My 3 yr old won't nap. HELP!

Stephanie - posted on 07/20/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My son turns 3 next month and has recently decided he will not nap. Even when he stays in his room he sits on his bed and sings to himself. I even feel like he's purposely going BM in his diaper (wears only during nap and bed) repeatedly during nap time so that someone will come change him to pass the time.
He's only gone BM in the potty two times and I think he's holding it in for nap time. What can I do?
I know that he still needs a nap because he becomes easily irritated and cranky in the early afternoons when he doesn't get a nap. How can I encourage him to take a nap? I've tried reminding him of positive rewards like his favorite stickers. I've tried ignoring him while he stays in his room. Someone please give me some good ideas!

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Louise - posted on 07/21/2010

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Neither of my older boys had a nap at 3. Try to enforce quiet time by reading to him and then saying right time for your room if you want to have a nap then this is the time to do it. Let him play in his room for half an hour. Then let him come out. If he gets cranky in the afternoon then try and put him to bed earlier in the evenings. His routine is changing as he is growing up.

Julie - posted on 07/20/2010

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Try telling him it is not nap time but "quiet time". Take him to the BM immediately before hand. Give him a book to read (let him choose it) and give him the option of having a sleep. "you dont have to have a nap, just lie down and read the book quietly". That will put the ball in his court and he may not feel like he is being forced to do something he doesnt want to.If he is tired, he will sleep. I do agree with you that going to the BM in his nappy is for your attention. If he does, take him to the BM (so that he knows he still has to go to the BM no matter what he is doing) then back to bed with his book. my youngest is 2 in dec and she doesnt have a nap every day, but she does have quiet time and so does my 3yo. As for the irritability and cranky afternoons, distract him with some 'big boy jobs' like helping prepare dinner or set the table. It works an absolute treat with my two year old.

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Sarah - posted on 07/23/2010

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I have a 3 1/2 and a 2 year old and there are days the older boy refuses to nap, but wether he naps or not the routine is the same. Lunch, wash-up/ bathroom time-reward him if he goes, then stories and into bed. I agree with Julie that you can't make him sleep, but the quiet time with little to no distractions usually does the trick if they are tired. Something else you can try is to wear him out about 1/2 to 1 hour before nap time. If mine doesn't run mine doesn't sleep (read Crystal's post too) !! And when you put him into bed don't go back in. If he messes his diaper and you feel you have to change it make this as quick as possible no extras or fanfare just in and out. If he still refuses to sleep turn back his bedtime to reflect the time he missed at nap, but this can backfire too as mine are usually up earlier if i put them to bed earlier than their 7:30 bed time.
Good luck

Stephanie - posted on 07/22/2010

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He took a nap yesterday! And was much happier in the afternoon. Thanks for all the advice guys!

Crystal - posted on 07/21/2010

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Wow, I feel lucky! My 4, almost 5 year old still naps most days! :) I make sure that we do our most active stuff in the mornings so that mid day he will nap with his 2 year old sister. I definitely need my quiet time, and thats when I get it. And I nap sometimes too! When he doesn't nap, he stays in his bed and "rests." I tell him that our bodies need rest to grow and so we can build up energy for the rest of the day. He too gets cranky when he doesn't nap, but on the days he doesn't, he goes to bed earlier than normal, and he usually passes out pretty quick. :) I would maybe try "upping" the reward??? On days that I need a good break and the kids aren't cooperating, I make sure they know that if they don't nap or have quiet time, we dont' get to do anything fun after, we have to stay home and indoors. :( They hate that! Best of luck!

Jennifer - posted on 07/21/2010

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My son stopped napping at 3yrs, almost to the day (and we'd struggled about 3ms prior to). But we have ALWAYS had quiet rest time. He has to stay in his room with the lights dimmed for a set amount of time (the older he gets the less it is). He can read (got books on CD), play with his cars, do his "laptop" etc. As long as he is quiet. We had some battles over it at times but now at 4yrs old he knows and expects it. And it really does make a differance. On the rare days he doesn't have it he is a crank in the evenings.
Speaking of being a grouch in the evenings when he was transitioning out of the afternoon nap he was AWFUL in the evenings, but moving his bedtime back worked until he was adjusted. At one point he was going to bed at 6:30 right after dinner, but it was better then him being a great big bear all evening!

Maura - posted on 07/21/2010

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He's done. Most 3 yr olds are. Cranky is normal. Sounds more like mom wants him to nap. Reality check. Naptime is over. Try earlier bed time or quiet time. But there is no way in hell my 3 yr old was ever going to nap again.

Renae - posted on 07/21/2010

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Unfortunately it sounds like he is growing out of nap time. He is at the right age for it. There is always a few months where they still really need a nap but refuse to have one. Just like when they transition from 2 naps to 1 nap. Quiet time helps some kids. He should grow out of the afternoon crankies. Sorry this really isn't giving you any usable advice is it. :)

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