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Once naps start to fade when are they gone?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

My 26 month old is giving me a really hard time with naps (more then usual) the last month or so. We are pretty much doing about 2 days no nap 3 or 2 days nap. On top of being sad to see her nap leaving so early (this is pretty early right?) i am annoyed at our totally back and fourth schedule. On nights there is no nap she is in bed by 6:30, on nap days she is in bed by 8:30 but not sleeping until 9:30. Nap is always at a different time, waking up is always different depending on the day before...I'm just dieing for some predictably. So once a toddler starts the process of fading out naps how long until they pretty much don't nap at all anymore? TIA!

post #2 of 16

We're right there with you with my 25 month old.  This week, after a few months of on/off napping, I decided I needed to drop the expectation of a nap.  Somehow the no-napping thing incites intense anger in me that I have a very hard time controlling.  It's like all the anger in my whole self expresses itself in this one issue.  Oh, yes, she definitely needs a nap.  And I think that if I had ultimate patience and stayed the course, she would eventually start napping again.  But I don't, so we've started doing quiet time instead.  I'm still trying to figure out what works best for quiet time, but I'm ending it with 15 - 20 minutes lying in bed in the dark listening to a story.  She can hang out in her bed doing whatever or snuggle with me during this time, and I'm hoping that it provides her with at least an invitation to sleep.  So, yeah, to answer your question, we've been doing the on-off thing for 3 or 4 months, and over the past few weeks it's been more off than on.  I honestly don't think she's "dropping her nap" exactly.  She's just rebelling, just as she's rebelling against many other things in her life right now. 


As for the bedtime/consistency issue, it's not so bad for us because DD's naps are a maximum of 40 minutes.  We do lights out about 15 minutes earlier on no-nap days, and she falls asleep immediately.  On nap days she takes about 30 minutes to fall asleep, so her total sleep time on days with/without nap is about the same.  How does your LO's no-nap day sleep total compare to that on nap days?  Perhaps you could regulate things a bit by setting a consistent wake-up time?  (I know, it is the hardest thing in the world to wake up a toddler who's finally asleep...)  And what about the possibility of limiting nap time on days she does nap?

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

newmamalizzy- woah, glad to read i am not the only one who actually gets upset when the LO doesn't nap. I used to be so bad about it that i would actually drive her around to get her to sleep because i had myself so worked up lol. I am trying to be a bit more relaxed about it but it is hard when you never know what to expect. Im never upset anymore when she doesn't nap because i know it means and early bed time which means i get my break there anyway....


We have a 3 hour napper. I think that is a big part of the problem. Her naps should be getting shorter but they just are not. She used to do 10 hours at night and then a 3 hour nap. This was fine when she would get up at 6 and go down for a nap at 11. Now she doesn't sleep until 1pm which means she wants to nap until 4! Way to late. So i have been waking her up the last few weeks by 3:30. Today i cut her nap to 2 hours (1:30-3:30) and that seemed to help but she still is just falling asleep now at 9 which seems so late to me. I go to bed at 10 myself.  On no nap days she will wake up say at 6:30am and i put her down at 6:30pm since 12 hours is about all she can take...then she sleeps 12 hours that night resulting in her once again not wanting to nap the next day because she had her quota filled the night before. I think at this point she might actually do just fine with 12 hours at night and no nap...except she needs more like 12.5-13 hours of sleep still so eventually it creeps up on her and she ends up napping every third day and resets herself into a napping pattern.


sound advice on limiting nap time and waking her up at a set time. I always wake her by 7am if she isn't awake already but seems like every day is a different wake up time depending on what happened the day before. Also what we do that morning effects if she will take a nap. I take her for a hike in the woods and she naps. We play with stickers at home on a rainy day and she wont nap.

post #4 of 16

I'm in the same boat--on the days he (24 month old) naps he takes a 3 hour nap (yup) and then has a hard time falling asleep (8:30ish, bedtime is 7:30).  This used to work really well--3 hour nap (1-4) then bed at 7:15p and wake up by 6a (early, but it worked).  Now, a good day is like that...but he's doing the not napping, needing to go to bed at 6:30p cycle that kellyandbean described.  This has been going on for a couple of months.


AND, I am also in the same boat of anger around this issue...go figure.  It just triggers me for some reason.


So, if anyone has any brilliant thoughts.

post #5 of 16

My son is now 27months and he hasn't had a daytime nap for at least 6 months, except for the odd day around Christmas and his birthday in Feb because all the excitement wiped him out.  I was worried at first and found his schedule all over the place as described but I have found that he is just too busy to have a nap!  He goes to bed early instead at about 6.30 - 7pm which is fine by me :)

What I have found helpful is having some quiet time in the afternoon at about 2.30pm.  His baby sister has a nap then so I usually read to him or take them both out in our double buggy if the weather is nice.  This gives us at least some structure to his day and an opportunity for us all to have an hour of peace.  I say an hour because I think an hours nap is plenty!  (Or two one hour naps for younger children.) If you let them sleep longer than this during the day I have found it is impossible to get them to sleep in the evening and I would rather they slept then.  My son has never slept longer than an hour at a time for a nap since he was about 9 months old anyway.

I have found that it is best not to worry about it too much and just put them to bed earlier.  They are changing from a baby to a little child and they are going through rapid increases in their mental development.  I think my son is just far too busy learning about the world and he hates being interrupted by a nap time.  He is healthy, happy and getting all the sleep he needs due to going to bed early so I really am not worried!  

Hope this helps,


post #6 of 16
I also dread giving up naps. Luckily my 2yr old still naps daily. But bedtime is around 9 and up around 6:30. 1.5 hr nap after lunch.

Only difficult thing is getting together with friends as it seems anyone older doesn't nap.
post #7 of 16

Nap confusion sucks!  I know I count on my 3 year old to take a nap every day, but most of the time she won't nap unless I lie down with her!  She can make it through the day without a nap, but she becomes intolerable in the evening.


My son is almost 7 and while he doesn't like it, I can still coerce him to take a nap on occasion.  Until he turned 6, he took a nap most days.  He needed it, and while he fought it (he fights everything), he would always end up taking a good 2-hour nap once he fell asleep.  I thought he was going to give up naps at 4, but here we are and they aren't unheard of anymore.  I had him take "quiet time" in his room this afternoon and he ended up napping!

post #8 of 16

I keep finding myself wishing there was some sort of algorithm to predict the right time to do a nap, to do bedtime, etc.  Mine has to be caught at the perfect moment to nap, and I used to be pretty good at catching that moment - provided she slept from 7p.m. to 6 a.m. with only 2 or 3 brief wake-ups.  And had outdoor time in the morning.  So...how does naptime adjust if she wakes up at 5, not only getting up earlier, but also getting tired sooner because she got less sleep?  And what if we don't play outside?  If I could just sort all the factors into some sort of brilliant equation....., well, I would certainly become a millionaire, and my kid would nap until junior high!

post #9 of 16

I recommend trying to set a bed time and stick to it. Try for 7:30 (I'm guessing, choosing the in-between time?). If your DD doesn't nap that day, and is intolerable, keep her up til 730 anyway. Perhaps this will make her more likely to take her nap the following day. Or, she may adjust by an hour and prove she really doesn't need the nap after all. If she DOES nap, insist on bed at 7:30 anyway. This way her sleep (and yours) is not completely regulated by whether or not she took a nap that day. Eventually she will figure out she either needs the nap, or doesn't, but consistency is key. It may be very annoying at first, but only takes a few days to set a routine.


7:30 is bed time for my 3 year, 8 month old DS. 6 out of 7 days a week, typically, he naps. One day, he will swear he's not tired and doesn't want or need to nap. Whatever. I'm not going to fight him on it. But I'm also not going to allow him to go crawling off to sleep at dinner time because he didn't nap. He has gotten much better at self regulating the need for a nap since taking this approach. The only days he seems to truly not need a nap is if he slept past 7 am, and then played inside for all or most of the day. If he got up early, or has been playing outside, he's going to need his nap. I  provide a lull for nap time if that's what he chooses. After playing for a few hours in the am, we come in for lunch and quiet time. DD naps then. He can nap or read, listen to music, whatever, but he almost always chooses to nap recognizing there's not really much happening. The best part of this is that *my* only obligation at nap time is to tuck him in and hand him a cup of water. No laying there for an hour trying to convince him to sleep!


I made this change shortly after DD was born (DS was about 29/30 months).. and it stuck. He hasn't given up the nap yet, or even come close really, and I am grateful! Because I still need it. Lol. Good luck!

post #10 of 16
Originally Posted by anjsmama View Post
7:30 is bed time for my 3 year, 8 month old DS. 6 out of 7 days a week, typically, he naps. One day, he will swear he's not tired and doesn't want or need to nap. Whatever. I'm not going to fight him on it. But I'm also not going to allow him to go crawling off to sleep at dinner time because he didn't nap.


Hmm.  I'm not sure that my daughter would be able to make this connection yet, at 25 months.  She really doesn't seem to understand much about sleep at all, and, in particular, the concept that sleep is something one can choose to do. And I'm not sure she's able to connect something that happened so much earlier in the day with the way that she's feeling in the moment - especially when that feeling is exhaustion.  Plus, I feel like many young children sleep poorly at night if they're overtired.  Mine most definitely does.  I DO agree, however, that eliminating the expectation of sleep while still providing an opportunity for sleep seems to be working really well for both me and DD so far.  I think...some day she may actually fall asleep during quiet time!

post #11 of 16

If my guy is overtired, his sleep gets worse and worse and worse...he NEEDS at a minimum a two hour nap and 10-11 hours at night to function.  So, if he doesn't nap we put him down around 6/6:30pm for bed and he will sleep until 6:30/7am and then the hope is that he resets and resumes naps.  It's when he's overtired that the naps start to fade...and then his night sleep starts to suffer if we don't put him down EARLY.

post #12 of 16

Consider dropping the week all together for a week and see what happens. A lot of times kids do much better with no nap everyday than naps some days. Plus, you can move bedtime much earlier. DD's nightime sleep improved a lot.

post #13 of 16

No nap for three days and then, last night, he was inconsolable and desperate for sleep and UP until 2am.   That's what happens when naps don't at our house.

post #14 of 16

Ugh, things are going horribly at our house, too.  Our attempt at "giving up" naps in favor of a pressure-free quiet time has resulted in the most exhausted, sleepless, manic disaster of a 2-year-old in the world.  She was up and down for hours last night, too.  And now it seems like there is absolutely no possible way to get her down for a nap.  I'm feeling, to put it very mildly, discouraged.  And I yelled at her today because she wouldn't let ME get any rest or time to myself, either, and we both ended up sobbing as her little 8-month-old cousin looked on with wide eyes.  Sigh.  Bad, bad day.

post #15 of 16

Hugs to you newmamalizzy.   The tyranny of sleep is pretty horrific isn't it.  I'm looking forward to the eventual dissapearance of naps...but with our luck that would mean that I would have a child who needs NO naps and a child who needs five hours a day of naps at the same time (we are hoping for a 3 year age difference for LO and our hoped for second child--no one is pregnant yet, but it will hopefully happen soon!)!


That said, I can still get DS to nap on my back in a carrier (the car and stroller only work when I don't want them to)--but at about 29 pounds I'm starting to have a harder time carrying him for the couple of hours he wants to sleep when he's back there.

post #16 of 16

I'm there with you, but with a 4.5 year old! He mostly doesn't nap (naps 1-2 times a week), but when he doesn't he is still a bear. He has needed it up until now.


But, for a 25 month old, yes, they don't get the connection between their mood and sleep or any of that. How about waking from the nap? You can shorten them (when you get them) to 2 hours, and eventually to 1. This will make her more tired for bedtime, and hopefully get her back into the cycle of naps. It is counter-intuitive in a way, but if it doesn't happen naturally (a shortening nap) you can make it happen! For my 4.5 year old, we have to limit it to only 1 hour (sometimes less) when he gets one, because he will really be up late if we don't! But, he would keep sleeping 2 hours (or more) if we didn't! And he's 4.5!


Good luck!

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