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I'm a nap failure - how do you do it?!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Sorry this is long -
My dd is 2yrs 4mo old. She still nurses, but two weeks ago we cut out nursing to sleep. I stopped nursing to sleep partly because we're TTC and I want to slowly wean through the beginning of my pregnancy. I also stopped nursing to sleep because she would fall asleep nursing and the timing was really unpredictable - sometime between 9am and 2pm. I wanted a more predictable nap time.
So, how do you get your LO to sleep without nursing?! I don't want to rock her, because she often wakes when we lay her down, and then she'd want to nurse and would be hard to put back to sleep.
Our routine is: nurse, I read her 2 books, she can read a book by herself sitting on her bed, then we turn music on and she's supposed to lie down.
DD is very strong-willed and also very verbal, so she understands what's going on but doesn't want to do it.
If she stays still for more than 2 minutes, she goes to sleep really quickly. But she's crawling around, playing, etc. I've tried lying beside her and rubbing her back, but she doesn't want that until she's almost asleep. So instead she's crawling on me or getting off the bed to play. I've tried putting my arm over her to hold her on the bed, thinking that if she'd give up struggling and be still, she'd fall asleep. But then she gets upset and tries to hit/bite/kick me.
During the day we set limits for her and give her consequences when she disobeys, but I have no idea how to tackle this one. I was hoping she'd quickly settle into it, but she hasn't.
She's definitely not ready to give up her nap - she's never gone a day without a nap, and a few times a month she'll still take a second nap if she woke up early.
Today I got frustrated because she was fighting against me when I'd put her on the bed, so I just put the gate up and told her I'd be back in 5 minutes (I needed to cool off). She cried for a few minutes, but now I can hear her playing. I know that some kids will play for a bit and then lie down and fall asleep, but she's a pretty good sleep fighter, so I'll be pretty surprised if that happens.
Help, mamas! How do you get them to sleep?!

Added: Here's what worked today (and what often works at night - she goes to sleep a lot easier then): there's a recliner in her room, so I told her I was going to lie down and be still and quiet for 20 minutes. I asked her to play quietly while I rested. She ended up sitting on her bed and reading, then singing, then she laid down and went to sleep!
Even when she gives up her nap, I still want us all to have a daily rest time, because I need it! This worked well for today, but I'm sure she won't always calm down and fall asleep .
post #2 of 10
How about getting her outside and running around more during the early part of the day? When my son was under the age of 2, he would take naps easier if he'd been very active earlier. Is she getting enough sleep at night? Sleep begets sleep and I remember if my son did not sleep well the night before, nap time would be more difficult. Is her bedroom dark enough to fall asleep easily? We use room darkening curtains. What about use some white noise? We use a fan.

He stopped napping at age 2 so I don't really have any other advice.
post #3 of 10
Here's what we do.

Naptime is always the same time everyday so that she knows to expect it. We go up to her room, change her diaper, turn off the lights, turn on a white noise machine that is only played at sleeping time, rock and read a couple of stories, sing one song, then I lay her down in bed. We've had this routine ever since we quit nursing before bed. Before that the nursing came before the song instead of the stories.

I think consistency and timing is the key to it being successful. I would also talk to her well before naptime about the behavior expectations once she is laid in bed. Makes sure she knows exactly what is expected of her rather than just trying to get her to comply once you are already there.

I've never dealt with a two-year-old though, so I may be way off base. This is just how I would handle it. HTH!
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evie's Mama View Post
I would also talk to her well before naptime about the behavior expectations once she is laid in bed. Makes sure she knows exactly what is expected of her rather than just trying to get her to comply once you are already there.
That's the tricky part - what should I do when she gets out of bed? I don't know how much to expect out of a 2-year-old. If she's still long enough, she falls asleep. But how do I teach her to be still? And what kind of age-appropriate consequences can I give when she won't stay in bed?
I know friends who get their 2-yr-old to stay in bed, but that's just because she knows she'll get spanked if she gets out of bed. We don't spank.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by 298mom View Post
That's the tricky part - what should I do when she gets out of bed? I don't know how much to expect out of a 2-year-old. If she's still long enough, she falls asleep. But how do I teach her to be still? And what kind of age-appropriate consequences can I give when she won't stay in bed?
I know friends who get their 2-yr-old to stay in bed, but that's just because she knows she'll get spanked if she gets out of bed. We don't spank.
You can put them in bed over and over. This is really frustrating, but you could try it.

You could give them a book on CD to listen to.

You could take them to the park until they are exhausted and then hope they fall asleep on the way home. At about 2.5 my kids stopped napping consistently. They would go to bed at 7pm. We would still have some quiet time in the afternoons with a video or books.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, it IS possible that she might give up her nap since we're not nursing. But if we were still nursing, she would definitely sleep. This morning, for example, she was falling asleep nursing at 10am. I asked her if she wanted me to lay her down or get up and play, and she chose to play. But then at nap time, it took her a long time to finally get to sleep.

The book on CD is a good idea - she loves books, so I'll pick some up from the library.

I tried to put her in bed repeatedly, but that just made both of us angry. (And she got a lot of pleasure out of disobeying and running away from me.)

Is she way to young for a reward chart? I definitely wouldn't do it with some 2 1/2-yr-olds, but she's very communicative and understands a lot. It would be helpful for establishing rest time if she's not going to sleep. Maybe I could try something like once she's stayed in bed for a rest time by herself, we have a special activity (and then phase out the rewards gradually when they're not needed).
post #7 of 10
If she'll fall asleep if she lies still for a couple of minutes, then is there any "activity" she can do that will get her to lie still? I tell my daughter (one month younger than yours) about going to dreamland. She's obsessed with Mary Poppins so I tell her if she closes her eyes and lies still then she can meet Mary Poppins in dreamland under the purple tree... She lies still just fine, but of course she never falls asleep that way. But my daughter can lie still for hours and not fall asleep... sigh.

But maybe you could tell her a story--only if she's lying quietly? And stop the story if she's not lying still. Or sing her favorite song? Put her doll or stuffed animals next to her and ask her to lie really still to help them fall asleep because if she moves she'll wake them and they're really tired? Tape a picture on the ceiling and have her look at it?
post #8 of 10
post #9 of 10
DS is just a few months younger than your DD, and he's well on his way to going napless. Most days, if we're busy, he either catches a five-minute catnap in the car or doesn't nap. Makes for rougher evenings, but it is what it is.

On the days when he DOES need a nap, it's difficult. We tell stories (he generally requests "once upon a time stories" about people we know), but only if he's lying still with his eyes closed. But still, it's hit or miss. It's a weird age.
post #10 of 10
We did the chore chart. I had another child and really felt like we had to do something about ds1 not going to bed on his own. It worked! At that age, when my kids napped, they stayed up til 10pm though. So it wasn't worth it most days.

Good luck! Whatever you decide will be best. You know your children best!
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