be up longer...

    Answer by HottMamaRossx2 at 10:37 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • My oldest gave up his nap completely at 3. My 3 year old can go without one...but will take one most of the time still...but I have to make sure he's up by 3 at the LATEST or he takes forever to sleep.

    Drop the nap and put him down for bed at 8...see what happens...

    (oh..and my three are all up between 6 and 7 no matter what time they go to bed or nap)

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 10:45 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • Try skipping the nap for a couple of days and see how it goes. Just have a little quiet time/down time (ie reading or watching a short dvd) instead. You may find that bedtime is less of a struggle. My 3 y/o son is much better off without a nap. The other day he fell asleep in the car, slept for over an hour and was a bear the rest of the day. He didn't go to sleep until after 10, either.

    Answer by grahamom at 10:46 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • Truly, every child is different. Some kids drop all naps by age 3. Some struggle in first grade because they still need the nap but can't take one.

    First, make sure bedtime isnt too late. Yes, he may behave OK but if you are having a running battle, he may be overtired and not be able to slow down and sleep. Try moving bedtime up a half hour.
    Next, make sure he gets up within half an hour of the same time every day. Yes, I know that means you don't get to sleep in. But when you vary his wakeup time by more than half an hour, you mess up his internal clock.
    Let him take a quiet play time instead of a nap. Keep the lights low in his room, play soft music if you want. He can read or play quietly on his bed for 45 mintues or however long you think best.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 10:47 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • I definitely agree that every child is different! I have 3 year old twins and one has to have a nap everyday still, and the other one gave up naps at around 18 months. My son has to have his nap or he starts falling asleep around dinner time. I have to make sure he gets it early enough in the day and no more than an hour though, otherwise he won't go to bed until really late. My daughter on the other hand only takes naps if we had to get up really early in the morning for some reason. She has no problem staying awake until bedtime and goes to bed great for me every night.

    Answer by mauspond at 10:52 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • Our boys were only 18 months apart (and very active guys) so you can imagine how hard it might have been to get them to bed. BUT ... I used cunning and sleight-of-hand and pretty much had them in bed by 7:30pm (when I had to leave them in my husband's care and get to my night job). We had no TV in our home for the years when they were little, and my husband cooperated by being restful until after bedtime. Step 1: Peace and quiet - no stereo music playing, someone watching TV or computer noise. A brief walk outdoors after dinner breathing in nature sounds, seeing the sunset or the stars. Step 2: Soft lighting, candlelight works MAGIC! As they were playing about after dinner, I would turn off lights. While we were in the bathroom washing up before bed, I would get all the lights off except for in their room. No repeated orders to get ready for bed were needed, they just naturally gravitated there. And I was singing ... (cont'd)

    Answer by waldorfmom at 12:46 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • (cont'd) the background while we washed up and I dressed them (yes, I helped them into their pajamas and with tidying up their room - while singing or talking in a friendly tone. Being sent off to carry out orders ALWAYS makes people tense, and we need to be relaxed to go to sleep: duh). then I tucked them into bed and turned off the light. It was truly dark and silent in the house, restful. And I then lit a candle or two by the bed. We said our verse together - simple, brief. And I then snuggled beside them to read them or tell them a bedtime story - I had enough candlelight to read by. Sometimes we read it again, or I told the story again - repetition is extremely soothing. Then I blew out the candle and moved to the doorway and sangs lullabies for a few minutes. Total time: 45 minutes or so. Boys in bed AND we had significant affection time, magical candlelight time and wonderful ... (cont'd)

    Answer by waldorfmom at 12:47 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • (cont'd) ... stories to go to sleep with. Altogether rewarding for me. Barking orders, keeping my kids at a distance is very unpleasant. I far prefer us doing things together with my arms around them a lot.

    Answer by waldorfmom at 12:48 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • If your son isn't tired and makes it through the day without a meltdown at night I would eliminate the nap and replace it with quiet time in his room . I set a timer for my son and he can come out when it goes off (60 min), unless he needs to go potty etc. Afterall, just because he doesn't need a nap anymore, it doesn't mean you don't still need that time to yourself!

    Answer by deedee3849 at 1:29 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • My daughter is three and still relies heavily on her nap time to remain emotionally and physically balanced. I think every child is different, but I do believe that overall children under five should be very encouraged to have some sort of naptime- isolated, quiet time at the very least.

    Answer by Elleroo at 3:43 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

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