to nap or not to nap?

United States
August 16, 2010 4:37pm CST
My son will be three years old in November. We have been fighting with him on going to bed every night for the past 2 weeks! It's getting ridiculous! I thought about cutting out his nap but just can't bring myself to do it. About noontime he gets disgruntled and crabby and even requests it. I managed to keep him from sleeping by taking him to the pool the other day but we honestly cannot do that everyday! Plus that didn't even help the problem. So my dilemma is, how do I get my son to go to bed at a decent hour (8-9PM) with a short midday nap somewhere in his day without puling my hair out? We have a night time ritual and he doesn't fight bedtime. He just gets up and finds excuses to get out of bed. Potty. Water. More hugs, etc. ARG! Makes me want to scream. He hasn't gone to sleep before midnight for the past 2 weeks. What do you mommies do? As far as I understand this is the age to start cutting out the nap. Several children his age don't nap. Should I try harder to cut it out? help!
2 people like this
17 responses
@katiesueg (259)
• Italy
16 Aug 10
I cut my children's afternoon naps out when they were about three years old. Maybe shortly before. I cut out the naps because it had just got so hard to try to make them sleep in the afternoon. Curiously, they still did not want to go to bed early at night, aaaarrgh! In your case, it appears that your son wants to nap. As long as he takes his nap willingly, I would continue to let him have his nap. Every child is different, and forcing him to give up his nap may rob him of the rest he needs. If he gets overtired, he may get too cranky and have difficulty at night as you have already found. It looks like this may be a difficult phase for you, but in a few months he will probably be ready to give up his nap on his own.
1 person likes this
@Segerer (53)
• Argentina
17 Aug 10
Well if thats your problem....why not sending him to some kind of club or activity? now...if you cant do so then just cut his naps already. Even if he thinks its bad at the moment he will be favored by it at the long run. Besides parents have to take decisions that may be not liked by their childs sometimes....its rather natural.
• Argentina
17 Aug 10
However i personally think you should let it be. If the child is still healthy and is ok overall, there shouldnt be any motives for him to be cutting naps.
21 Oct 10
My 2 year old daughter sometimes has a nap, but sometimes doesn't... my wife usually has a problem getting her to bed at bedtime when shes had a nap in the daytime as shes not tired enough to go down without a fight. My 4 year old son didn't have a nap very often in the daytime when he was 3 years old, but all children are different.. some need more sleep more than others and its not a bad thing when they do.
• Philippines
18 Aug 10
I never cut my children's nap. They nap twice a day. I encourage them to take a nap because they are so energetic and they wake up at 5am or sometimes 6am. I want them to rest and relax their bodies. They get moody when they don't take their naps.
• United States
18 Aug 10
Hello, I know all too well what you are going through. My daughter is now 5 years old and sometimes still needs a nap from time to time. She just has so much energy sometimes and just needs to nap it off (in my opinion). I too, have the same problems at night time with her and my 6 year old son. The whole getting out of bed 4 or 5 time per night deal is driving me crazy too. For the last 2 nights (since school started), I have been threatening them with no afternoon snack when they come home in hopes of getting them to stay in bed for good, but something always comes up and they always have something to tell me or to give me. I don't think he is too young for naps, because as long as there is energy to burn, there are naps to take.
• Thailand
17 Aug 10
Lunch should sleep about 45' to 1 hour is sufficient . Not need much .
@kristeena (358)
• Philippines
17 Aug 10
Children do take a midday nap especially those 1-3 years of age. It can be beneficial, giving them more alertness both in mind and in body. Sometimes I got the same problem as yours when my children took a late afternoon nap. Since they have already spent more hours of playing, they tend to sleep deeper and can take at least 3 hours or more which make them awake until the midnight. What we do now is that they drink a glass of milk at around 9pm, if they can't sleep we start counting from 1 to 100 over and over but in a soft voice... until they get tired and sleep. Sometimes, I fell asleep earlier than they did.
• United States
17 Aug 10
I let my kids nap until they were staying up too late, which is what it sounds like you are venturing into. I really don't like bedtime to be messed with, but I also enjoy the nap too, lol! It's such a tricky choice, what I have found is that my children did well with a nap every other or every few days depending on how crabby they were. On the days that they did take a nap, they were up a little later, but not too much. I just don't think it's possible for a 3 year old to make it a full day without a nap, they end up falling asleep on the floor/couch anyway! So maybe try and cut out a nap every other day and see how it goes?
@aurorastorm (1136)
• United States
17 Aug 10
I would continue to let him take his nap because he seems like he still needs it, however I would maybe do it a little earlier and then make sure he does not nap for to long or past a certain time in the afternoon. I am a fan of the show Super Nanny, on that show some of her techniques for getting kids to sleep are good. Here is one she always tells parents to do, the first time your son gets out of bed, walk him back to his bed, saying it is time to go to sleep. Each time after that, walk him back to his bed but do not speak in anyway, after a bunch of times, they realize they are not getting their way and not receiving any feedback from you and will give up and go to sleep. It can take a week or so for this to work though.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
17 Aug 10
most kids will cut out their own naps when ready. BUt if they want a nap at 5 pm that should be a no no forthats to late for a nap when ya might want 8 pm as a bedtime SHould start to putthem down for bedtime at teh smae time as they are growing and they get into the rutine of it. And you have to put a stop to all the breaks! read a story the on the end it is bedtime for sure. Cant givein to them wanting all this deertion he is working you.
@sender621 (14956)
• United States
17 Aug 10
I know that taking naps for babies and toddlers is important to their growth and development. After that stage, i can't see that naps helped or hindered anything. My children were never big nap takers to begin with. I don't think you should force a child to take a nap. They will do it if they are willing.
@chayapathys (2113)
• India
17 Aug 10
It is very strange that the child of 3yrs taking a nap in the afternoon and not going to to bed early has been made a topic for discussion. What is the intention of the parents in expecting such a behavior from an infant not to nap in the noon and go to bed at 8 or 9 PM.Do they expect him to become another Hitler or Mussuloni. The child sleeps wheneve it feels like sleeping and play the rest of the time of the day.Even elders feel like taking a nap in the afternoon. Great people like Mahatma Gandhi used to take afternoon . It refreshes the entire system and makes one agile.If the child feels sleepy it would automatically goes to sleep.There is nothing to worry about it.May be they need to consul a children specialist to know about child behaviour
@akopoaysi (740)
• Philippines
17 Aug 10
i think napping is good especially for brain development and his growth. does he wants sweets? cut those off! they make kids crazy! dont let him eat chocolates, cookies, candies, cakes. because of the sugar content. if you will give him treats of those make sure they will eat it before 3pm. because if they take it on the late afternoon i am sure your son will sleeps so late. plus dont make him drink soda at night due to caffeine. hope it helps! happy day to you!
• United States
17 Aug 10
Maybe try about an hour before bedtime to bring him down. I sense that you have him really hyper and active right up until the second of his bedtime. Try soothing things like watch a movie something really calming and 'baby-ish' that will ease him into a certain mood. or have him listen to c.d.s that have really calming sounds like oceanic waves and read to him while its playing in the background. I think your problem is simple hes just to hyper and so when its bed time he has all this energy to expend and its all built up so mellow it out by doing calming activites that encourage relaxation.
• Libya
17 Aug 10
try sleeping pills xD kidding a nap is good for him in this age when it's bed time knock him out with a rock or bat and you will feel will and he will turn nuts by the time you die sorry i'm just saying
@vikkiz (519)
17 Aug 10
i cut my sons naps out at 3 years old partly because he was in full time nursery from 9am to 3pm but it didnt seem to bother him at all since then he has a steady sleep schdule that it literally perfect even now at 5 years old he goes to school then to football or other activitys and goes to bed betweem 8.30pm 9.pm with no problems and wakes in the mornng with no problems. I personally think the naps should be cut out to give a more normal bedtime routine even if he is getting grouchy in the afternoon just do a calm activity like painting or watchin a dvd his body clock will eventually get used to it x
@shia88 (4582)
• Malaysia
17 Aug 10
Hi, Since your son is going to be 3 years old, it is necessary for him to take his nap,but you can try to cut short his nap time to 1-2 hours only everyday. By the way, what time does he take his nap? For my son, he is 3.5 years old now and he still do take a nap every afternoon.there is always time whereby he refused to nap and just want to play/watch TV,but I scolded him and advised him to faster get his short nap. Then he will follow my instruction and faster hug his pooh bolster. My son 's nap will last about 2 hours. He always goes for nap around 2pm-2.30pm, So by 5pm if he has not waken up, I will wake him up. AT night, my son will goes to bed around 10pm as the next day he still need to attend half day nursery at 8am. YOu can try to adjust your son's sleeping time to 9pm every night. and half an hour before goes to bed,start to change his Pj and read bed time stories for him. At least, he knows that his time for bed and he get himself prepared. Same time,let him drink his milk after changing his Pjs. After finish reading the stories, off the light or dim the light, then sleep at your son's side. For my son, I do not need to pad him to sleep,don't have this habit. He will just lie on the bed and sleep by himself.