Though it was a few years ago, I remember it vividly. On a typical afternoon, I was walking my oldest child of 2 years old to his room for nap time. It couldn’t come any sooner when I could finally have some peace and quiet, but it was abruptly interrupted by a loud crash. My toddler decided that nap time would be play time, as he noisily pulled out toy after toy and scattered them across the floor. And even after my continual reminder that he should stay on his bed, he interpreted that rule as, “Cool! Mommy said I can jump on my bed for the next 2 hours!”
My world, as I knew it, came tumbling down. What would I do without that 2 to 3 hour window of time that I needed just to get through the last part of an already exhausting day?
Have you found yourself in the midst of this sleep war with your toddler? Stand your ground, tired Mama! You don’t have to give up. Here’s how you can keep nap time alive.
Give It a New Name
Some kids just want to declare themselves “too old for naps”. But you know better. Like my 4-year-old … he’ll try to stay awake, but by the end of the hour, he’s often dead asleep. So, call it something else, like “rest time” or “quiet hour”.
Establish Some Rules
Calling it “quiet hour” but allowing the kids to jump on their beds is a surefire way to multiply your gray hairs … so set some clear boundaries. For children that don’t need to sleep, you can allow them to do some quiet activities on their beds. Books are a no-brainer or maybe having a couple of action figures. One of my sons brings his phonics workbook and does a few pages. Over-achiever, I know.
Take Baby Steps
You may be anticipating some fierce resistance, but don’t back down too quickly. Perhaps start with 20 minutes and increase a bit each day until your child can handle one hour of quiet time.
I’ve set one hour for 3 reasons (but you can determine what’s best for you and your kids):
1. It takes about this long for the most stubborn nap fighter to finally go down.
2. It’s not torturously long for my older kids, who clearly no longer need naps.
3. It’s just enough time for me to cook dinner, do some light chores, or take a nap myself.
Is your child showing signs of outgrowing naps?
What are some obstacles you face in maintaining a nap time routine?
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