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Should I stop toddlers naps?

My 21 month old used to be a good sleeper. Now he won't go to sleep unless he's in my bed. I move him to his crib and he wakes up 2 hours later and screams until he can come and sleep the rest of the night in my bed. He naps in the afternoon for 1.5 hours and has bath/bed routine at 9pm and wakes up in the morning around 7:30. I have tried putting him to bed earlier before, but he puts up a fight and wakes up super early in the morning. Should I stop napping him altogether and put him to bed earlier?

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Asked by secondbaby75 at 10:51 PM on Jun. 30, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (7)
  • Mine is 18.5 months old. I've always been told that kids under 3 need to have at least one nap a day. Mine generally takes two hour long naps. He's also down for the night by 7:30 most nights. He thinks he's supposed to wake up at six but official getting up time is seven (he has a couple soft toys in his bed and plays with those in between demanding he be gotten up). Kids this age still need 12 hours or more sleep in every 24 hours. It sounds like a ton of sleep time but remember, their bodies and brains are growing rapidly and much of that growth happens when they're asleep. Toddlers who don't get enough sleep slowly build up a sleep defiect and the bigger that deficit grows, the more difficult it is for them to sleep. Have you ever been so tired all you want to do is crash but you can't get your brain to turn off? That's the way toddlers with not enough sleep feel all the time. (Con't)

    Answer by eema.gray at 11:00 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • (Con't) Now, I'm not saying your little one needs two naps a day and 12 hours down at night. You know what your son needs to wake up happy and alert every day. Mine is Oscar the Grouch by noon and will refuse sleep point blank at night if I ignore day time naps. I guess I'd figure out that part out first. What does he need to wake up with a smile every day? Then figure out how to go about achieving that. It may be he doesn't need a nap during the day but needs to go to bed earlier at night. Or maybe he just needs a shorter nap. Maybe naptime needs to be moved to late morning so he's ready to sleep when *you* want him to sleep at night. If mine sleeps past 3:30pm, there's no hope of him going to bed before nine at night! I know that and schedule his naps accordingly. It just takes knowing your son, paying attention to his cues, and figuring out a schedule that takes those needs into account. :-)

    Answer by eema.gray at 11:05 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • He is just at that age. You should not stop the naps yet... Put him to bed in his bed, be consistent, and the phase should pass. Sometimes you just have to ignore the CRY because you know that in the long term it will be better for you and for him...

    Believe me I made the mistake with my DD, I gave into her demands, finally I got the best advice...(It's ok for her to cry) I just never wanted her to be upset, so I would give into anything, letting her sleep in my bed was definitely a big one, because it made me feel exhausted because when she was in the bed I COULD NOT sleep at all. So I put her in her bed, I let her cry...after about the first week, she got the message. Now at 3 YO she never cries or fusses at bedtime. Good Luck!!!

    Answer by pamelajqs at 11:05 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • Yeah, I've realized the same thing this last week. Mine was getting to be such a tosser and turner and kicker too in our bed that I couldn't get a decent night's sleep anymore. I thought I was just sleeping badly from being pregnant but I've felt SO much better since he's in his own bed! He still wakes up of course, to see if he'll get to come in with me but will lie down and go back to sleep within a couple minutes. And that's okay. He knows I'm still there. He knows he's safe. It's okay for him to cry a little bit. The screaming from a diaper rash that came out of nowhere a few nights ago, on the other hand, was a different matter. Every night he's in there by himself, he gets better and better about sleeping on his own. And we're only on day six. :-)

    Answer by eema.gray at 11:16 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • I had to stop my 2 1/2 yr olds naps cuz he started not wanting to go to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning again. I put him down at 10-11 and he's out for the count and doesn't wake up until around 10 the next morning. Every child is different,I just do what works for mine.

    Answer by HazlIdHarleyGal at 12:02 AM on Jul. 1, 2009

  • This sounds more like a power struggle thing than a sleep thing. My advice...don't stop naps and don't get him out of his crib. At 21 months, they still need naps. When/If he wakes up 2 hours after being put to bed, go in, make sure he's okay, but don't pick him up. Talk calmly, rub his back, tell him that you are here and that he is safe, but he is going to sleep in his bed tonight. We dealt with something like this with our daughter when she was around 2 and we finally just had to let her scream her head off (after checking on her to make sure all was okay, of course). It took a few nights, but it worked. Good luck!

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 12:57 AM on Jul. 1, 2009

  • My dd is 19 months and won't go to bed before 11 even if I put her in there at 9 and let her CIO (even tho she's just in there playing with her feet!). She gets up at 7-9 and has one 1.5 hour nap during the day. They do still need that nap! I've thought about getting rid of it as well and it got a lot worse!!! She would literaly CRASH between 7-8 and sleep for her usual nap time then be up the rest of the night. I do not recomend taking naps away... but maybe giving him a nap earlier??? When I give my dd an earlier nap she goes to sleep early (wakes up earleir too however!)

    Answer by 07lilmama1108 at 3:30 AM on Jul. 1, 2009

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