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Possible to have nap + early bedtime with 4 yo?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
We had to take the nap away shortly after my son turned 3. He will be 4 in Sept. It seemed that no matter how short the nap was, it was causing him to not be able to fall asleep in the evening until 9-10. I had a new baby in October, and we just couldn't take it anymore. We were spending our entire evenings getting them to bed, and it was just too much. Without the nap he actually gets more total sleep-- he goes from 6:30-7:00 pm to 6:30-7:00 am. He gets tired sometimes but powers through the day pretty nicely. Although he can't go in the car in the afternoon, he always falls asleep.
Last year he was in a 3 morning waldorf preschool at a very nice, established local waldorf school. However, we are thinking of moving him to a different waldorf mixed age kindergarten (teacher from above mentioned school started her own program at home several years ago), it is a more protected environment and I think my very sensitive son may do better there than at the large school. BUT, there is no morning option for this program- he would have to go through 2:30, and there would be a nap. I know that he WILL fall asleep. He tried out a week of camp at this school and did nap each day- about 30 minutes, and that caused him to not fall asleep until 10 each night. It became a cycle of sleep deprivation and was SO disruptive to our family rhythm. He is parented to sleep at night.
Sooo...is it possible for a preschooler to nap and go to bed relatively early? I have to make this decision about school in the next few days and am AGONIZING over it.
Thanks so much for any advice!!
post #2 of 12
We have the same dilemma in our house with a 3 and 4yo. I think for the most part you get either/or. Nap or early bedtime. Could you try out a few things before committing to the preschool? I would try giving him a nap and then maybe do a really long walk/hike after dinner as a family. Or some other strenuous physical activity that will wear him out rather than wind him up before bed. see if you can institute a new nightly rhythm. dinner, walk, bath, books, bed. Try a few things like that to see if you can make it work out. But there is no magic that will just make him nap and go to bed early without some sort of work on your part.
post #3 of 12
I have one who just turned 4 and one about to turn 3. We do nap time. We also do early bedtime.

I put them both down together in my bed around 8:30 and turn the light out and put a kid movie/dvd in, and let them watch it and giggle, but stay in bed. They actually fall asleep between 9 and 10. I move them when I go to bed.

It may not make me the best parent, but it works for us. They like it, I like it. By that time of the day I'm just ready for them to go to bed, but it wouldn't be right to make them actually go to sleep that early since they take a nap and really aren't ready for actual sleep yet.
post #4 of 12
With us, it wasn't the length of the nap, but the time of the nap. My 3.5 year old goes to bed at 7:30, but if he sleeps past 1pm, bedtime is definitely affected. He's up at 7am and naps from 11:30-12:30 or 1 and asleep at bedtime.
post #5 of 12
I think you could do it if you wake them up early in teh morning and give them an early nap.
post #6 of 12
Wow, I could have written your post. With a nap she was impossible - up until 10 pm and exhausted the next day, taking another nap, up until 10 pm, exhausted - repeat! UGH. Without a nap, she was in bed at 7:15 and got 12 solid, good hours. She would be slightly grumpy around 3:30pm, but a half hour later she would be fine.

Is the daycare flexible at all about naps? Right before DD turned 3, we asked them to stop giving her naps. They ignored me and continued. I asked again, and explained the situation again. Out of the 4 teachers, 3 of them complied with my wishes, and found out DD didn't turn into the devil It was just better for her. Occasionally she still got a nap in daycare, I'd say once every two weeks, and we just dealt with the repercussions of that the next day.

FWIW DD is 3.5 and in pre-k now with no naps and gets her 12 hours a night and is fine. However, we still don't do 4pm driving! If we are somewhere, we try to either leave by 3, or stay until after dinner, and then drive home at 7ish, and if she sleeps at that point we can just transfer her from the car to bed. If we have to drive and she gets a nap, then we just stay in bed with her until she falls asleep (we do this anyway), and she flops and turns in bed and extra hour.
post #7 of 12
I'm in a similar position. My STBAD stopped napping right after she turned two. She goes to bed around 6:30/7:00. Her current preschool has anon-negotiable, required by licensing rest time. No one has to sleep (of course) but they do have to stay quiet. She started falling asleep around January (right before she turned three.) I try to pick her up early so that she doesn't fall asleep/sleep long. She'll start a new program in the fall, however, and picking her up early won't be an option. So, I'll just have to learn to deal with it. Fall/winter will help things. She falls asleep earlier when it's dark outside.
post #8 of 12
I run a home daycare, I have a non negotiable nap/quiet time. I also have 3 kids and have had to deal with the 9-10 bedtime. It's just the way the cookie crumbles!!!!

I have parents who complain to me, and I remind them that I'm in the same boat!!
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies. It is a Waldorf pre-school and regardless of state standards, the teacher and philosophy in general is very pro nap, so they ALWAYS sleep! The good news is that she has agreed to let me do a half day program!!
post #10 of 12
Ds is 3.5 now but at barely 2 he stopped napping and moved his bedtime up to 6:30!!! It was nice at first but became so difficult, then he started acting so fussy at 4 pm, so right after he turned 3 I re-instituted the nap. It took a few days, but he started laying in bed without fussing until he fell asleep. He's been napping for 4 months now. What happened to bedtime? It went from 6:30 to 8. So he sleeps from 8:30 (after 30 minutes of laying in bed trying to fall asleep) until 7:30 or so in the morning, then naps from 1:30 to 3 (also half hour of laying in bed from 1-1:30).

I think he's going through a growth spurt right now, I don't know if he'll keep this amount of sleep up.

There are nights he is just not tired enough at 8/8:30, but he lays in bed (alone!!!) until he falls asleep.
post #11 of 12
If DS naps, no matter the time, he can't fall asleep before 10pm. I would skip the preschool over family harmony.
post #12 of 12
i think it depends on the child. my ds1 naps most days from 2-5/6 p.m. and goes back to bed by 8:30 p.m. (he usually gets up in the morning between 7 and 8 a.m.) some days during naptime, he just messes around upstairs in his room doing whatever. i'm happy as long as he's up there, having "quiet time." on days we go out for walks or he's been in school all day (here, kindergarten starts at age 4) or they've been particularly active at his summer program and it's hot out, he sleeps the whole time. he's always been much happier when on some semblance of a schedule. this schedule has been going on for a couple years; i change it by following his cues.
my nearly 2 yo? his naps are erratic.
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