escaping nap wars??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 12-13-2010, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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My two and a half year old is very strong and has set his will against naps despite the fact that he needs them desperately still.  We used to snuggle up and nap together and I would slip out after 20 minutes when I woke up.  But now we follow same routine, two books, in bed and a story or song.  But he just starts jumping all around the bed. He will not lie down unless I restrain him.  Obviously that's not a working solution so I made my peace with the idea of "quiet time" only he will not be quiet.  I would have to lock him in his room to keep him there otherwise he comes out of his room over and over and over... I drove him around for naptime for about two weeks straight to try to break the cycle and it worked, he naps for hours in the car. And for about three days he went back to agreeing to nap in his room but now the war is on again.  I no longer need the sleep like I used to but I need the quiet and he needs the sleep. Without a nap he is aggressive and destructive from about 4 pm on, goes to bed too early and wakes too early.  It is a mini disaster... I need help with napping tips or at least how I stop engaging in this craziness. I get so mad I feel angry for the rest of the afternoon.  I think he gets enough exercise in the morning and we don't try to go down until about 1:30...

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#2 of 13 Old 12-13-2010, 01:04 PM
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No advice. DS still will only nap if I am laying down with him. I have tried to get him to nap in his bed, but no dice. Sometimes I am able to escape after he falls asleep, but then he won't nap as long. Sometimes I sleep too, but then I'm wide awake later that night when DH and I go to bed.


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#3 of 13 Old 12-14-2010, 12:23 PM
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Both my kids stopped napping by 2.    There were in bed at about 6pm some nights because they needed the sleep, but napping during the day was a no-go.  Sorry, I can't help you with your question, but maybe trying skipping the nap and having him go to bed really early.

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#4 of 13 Old 12-14-2010, 12:42 PM
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DS fights it too... But he sleeps in his bed and has been for a while and only recently refused to nap, but then he gets super crabby by 4pm and is horrible til bed time. He needs his nap! I ease him into naptime, we go into his room at 12:30pm and play, a quieter activity type of play. I then change his diaper, ask him to drink as much water as he pleases and to turn on his monitor. I put him to bed, tell him his stuffed animals had been waiting for him, they're tired too but cannot sleep without him, and it mostly works. Sometimes he cries on and off and I go in each time and tuck him in and tell him it's naptime and he really needs it for more energy and fun play later.... Most days, it works.

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#5 of 13 Old 12-14-2010, 01:40 PM
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Hi mama,

Not much help here other than we did a routine for DD1 for naptime, but also included playing soft classical calming music in the background.  This really helped her nap for some reason- maybing blocking out other stimuli? 

Also, I did  have to go through periods of lying down with her to get her to relax, followed with a month of her napping well on her own, then a month of me helping her again.

Good luck!


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#6 of 13 Old 12-14-2010, 02:27 PM
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Naps were crucial to me. My son would have stopped, but I found I needed them as I would get so cranky without that break. So what I did was  put on relaxing music, lower lights and I would lie down in bed with a book. He would join me and when I got tired, I would turn out the lights.  If my son wanted to get up, I would let him, but I would stay lying down; fully aware of where he was and what he was doing. He would usually just stay in the room, and if he left he would come right back. I would just stay quiet and wait for him, he would eventually crawl in and we would snuggle. After he would fall asleep I would usually doze for probably 45 minutes. I would then get up feeling refreshed.. He would sleep between 2 and 3 hours. This meant however that he was up late at night.  It didn't bother me as my battery was recharged and I could deal with a child going to bed late.  For many of my friends their children stopped napping and went to bed earlier.  It's figuring out what works best for each family. 

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#7 of 13 Old 12-14-2010, 06:37 PM
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With my first two we stopped at age 2 because of this issue. There was a cranky child adjustment period and they started going to bed earlier. 

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#8 of 13 Old 12-14-2010, 07:26 PM
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Would he listen to a story on tape?  Maybe for a shorter amount of time to start with than normally.  That way he has something to entertain him, and he will quickly grasp that naptime is a short, limited time, just until the end of the story.  None of mine nap anymore, unless there is some extenuating circumstance.  But we have been doing rest/story time since they stopped napping around age 2 and all of them look forward to that part of the day now.  Every once in a while I will have to go up and remind them that it's *quiet* time, but mostly they enjoy the quiet as much as I do.

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#9 of 13 Old 12-14-2010, 07:36 PM
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All four of my kids stopped napping regularly around thier 2nd birthday.  Yes, they were cranky and one would assume they still needed a nap - for a while - but they adjusted and either went to bed earlier, or napped when they wanted to w/o a fight.  Sleep isn't something I have any desire to force anyone one to do, even though I definitely would have benefited from it.  So, sorry - no advice. 

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#10 of 13 Old 12-15-2010, 07:36 AM
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I agree - it sounds like he's outgrowing his nap and is in that awful inbetween stage - could use the nap, cranky evenings without it, but getting ready to adjust to no nap. Ds is almost finished the transition to not napping - he's almost 4. Now, if he doesn't get his nap, he's okay, and when he does nap, he's up super late.


For me, it wasn't a battle worth fighting. By the time I battled them to sleep, I was frustrated and put out and had spent an hour trying to get them to go to sleep! I gave up pretty quickly with both my kids when they started to resist napping. On no nap days, we moved up bedtime to compensate and tolerated some evening grumpiness.

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#11 of 13 Old 12-15-2010, 08:27 AM
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Yes to everyone is saying. You've just reminded me of the image of ds1 falling asleep at 5:30pm leaning back in his foam Elmo chair while watching teletubbies or something that I put on since he was too cranky to do anything else.   That phase does pass... in a few months probably....  Raffi music worked for him somehow on some days, it held his attention and he'd stop and listen a bit for "naptime" sometimes, and sometimes fell asleep on the floor next to the tape player.

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#12 of 13 Old 12-17-2010, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Even since posting this week the average time he went to sleep shifted from 2 pm to 3 pm.  So I guess a change really is afoot.  It is is easy (well, sometimes) to tell things are changing but hard to see what they are until after the fact.  This has meant two hours of fighting for one hour of sleep and I guess a pretty good indicator it is worth trying no nap, maybe for a week or two... While that could be a great solution for me and DS, DH wouldn't get to see the young one except in the morning then and that sucks.  A real consequence...  I also love the music and audio ideas too. I think that could really provide the structure and soothing stimulation he needs to understand quiet time vs. regular playtime. (or fighting) Thanks so much!

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#13 of 13 Old 12-18-2010, 06:12 PM
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Could you continue the car naps? We have an attached garage, so I would simply pull my car in, open the car door, put a baby monitor in there and go about my day. Would a stroller walk be as successful as a car ride? Then you could walk back home and park the stroller in your house. Or how about falling asleep on the couch while watching a movie?

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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