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Tell me about nape issues with your 2-2.5 year old. Dropping a nap already...?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

First, let me mention that we're pretty out of our school-year routine right now and I have a good feeling that just getting back to that will be the fix...BUT, I'm curious to hear about your experiences with naps at this age.  


When did your toddler drop the nap?  How did that look?  What did you do for the time between napping and dropping the nap all together?  What age do kids normally drop the nap anyway?  


Have you experienced a toddler (2-2/5 yo) who sometimes just can't settle down for a nap but who would be really tired too early for bed time on those days?  




Last week DC missed her nap and then got a second wind at night time and was up until 9:30 and then again at 7:30 am. Just not enough sleep for her and a rather rough day for the rest of the family too. ;-)  


Yesterday she feel asleep for like 3 minutes and then woke up when I brought her in from the car. At 5pm I started asking her if she wanted to go "night-night".  She was asleep by 6:15 (as opposed to her normal bed time at 8:30).  She was up today at 7.  


I'm wondering if on the days where she has a super short nap, or if she can't fall asleep at a reasonable hour for a nap (like well before 4pm), that I should just prep her for sleeping early that night?  



Thoughts, experiences? 

post #2 of 14
Mine was done completely by her 2nd birthday. Wouldn't even sleep in the car after a beach trip. If she does happen to nap, she cries for up to an hour when she wakes and is weird the rest of the day.

It took a loooong time for her to adjust. A year and a half later, she can make it just fine to a 7 pm asleep time and sleeps 11 - 12 hours. I started out putting her to bed at a time that would maintain her total sleep time, and that seemed to work. Dinner was a struggle because she was often too tired to eat, even at 4:45. I did implement a quiet time, but she sometimes turns out grouchier afterwards.

Hope your LO gets back in the groove!
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Interesting. I wonder how unusual it is to drop a nap that young.  I suppose a google search is in order. I love the nap (of course) and DC seemed to like it to - gave such a nice structure to the day. But, more and more often it's taking me over an hour of walking in the buggy or car ride to get her to sleep - she just seems to be resisting it. She goes down better around 2 because she's extra tired but that's LATE for a nap and we can't get into that routine anyway because in 3 weeks she's going to need to be up and out the door several days/week by 7:30/8:30. Not only that, my older child is starting middle school and will need me in the evenings as she adjusts to having homework for the first time in her life. I can't have a toddler awake at 9 every night. 


The routine yesterday with a bit of down time in the afternoon and then a super early bedtime was awesome for me...though it will certainly get in the way of DC's time with her dad if she goes to sleep less than two hours after he gets home. 


I guess I'll have to take a wait and see approach.  


What are some thoughts on just setting a limit on the amount of time I will dedicate to a nap and if DC hasn't fallen asleep in that window, just focusing on an early bed time? 

post #4 of 14

DS has been refusing to nap at home for about a year, though he will zonk out in the car sometimes. If he takes a nap at home it is always a surprise, like he'll just go lie down in bed or fall asleep cuddling with me.

Without a nap, DS gets a maximum of 10 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Usually 8pm-6am.


Identitycrisis, I think it is a great idea to set a time limit for nap attempts, and go to early bedtime if DC doesn't nap. I imagine that would work for most children, and would help preserve sanity (before I figured out that DS was done with naps I was spending 2-3 hours a day trying to get him to sleep).

post #5 of 14
My DD1 is 28 months and naps only happen in the car now. She used to sleep in the stroller too but the last little while she started with the incessant "what's that, mama?" and isn't relaxing/letting go enough to conk out. Before I gave up on bed naps, I started instituting a 1h time limit on getting her to sleep. I figured it was really demoralizing to spend more time working towards a nap than she'd spend napping so if the hour was up and she was still awake, we simply left her room and got on with the day. Our routine is like this:
If she naps, then bath is at 6:30 or 7 and she's asleep by 8:30 or 9.
If she doesn't nap, then bath is at 6 or 6:30 and she's asleep by 7 or 7:30 - 8 at the absolute latest.
As you can see, no nap makes for a shorter bedtime routine since she doesn't need as much winding down and is content with less reading and falls asleep quicker. She's pretty cranky most no nap days though and since we have the newborn, I'm really trying to have her be well rested as much as possible. DH is off work for August so I have lots of help but I'm a little weary of what this will be like once he goes back and I'm on my own.
post #6 of 14

3 of my 4 kids (the 4th just turned 2) dropped naps between their 2nd birthday and before they were 2.5 years old. Like another poster said, it was a long transition. We had to keep active and noisy in the car in late afternoon to keep them awake. They would be out for the night at 7pm by the latest. Even a short car nap though would keep them up for hours at night. How they dropped naps is just what you described, it would be take me an hour or more to get them asleep and then they would go to bed really late once they did finally nap. 

post #7 of 14

My DS dropped his nap around 18 months.  He will very occasionally nap in the car or at preschool. 

When he dropped his nap it got much easier to get him to bed at night.

On the days he does get a nap it takes forever for him to fall asleep at night.

post #8 of 14
Around that age my kids pushed their naps back really late, usually sleeping from 2:30pm-4:00pm. Then they wouldn't go to bed until 9 or 10. But if I tried to get them to last until bedtime, around 6 or 7, they were soooo cranky. They would often fall asleep at 5pm, but only take a nap and then they would be up until 2am. So we just went with the flow and had a late bedtime for about a year.
post #9 of 14

I don't think it's anything unusual.  Some kids don't need to sleep that much and unfortunately for me, that was my DD.  She dropped her first nap at 7 months!  She was nursing to sleep when one day, I was surprised to find she didn't fall asleep at her usual napping hour #1.  She continued to nurse every 2 hours, though, nap #1 or not.  Then, by 2 yo, she started transitioning to no nap at all.  It took 6 months to completely drop it.  One day, she wouldn't need a nap, another day, she would.  We were never on a tight schedule, which made the unpredictability a lot easier.  Actually, as a toddler, she used to tell me when she needed to nap, and I just followed her lead.  She is almost 5 now and she rarely naps at home, but falls asleep in the car if she is really tired. 


Compared that to my neighbor, who has 3 kids who all took TWO naps a day until close to 2 yo.  Go figure.  smile.gif

post #10 of 14
I have a feeling that it's common for 2 year olds to have more energy and resist naps. This might be fine if you are able to put them to bed early, but I still can't manage to get dinner on the table before 7, later most days! So, I insist on naps for my two kids. This was really tough some days, for like a year around age 2-3. My eldest (almost 5) now sleeps every afternoon with no fuss. Sometimes it's 30 minutes, or more than 2 hours. She still gets to sleep fine in the evening, but we have a late routine that suits our family for now.

I expext that when she goes to Kindergarten in the fall we'll finally drop the nap and I'll be forced into an earlier schedule at last :-P

Now I'm going through the nap troubles with my 2.5 year old, who would prefer to play with her blanket or get up and play babies, then be wiped out before dinner. She is supposed to nap at preschool in the fall, so more inspiration to shift everything earlier in the day...
post #11 of 14

I would caution against assuming that all naps are done forever, or that the reason she's not napping is that she's not tired. Our experience is that the kids change over time and sometimes need/choose to go back to napping. Also, our first was never a great napper/sleeper. I highly encourage the early bedtime. At 2, he was in bed by 6 pm no matter what and slept until 7 am. This was the only way he would take a nap during the day. Otherwise, he'd be overtired and wouldn't nap and it would all be a vicious cycle. We tried putting him to bed later to see if he'd sleep later, but his internal clock wakes him up by 7 no matter how late he gets to bed -- even now at age 9, this is true (although, now of course, he goes to bed at 8-9 pm).


I always found the early bedtime sooooo nice for me and my DH. It gave us much needed quiet time together. And, no matter how weird it may seem, it doesn't last long in the scheme of things anyway.


Our second was totally different. Seemed to be fazing out naps last year at age 5, but got way too cranky and asleep on his feet when we did away with them. He's always been pretty good at knowing when he's tired, so now he's napping 2-3 times a week -- for almost a year now. I make sure he's down by 1:30 at the latest and that he gets good after-nap exercise and we don't have too many nighttime troubles. I need about 9 hours and often still need a good nap, so I figure he comes by it naturally.


Everyone's different.

post #12 of 14

Kids are so different, that is for sure!


My DD stopped all naps by 18 months, and it was a very quick process. She was too busy to want to sleep, and is still a very busy 7 year old. Just part of her personality.


DS stopped napping regularly by roughly 3-4 years. He used to fall asleep in the car when we would go out to do errands, which was convenient and inconvenient at the same time. He seems to know when his body needs more sleep, though, especially if he is going through a growth spurt. He would actually take himself off to bed if he was tired, and he still will comfortably fall asleep in the car (unlike DD who can't seem to let her mind relax enough to sleep even if she is exhausted).


I don't really have any advice, but I would say the not napping is certainly within normal. You will have to figure what works best to give your kiddo the time to rest if they really need it, as well as how to make it work within your own family and daily activities. If they do well with a schedule, then you might want to try and impose a more strict schedule; if they do better just having a "quiet time" then try that. Some days it might mean an early bedtime (even if it is dinnertime for everyone else), and a short period of being awake later on when their "regular" bedtime would be.


Good luck! These transitional times can be rough to get through, but they do get through them.

post #13 of 14

I think it is a great idea to set a time limit for nap attempts, and go to early bedtime if DC doesn't nap. I imagine that would work for most children, and would help preserve sanity

post #14 of 14
What are some thoughts on just setting a limit on the amount of time I will dedicate to a nap and if DC hasn't fallen asleep in that window, just focusing on an early bed time? 


This is kind of what we do. I have a time that I know is too 'late' for a nap. If she's not asleep by then - then I still wait a little while and get her up.

Example: She spends roughly two hours in her bed if she sleeps. Either sleeping after half an hour and getting an hour and a half, or sleeping after an hour of playing happily, for an hour. On days where she is not sleeping...and goes past a whole hour, I just leave her for half an hour, and get her up. Still gives me a minimum of 1.5 hours each day to get something done (unless there are tears...which is rare).




Here is my thread on a similar topic.




Ours is turning 3 in two weeks. You can see from the last post I made that I persisted in taking her for a nap even after a month (May) when it really looked like she was done - and she then increased them again for another couple of months.


However.....she seems to be over her growth spurt, and illness now...and has had about a 50 / 50 month thus far.

Things are crazy with us and I just need her to stay there...and keep the nap time going for another month at least - so I'm going to continue taking her to her cot. The last three days she has called out to me over and over again. If I ignore her she'll nap eventually...but it has to be said that her naps are getting later and later too....so it's all a bit nerve-wracking.

She is not at preschool or anything, but we were planning on starting that in the next couple of months - so a part of me wants to try and keep the nap routine going until after then...as she might need it then with all the stimulation. Unsure.


One thing I read somewhere was that they are more or less ready to give them up when compensating with an earlier bedtime doesn't lead them to have a disturbed nights sleep. 6-8 months ago when she dropped a nap and we put her to bed 30-45 minutes earlier, she WOULD wake up in the night distressed, as if she was all out of sync. Nowadays, that doesn't happen and she sleeps through happily with the added half an hour (we've found if we try for more than an extra half hour early, she will wake up...or not go to bed happily. So effectively on no-nap days she is getting less overall sleep...but it seems to work, on those days anyway).


Good luck!

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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Toddler › Life with a Toddler › Tell me about nape issues with your 2-2.5 year old. Dropping a nap already...?