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Nap struggles

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Alright mamas,

This is my first post and I am literally about to lose it. My almost 3 year old has always been an amazing sleeper. Never wanted/needed to be cuddled, rocked to sleep, just liked to be left alone. We just transitioned her to a big girl bed because she discovered how to climb out of her crib. Then, we began to have problems. She refuses to nap and it takes almost 2 hours to put down for bed. She literally will not stay in her bed. I've tried laying with her but that doesn't work. She won't fall asleep. She won't just stay put in her bed for a quiet time either. I know that some kids outgrow their nap time around 3, but she is still needing it. She is an absolute nightmare by the afternoon. Any advice Mamas? I'm 37 weeks pregnant and just need to be able to nap for a little bit!
post #2 of 10
You know your daughter best, but maybe she really is ready to give up her nap, even if you're not. You may have to make quiet time worth her while. ie, a juice cup or something else she never gets, but she can only have it if she's quiet in her room. Would you be willing to give quiet time in front of the TV? The only time DS gets TV is when I'm getting his sister down for a nap. Since it's rare, he's more than willing to just sit there quietly.

Have you tried pushing her bedtime an hour earlier? This is sometimes the compromise for the dropped nap.

How about other ways to get her to nap. Will she fall asleep in the car? The stroller? Is there someone who can come over and just take her to the park for 1/2 an hour so you can nap? At least then it'll be easier to deal with a cranky toddler if you're rested.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty sure she still needs a nap...even just a short one hour one. I'm positive that she would fall asleep if she would just stay in her bed. We have tried allowing her to bring "friends" (stuffed animals) into bed with her. I have given her a favorite book. I even tried a "get out of bed free card" that would allow her to get out of bed once she laid down for whatever reason she desired. Still nothing. She refuses to stay in bed.

We did start to lay her down for bed earlier, and last night went much better. But she is still super cranky during the day without a nap. We actually took TV time away until we get this sleep thing figured out. I feel that it overstimulates her sometimes. But unless I can get her to stay in bed for a quiet time I might have to bring it back!

I'm going to try a walk today. A couple days ago she did fall asleep in the car while we were running errands...and she NEVER sleeps in the car. So another indication that she still needs a nap. The problem is she doesn't stay asleep once you move her (like if I were to move her to her bed she would wake up). I have a feeling this is her rebellion against the upcoming changes to the family.
post #4 of 10
Well, since you can't make her sleep, I would just put up with the cranky afternoon times and see if she transitions to not needing that nap. At some point, whether they are 2 or 5, when kids first start skipping their nap, they are irritable and tired in the afternoon or evening. I think I'd rather deal with it being 9 months pregnant than with a newborn.

She may very well be tired and benefit from a nap for a while longer, but if it's a 2 hour struggle to get her to sleep, is it really worth it? I would just put her to bed earlier in the evening a few nights and see how it goes. She still may nap in the car from time to time, but she really may be ready to go all-day without sleeping.

All four of my kids stopped napping by their 2nd birthday; however, my youngest is 3.5 yrs old and has been falling asleep at preschool (he just started, and it's full-day). I still don't believe for a min. he should have been napping at home the past year and a half - he had times where he was grumpy before dinner (don't we all?), and times where he fell asleep in the car, but for the most part, he got through the days just fine. In fact, if he did end up taking a nap (like on a long car ride), he would stay up past midnight before falling asleep again. I'm not sure if you would be okay with that scenario, but it's a possibility once kids are ready to give up their naps but end up taking them some days.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
You are probably right. I'm just so sad to see this nap go! It really isn't worth it though since it takes so long just to settle her down...and she never really sleeps. So bye-bye nap time

Any advice for a quiet time besides TV or a movie? I really don't like to let her watch TV everyday. We try to make it a once or twice a week thing.
post #6 of 10
If the only thing that has changed is the big girl bed since the naps have stopped then you may need to work at keeping her in the bed during naptime.

Each time she gets out you march her back to the bed. The first couple of times you say "It's nap time, back to bed". Next time, you say lessr "nap time" - after that, no more talking - just back to bed each and every time.

She may get out of bed for the whole 2 hours, but if you're consistent she will finally get that mommy means what she says and it's nap time. This could take a couple days but it will sink in that she must stay in bed during nap time.

It might also help to get one of those timers/clocks so that she knows when she can get out of bed. I'm not sure if she is too young for this, but you never know. Just STICK with a plan to keep her in bed during naptime - no matter what and she will...eventually. Most kids still need their nap or at least quiet time and by doing this you are setting boundries for her which you will need when the baby arrives.

post #7 of 10
Another idea is a sippy cup of juice or another rare/favorite beverage. But, they can only have it in bed.
post #8 of 10
We have just given up naps in the past couple of months with my 2.5yo. It was the struggle at bedtime that did it for me -- on the days that she took a nap, she would stay up until 9 or 10pm, but without a nap, she's out like a light at 7pm. It did take a while to make the transition, she would still nap a couple of days a week for awhile, which gave us a good transition to "quiet time".

Quiet time happens in a special corner with lots of books and a dolly or two, and a drink. We get her place all set up, and she is pretty good about staying there after several weeks of reminders. It gives me about an hour to collapse on the couch, and then we have a snack together. The special place seems to be helpful for DD2, and she's pretty content to look at books. I might also put a quiet toy (a magna doodle) with her too.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

I think I agree with you...the only thing that did change was the bed. However, she literally will not stay in her bed for nap time. Bedtime is getting better...it only took a few times to get her to stay put the last couple nights. But nap time is a whole different story. She spends the whole time getting in and out of bed and she actually never sleeps. I walked her back to bed for 3 hours the first day and it ended up being so frustrating that she and I were both in tears by the end. We tried again the next day and I only did it for 2 hours, but still no nap or even a quiet time. I just don't feel like it's worth the frustration.

We have looked into one of those clocks and I think we might give that a try...otherwise I'll just work at getting a quiet time established.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

DD appeared to be extremely tired yesterday...so I worked on getting her to lay down for a nap. It took about an hour and a half and she napped for a total of two hours. Two glorious hours! However, when it came time for bed, we went back to taking almost 2 hours for her to lay down. And that was after the whole bedtime routine of a pajamas, brushing teeth, stories and praying. So...it appears that if I force a nap, we have a harder time at bedtime. I think I would much rather try to establish a quiet time and let her fall asleep if she needs to then force a nap time every day and make bedtime a struggle.

Thanks for all your advice mamas!
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