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Do we drop the nap?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

DD just turned four on Monday.  Naps have been hit or miss for the past few months, but just this week has been horrible. 


DF insists that she does need a nap, and he's home with her during the day, so she has been getting a nap.  (He wants to nap, so they both nap.)  Often, she'll stay in her room and not sleep, but he tries to make her stay in there until she falls asleep.  I'm more lenient and will let her get up after an hour or so of "quiet time".  The big problem is that I am home with her at night, and she's been up til 11 (Monday) and 9:30 (last night) and then woke up at 6 this morning.  This is telling ME that she does not need a nap, because it is interfering with her nighttime sleeping patterns.  Normally she sleeps for ten hours, no problem. 


My questions, really, are:  are four year olds ever ready to give up the nap, and how to I explain this to DF?

post #2 of 12
DS stopped napping at 2, 2.5 maybe? He's 3 now. So I definitely think a 4yo could be ready to stop napping, though I also think some still need it. The first thing I would try is moving the nap to an earlier time. If that doesn't work, yeah, I'd try no nap for a bit & see how it goes, you can always go back to it if needed. In fact, I say DS stopped napping, but once every couple of weeks he might fall asleep in the car for a few minutes or maybe even take a nap at home, especially if we have to wake him up early in the a.m. for an event or change his schedule or something... So you might find, at first at least, that she might need a nap every few days & giving up the nap 100% won't work out well, but eventually her body will adjust.

I'm not sure I'd make the jump based on one bad week though... maybe she's just feeling a bit off or going through a growth spurt or something, and her sleep will return to normal in another week or so. I'd give her a bit more time to see if she self-regulates & gets back to her normal sleep/wake times. If you do decide to give up the naps, maybe you & DF can brainstorm for a way for him to get a break during the day? Whether that's independent 'quiet time' or structured quiet time (google 'quiet time boxes' for some ideas there) or even a half-hour of TV, or a mom's morning out program, or something... because I will say it's incredibly hard being 'on' all day long with a kid who doesn't nap, especially if they are in any way high-needs or whatever (mine is)... maybe having a plan in place will help your DF be more willing to go nap-free?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

DD is in preschool until 11:45 (12:45 when she stays for lunch/recess) every day, so DF has time to himself every day.  Naptime is generally around 1pm every day, but sometimes she doesn't fall asleep until almost 3, and then is asleep until 4 or 5.  We've been having this conflict for a while, whether DD needs a nap or not.  I'm about to call DF's mom and have her knock some sense into him - he flat out thinks that four year olds need a nap no matter what.  The crappy thing is that today she probably IS going to need a nap, due to not sleeping last night.  Grrr... maybe I'll just go for a drive, let her sleep in the car, and then wake her up by 3 at the latest.

post #4 of 12
Yeah naps after 3 are probably not going to help bedtime much! Does DF ever put her to bed? Does he get that the late nap makes bedtime so late that she can't get enough rest?? Maybe agree to a nap from 1-2pm but if she's not asleep by 2pm then quiet time is over, and if she's still asleep by 3pm then she should be woken up?

If she's in preschool all morning then DF can nap all morning lol.

Four year olds don't need a nap no matter what. They need a nap if it helps them increase their total hours of sleep and helps them function. It sounds like the nap is DECREASING her overall sleep. Would he understand that, that the nap is no longer doing it's job?
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

He puts her to bed once a week or so.  I may have told him (in no uncertain terms) that he could put her to bed tonight and see what he's done. 

Thank you for your ideas.  They are very helpful and I will start implementing them.  The biggest issue is that he puts her down for a nap, and then lays down himself.  I've suggested letting her get up after an hour, but he won't hear of it.

post #6 of 12

My kids stop napping by 2 years because of the problem you are describing. If they nap during the nap then bedtime doesn't happen until later and later.  They end up getting LESS sleep because of the nap so we stop the nap and they sleep more at night. I only know of 2 kids who napped until 4 IRL, one had health problems and the other one has a mom who insists that her kids nap every day but they have a late bedtime because of the nap.


An hour of quiet time for a 4 year is more then enough. If she is doing hours of quiet time then I'm not surprised she eventually falls asleep, maybe from sheer boredom... Is he insisting on keeping this routine because he doesn't know what else to do with her? You said she is in preschool in the morning, and then it sounds like the majority of the afternoon is napping or quiet time. Maybe he doesn't know what else to do, maybe he needs gentle suggestions, plans made with other kids. 

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Okay.  I had DD go in her room at 1:30 for quiet time.  I told her that she could get up/come out at 2:30, but that falling asleep would make it go more quickly.  We're working on telling time right now, so I showed her on her clock.  She fell asleep within ten minutes, and is still out.  I'm going to get her up in just a couple of minutes. 


DF is really good with her.  They play outside quite a bit, or go fishing, or to the park, or to a friend's house.  I think that sometimes naptime comes too late for her, so we're just going to work on setting a schedule.  I'm also going out tonight, so he will definitely have bedtime all to himself.  He's fishing right now so he missed naptime.

post #8 of 12

I think dropping naptime is harder on parents than it is on kids!  I resisted dropping it for that reason, but in our house we had a hard-to-put-down baby, along with a toddler who screamed and tried smacking the baby every time I tried putting the baby down for a nap.  Yup.  I stopped trying naptime when dd1 was 15mo old!  It was hell for me, I wanted that nap soooooo badly!  But in the end, despite some grumpy kids at 5:30, all was much, much better and I eventually stopped expecting that midday break.


If she's not crabby, I don't think that late nights are necessarily bad from her POV.  Really this is an argument between what is best for the parents.

post #9 of 12
So let me get this straight. Your DF needs time to himself every morning, so she's in preschool, and then she MUST take a nap so that he can too, but an hour isn't enough?? What hours are you gone everyday? What does he do with her in the afternoon that doesn't involve sleeping and/or quiet time?

Fwiw, my son needed to drop the nap just the last few weeks. He's 3yo. If he naps, he gets 9 hours of sleep in 24. If he skips the nap he gets 11-12. No nap is working out much better.
post #10 of 12
I'm failing to see him as an at home father, seems to me he's just at home. What would be said here if a mom had her child in daycare half the day and then expected them to nap most of the rest of it? We'd wonder what she was so tired from, especially is she wasnt doing the nighttime parenting. We might also think it would be better for all if she got a job and put her child in daycare full time.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Whoops.  I hadn't checked on this thread.  DF works second shift, 4 - 12 Friday through Tuesday.  DD is in preschool because we like the preschool, not because we need a break.  I never said he "needed a break from her", but sometimes he takes a nap.  Sometimes we all take naps!  I work late nights and then my second job has me working regular daytime hours as well right now.


We're also both used to her being an epic napper.  The kid would take a 3 hour nap every day as well as sleep through the night every night.  This week seems to have the bugs worked out, she napped two days and got up after some reading time the other days. 

post #12 of 12

That makes more sense.  He is still expecting her to do developmentally inappropriate things for his comfort though.  A short nap is really the most that is healthy for a good sleep schedule and he's going to have to move his nap earlier or cut himself down to a power nap.  Do you plan on sending her to school next year (year after)?

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