Mama Drama: Toddler Naptime Dilemma – To Nap or Not to Nap?
posted by: Lisa Vratny-Smith
Dear Mama Drama:
When do kids stop napping? My two and a half year old son has been resisting falling asleep for about a week now but if he does fall asleep, he’s out for 1-2 hours. How do I know if he needs it still? He’s a nightmare around 5 if he doesn’t nap. Suggestions??
Napping is a tricky topic as each child has his or her own rhythms and needs. Some kids don’t need naps as early as two and others need them until they are six. Here are some things to consider in handling this dilemma.
A good rule of thumb is that young children need 10-12 hours of sleep a day. So if your son isn’t napping, he’ll need to have an earlier bedtime.
The fact that he’s falling apart around 5:00 without a nap suggests that he probably still needs one. Continue putting him down for a “rest” or “quiet time” and see if the change of language helps.
Young children still need down time to help manage all of the activity and stimulation of the day. If they aren’t napping, make sure to have at least an hour of quiet time. This can mean laying in bed or resting on the floor of their room; listening to quiet music, an audio story, or meditation cd; reading books; or playing with quiet toys are good options. Make sure this a “screen free” time.
Look at the timing of his nap. Does it need to be a bit later in the afternoon as he isn’t tired yet at the earlier time? If this causes any difficulty with going to sleep at night, you may want to adjust his bedtime as well.
Naptime is also important for busy moms. Having that quiet time to yourself to rest, relax, or get things done helps you to recharge to make it through the afternoon and evening.
Share your nap stories!
Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to Lisa@milehighmamas.com, and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! Lisa is also available for private consultations. All emails and identifying information will remain confidential. Read more of Lisa’s parenting perspective at her Laughing Yoga Mama blog.