3.5 year old will not take a nap! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am going crazy here! My 3 year old will not take a nap.  We have a lot of expenses and a deadline to do a lot of DMV stuff, so I have gotten extra stressed and ended up spanking her.  Nothing like the spankings I got as a kid, but I did hit her in frustration and I can't get her to take a nap.

 

What happens when she doesn't take a nap, is she is very destructive, she is rough with the 8mos. old and she will go outside by herself, and much more.

 

I've explained to her why she needs a nap, and that if she doesn't nap she can't go out to play with her friends.  But it drives me crazy to have her inside for so long too, so I don't really know what to do.

 

She ends up being whiny and mean all day, and we end up being annoyed with each other.  It pretty much ruins the whole day when we get to nap time and she doesn't nap.  It's not that she isn't tired, I know when she is.  She woke up early and she played inside for awhile, before going out to play with her friends for a few hours, but she is very determined to fight sleep and she's always been that way. 

 

I need a new strategy.  Please help if you have any advice.

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#2 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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She might actually be ready to give up naps, despite being tired. It takes a couple of weeks or so for them to get adjusted when they give up naps. Lots of kids don't take naps anymore at that age.

I wouldn't force a nap. You can't force three things: input (food), output (toilet), and sleep. Any attempt to force those things is going to end up causing more trouble than it solves. She owns her body and she knows it. You're frustrated because it's an issue where you can't win. And kids that age love love love power struggles. They'll put more energy into the power struggles than you will. I would completely disengage. If her body needs a nap, she'll end up sleeping one way or the other.

If you do give up on naps, she might need to start going to bed earlier at night and/or wake up later.
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#3 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 09:16 PM
 
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I also have a 3 1/2 year old and naps have been on their way out with her too. Unless we have a really active day she doesn't nap. She does have cranky/whiny days for sure but I'm feeling like that is more of an age thing than naps or lack thereof. A plus to no naps is bedtime has become so much easier! She's usually pretty wiped out and it isn't a struggle at all whereas when she was napping more, she'd usually go to bed later cause she just wasn't as tired. I tried pushing naps for a while and it always turned into a useless power struggle so I just let her kind of regulate herself. 

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#4 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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(hugs)  I know how hard it is to have too much on your plate, be feeling stressed out, and then have your child do something like stop napping.  It is so overwhelming and frustrating.

 

Unfortunately, I have to agree with the previous posters.  She is probably done napping most days.

 

My dd gave up naps around 3, I think.  At 4, they are long gone.  I do miss them, though )

 

It will definitely take some focused work from you (which it sounds like you might not have to give at the moment), but you could institute a quiet time.  I have done this in the past, and I wish I would get it together to keep it up.  Basically, everybody in the house needs to find a quiet activity for a set amount of time.  I let dd play quietly on her bed.  She could look at books, listen to music or audio books, play with dolls or other quiet toys, etc.  If this is a routine, it can be great for everyone.  It gives both the parent and the child some time to wind down, if not sleep.

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#5 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 10:08 PM
 
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My 2.5 yo stopped napping at home a while ago (probably around her birthday). She was just too wired with her toys and activities around to unwind enough. She doesn't nap every single day, but when she doesn't she's super cranky and she doesn't sleep any more at night, so I've committed to helping her to nap as best as I can each day. For us this means 1. being home for lunch around 12, no matter what, 2. reading a story to her while she goes on the potty, 3. a small bottle of milk, 4. walking her in the stroller, rain or shine, or lately in the ergo again so she can be the baby, while my new LO is in the stroller.  Lots of days I don't feel like getting out and forcing her into the walk if she doesn't want to go, but it works about 90% of the time and she's much nicer to be around when she naps. Once she's asleep we come home and I move her to her bed.

I know your DD is older, and it may be that she's just moving out of needing naps all together.  I thought naps in our house were done for, but I just had to create a new routine that works (for now at least!)


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#6 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well... we'll see how this works tomorrow.  I have also tried the quiet time, but she won't do that either, maybe if I make more of a big deal about "this is quiet time" and get her dad into it, it might work.  Right now it is almost 10pm and she's been awake since like 6am, so her bedtime is later than usual, usually it is like8:30.  She's still not asleep and is bothering the baby. I wouldn't really care too much about the actual napping, but she really needs to wind down, because she ends up uncleaning things I've cleaned, breaking things and hurting the baby and us parents, as well as running outside and even in the street sometimes(parking lot) it drives me nuts... Thanks for the advice, though, I'll try the quiet time tomorrow.

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#7 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 11:05 PM
 
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Is it possible for one of you to lay down with her?  My son is close in age to your dd, and he still needs to nap.  Most days, it doesn't happen, but if I or dh can lay down with him he fights the idea but falls asleep fairly quickly.  He will often fall asleep if we are in the car in the afternoon, so if you can plan any trips or errands to end at naptime that might help.  It might help to try her nap at a different time of day, especially if she wakes up early.  Maybe after she has played and had a snack, but before she would normally have lunch.


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#8 of 19 Old 05-20-2011, 09:06 AM
 
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DS stopped napping around 3 maybe a little before 3.  I would say it took 6-8 weeks before it was okay.  I tried forcing naps for a little while, gave up and let it ride for 2 months before things were chill.  It was a hard 2 months getting him regulated again, but now he doesn't nap, goes to bed WAY easier (that also took a while, he was too hyped with no nap to sleep at night for a little while), and is generally more agreeable.  So it was hard to give up the nap, but once he made a complete transition to no nap we were cool.

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#9 of 19 Old 05-22-2011, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherstory View Post

Well... we'll see how this works tomorrow.  I have also tried the quiet time, but she won't do that either, maybe if I make more of a big deal about "this is quiet time" and get her dad into it, it might work.  Right now it is almost 10pm and she's been awake since like 6am, so her bedtime is later than usual, usually it is like8:30.  She's still not asleep and is bothering the baby. I wouldn't really care too much about the actual napping, but she really needs to wind down, because she ends up uncleaning things I've cleaned, breaking things and hurting the baby and us parents, as well as running outside and even in the street sometimes(parking lot) it drives me nuts... Thanks for the advice, though, I'll try the quiet time tomorrow.



Quiet time might work better if you had a special 'big girl' activity for her, painting or playdoh at the kitchen table would probably work. Also some kids get hyper when they are over tired. At her age your DD needs 10 to 12 hours sleep per day. What kind of quiet bedtime activities do you do? We usually have stories or play a ps3 game while DD watches, only some games are relaxing. Our wind down activity is only about 30 minutes long. My DD also finds baths stimulating instead of relaxing, so she has one really early. At age 3 we were also still co-sleeping with our DD so I laid down with her until she went to sleep every night.

 

For the going outside by herself, you should get a latch to put near the top of the door so you DD can't open it. It's the easiest to fix part of your situation.

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#10 of 19 Old 05-22-2011, 02:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

DS stopped napping around 3 maybe a little before 3.  I would say it took 6-8 weeks before it was okay.  I tried forcing naps for a little while, gave up and let it ride for 2 months before things were chill.  It was a hard 2 months getting him regulated again, but now he doesn't nap, goes to bed WAY easier (that also took a while, he was too hyped with no nap to sleep at night for a little while), and is generally more agreeable.  So it was hard to give up the nap, but once he made a complete transition to no nap we were cool.


Exactly our experience. I would say just try to hang in there until DD can acclimate to her new no-nap routine and things should get much easier in a few weeks. Definitely stick with the quiet time, too, as it will serve you both well once she "gets" it.

 

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#11 of 19 Old 05-22-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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Agree with stopping naps but allowing several weeks of transition time, where she will probably be grumpy, etc. I like the idea of quiet activities vs a mandated quiet time where she is alone expected to rest. That type of rule could just create more conflict, setting her up to have an even rougher afternoon/evening.

All four of my kids stopped napping regularly around their 2nd birthday, so to me, it seems really likely that your 3.5 yr old is ready to give it up. She just needs a little help and patience getting used to the new schedule.


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#12 of 19 Old 05-22-2011, 05:00 PM
 
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Yep have to agree.  Neither of my kids napped at age 3.  


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#13 of 19 Old 05-23-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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In our house, it works to take the 18 month old in the bedroom for his nap and read to the 3 1/2 year old on the bed next to him (I know, you can't get anything else done because you are reading stories, but it at least keeps the older one quiet and settled down and the babe gets his nap). And my older one has always fought sleep. We have a bedtime routine that includes him saying, "But I don't want to go to bed. I want to stay up all night and never go to sleep." But we tell him, "You don't have to go to sleep, but you do have to lay in bed and not cause a commotion or wake your brother up." We will lay in bed with them and tell stories in the dark; between nursing and the stories, the little one always goes to sleep, but sometimes the older one is still awake after an hour. It is quite vexing. Now if we do the "I have to do X, but I'll come back to check on you in a little while," he's asleep about 75% of the time when we come back.

 

If my kids are really wired, sometimes it also works to give them some massage or back scratches. It's 'special time,' and it helps calm them, gets some of that tension out of their bodies. You could give that a shot either at nap time or in the evening, maybe make it extra-special with some lavender oil (supposed to be calming anyway) or a little rice pillow for her eyes (play up the spa aspect of it if that would appeal to her).

 

Good luck. And know you are not alone.


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#14 of 19 Old 05-29-2011, 11:41 PM
 
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I agree with the others that your dd is probably done with naps.  Two of my three stopped right around their second birthday, while the other one napped until almost age 4-- so they're all different. But if she's consistently fighting naps, it sounds like she's ready to give them up.  We just did an earlier bedtime when they gave up naps.  When my dd was 2 and didn't nap, she'd be in bed by 7.  By 3, it was 7:30 (she woke aroud 6:30).  When your dd starts being fussy or mean, it's time for bed (actually it's better if she goes to bed before she gets to that point.)

 

Do you have a good wind-down routine?  We always soft talking for 1/2 hour before bed, and lots of books in bed, then cuddling after lights went out. If my kids ever got to the fussy point, I knew they'd been up too late and I'd try to get them down earlier the next night.

 

 

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#15 of 19 Old 06-16-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

She might actually be ready to give up naps, despite being tired. It takes a couple of weeks or so for them to get adjusted when they give up naps. Lots of kids don't take naps anymore at that age.

I wouldn't force a nap. You can't force three things: input (food), output (toilet), and sleep. Any attempt to force those things is going to end up causing more trouble than it solves. She owns her body and she knows it. You're frustrated because it's an issue where you can't win. And kids that age love love love power struggles. They'll put more energy into the power struggles than you will. I would completely disengage. If her body needs a nap, she'll end up sleeping one way or the other.

If you do give up on naps, she might need to start going to bed earlier at night and/or wake up later.



ITA.

 

Can't force it, even for younger kids IMO. My 10 month old only very recently started taking regular daytime naps. Before that she just slept abotu 12 hours at night and would take one or two 10 minute catnaps whenever she felt like it during the day. Some of our relatives thought we were insane but I'm like, WHAT do you expect me to do? How exactly do you force a child to go to sleep? I can understand good "sleep hygiene" at night, but all day long? Doesn't work! Also, I'm a lifelong insomniac and I'm terrified of turning my daughter into an insomniac or someone who as "issues" with sleep when she gets older. Recently she's started sleeping slightly less at night and taking two good naps during the day, after breakfast and one after dinner. I think your daughter would nap if she really needed it, you know?


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#16 of 19 Old 02-02-2012, 07:44 PM
 
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Please don't resort to cruel punishments like smacking your kid (if you did this to an adult you would be in court for violence). Besides, have you noticed it does not work? And it will make her more prone to using violence to solve her frustrations.

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#17 of 19 Old 02-03-2012, 05:52 AM
 
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The transition out of napping is really tough.  My big two stopped napping at age 2.

 

Go for an EARLY bedtime.  Super early like 6pm.  Mine when they stopped napping slept 6pm - 7 or 8am.  


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#18 of 19 Old 02-08-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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^ I agree.  Try pushing the bedtime forward a bit.  When my daughter dropped her naps (around 2 1/2) we made her bedtime 7 o'clock.  She'd sleep pretty well from then until 8am or so.  She seemed to be fine during the day, not tired or anything.

 

Every kid is different though.  Good luck, and remember she'll be on to her next phase/routine before you know it.

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#19 of 19 Old 02-10-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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Both of my kids stopped napping at 2. I knew it was over with when months would go by with me every day desperately trying everything with no nap as a result. Yes they were grumpy, but it was part of the transition. Eventually they were used to it and all was ok. Just try getting her to bed earlier at night time. She will probably go down a whole hour earlier.

 

No judgement here about the spanking. We all have our rough moments.


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