Naptime...when to drop it?

Rebekah - posted on 04/02/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My son is four and still naps daily for 2 hours. He doesn't often protest going. He falls asleep just about right away, which makes me think he really still needs his nap. Of course, now we are running into the bedtime problem...he has trouble falling asleep at a decent hour. We seemed to be able to get away with this for quite a while, but lately he isn't falling asleep until 11pm or sometimes later (I try to put him in between 9:30 and 10....I know, its late, but with the nap its how things have evolved).



I guess I'm recognizing that in order to get him to sleep earlier at night, the nap probably has to go. I only hesitate because 1) I have seen him without a nap on select occasions, sometimes its ok, but sometimes he's pretty crabby and edgy through the evening (has had some meltdowns) and I dread dealing with that, and 2) I do really value the break that I get during the day. He is an only child, so he is often seeking me out to play (we're working on the independent play thing, but it isn't easy)...when he naps, I can get things done, get dinner together, relax, make those uninterrupted phone calls...etc.



I am considering maybe shortening his nap, but the times when I have awakened him early, he is all out of sorts and then doesn't want to get up, and seems to take a while until he is his more cheerful self.



Input please! Do kids bodies adjust to going without the nap so they aren't so crabby? Do mommies adjust to forgoing some afternoon alone time? :) For those of you that have kids that nap on some days and not others, what does that do to the overall sleep schedule?



I apparently napped while I was still kindergarten age. Heck, I could use a nap right now...

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Michelle - posted on 04/03/2010

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My son is 5 and still naps for 2 hours a day. He goes to bed at 8 pm and gets up around 7 am. He naps from 1-3pm. But there were times when he wouldnt go to sleep til after 2pm and would wake up after 4pm-and thats when we would have the bedtime issues. So I just got to where if he wasnt asleep by 2 I didnt push the nap. We would just cuddle on the couch or something else "relaxing". On these days without the nap I would push the bedtime up to 730p sometimes 7p depending on him. Im slowly starting to see him not needing naps as much-he will lay in bed but not fall asleep more times than not-so instead of nap time we have started calling it "rest time"..lol

Shyla - posted on 04/02/2010

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Even when I wanted my two to nap, 3yr girl, 2 year boy, they didn't want to. They kinda grew out of it unless they had a really long day or in the car on the way someplace. It's funny, one day they took their nap the next weeeeeee. ;_;. But on days I didn't want them to nap, we played games or went for walks until it was time for bath and then zzz bedtime. I also did what Karen suggested. ANd it works. Waking them up a little bit by little. Best wishes!

Karen - posted on 04/02/2010

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Try to wean him off, maybe 15 minutes earlier each week. Wake him gently by playing some music or rubbing his hands or feet. My father worked midnights and took care of me during the day. He always needed a nap himself by afternoon and we got in the habit of laying down every day. I'm 42 now and still feel a low point every day around 2pm and have difficulty keeping my eyes open and my mind focussed (I even avoid driving between 2 & 4pm). I think sleep habits are instilled at a young age, my daughter was kept up later so she would sleep for my husband who worked steady afternoons. She is now 13 and a nighthawk.

Joanna - posted on 04/02/2010

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I'm 25 and I still nap daily! I never gave up my naps... even in grade school and high school, I'd come home and take an hour nap, and even as a grown up, I'd bring my lunch and wolf it down and take a 50 minute nap in my car... I've just always needed it.

So no, I don't think 4 is too old!

However I think it is old enough to try and enforce and earlier bedtime. Let him know if he's not in bed by 8:30 or 9 (so he'll fall asleep by 10, going by your numbers), then he has to stop taking a nap. Something like that.

Rebekah - posted on 04/02/2010

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Thanks so much for the feedback, everyone! We are actually trying to bypass the nap today to see how it goes. So far so good, mood-wise. He dozed in the car when we were headed home from the park, but he's up and around now playing while I'm trying to do "mommy things." I'll work on the "quiet time" concept. I'll continue to experiment too...

Emily---interesting idea about the daylight change... I'm on the east coast (usa) and we just had daylight savings, of course, so we do enjoy more daylight later. Wonder how much that has messed with his body clock.

Frances, he wakes up around 7:45 in the morning (we usually get him up, he'd sleep a bit past 8am if we'd let him). Our habit has been to get him in for nap around 3 or 3:30pm (it used to be earlier, but again, it evolved as time went by), so the other thing I'll try is to get him in earlier for nap and see what that does for bedtime. I like the 1-3 idea.....looks like the routine needs to change! Thanks again.

Frances - posted on 04/02/2010

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What time does he get up in the morning and what time is his nap. I used to work at a daycare and the kids work up early took a nap from 1-3 ( I think ) and then would go outside on nice days till their parents would pick them up. I don't remember anyone having problems at bedtime. I don't think it is an age thing it is ur schedule. Does he need it and ur the only one to answer that.

Linda - posted on 04/02/2010

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My boys were both around 18 months when they dropped their afternoon nap. But they would lay down for one if they were that tired. I walked in on my oldest sleeping under his bed a few times. When I needed to get things done around the house I would send him to his room for play time. The first week was hard but we both got through it. It was just a new routine. Good luck to you!

Brandi - posted on 04/02/2010

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my son is four years old an when he was about 3 1/2 he decided he didnt need nor did he want naps so as long as he behaved properly i didnt force it but now hes getting older he wakes up earlier and is full of all kinds of energy so between 1-2 we sit an watch his fav cartoon an he falls asleep for about an hour an ahalf but if hes not asllep by 2:30 forget the nap because then hes up all nite. but if your kid needs a nap they will let you no i feel theres no right or wrong way if you really feel you dnt want nap time because of the hassel at nite jus have little rest times where he does sumthing like watching a short cartoon or an activitie that requires sitting for a short period of time.....i hope this helped alittle bit..good luck

Louise - posted on 04/02/2010

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Normally a child drops it's nap time equirements by 3.1/2. tart by putting him to bed at the normal time and then shortening his sleep by half an hour and gradually over a couple of weeks bring it down to half an hour if he really needs one. As you have shortened his nap time bring forward his bed time by half an hour until you have brought it forward by two hours. Unfortunately your time in the afternoon will have to go if you want a child that sleeps at a normal time in the evenings. I take it you are not from England as at the age of 4 most kids are at school in reception year. My 17 month old has a two hour sleep but is already showing signs that she does not need one any more.

Gwen - posted on 04/02/2010

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I also napped through kindergarten. Still nap on weekends too!

Could you put him down to nap a little earlier in the day? I wouldn't eliminate the nap as he seems to still need it. However, if he was in bed by 8/8:30, maybe he wouldn't be so tired during the day....hhmmmm. It's so confusing!

My daughter naps from 1:00-3:30pm. If she doesn't go down for nap until 2/2:30, it is harder to get her to bed at her normal hour.

Natalie - posted on 04/02/2010

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Oh, btw, have you considered skipping the nap and putting him to bed a bit earlier? That might help with the crankiness



The alone-time is an issue... we have "quiet-time" around here. Where my kids go in their rooms and play or whatever for an hour. Then we can do things again as a family. My kids seem to enjoy it, they're in a better mood when the hour is over :-)

Emily - posted on 04/02/2010

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Not sure where you live, but is it possible he's going to bed later because of the change in season, being lighter outside? I know that has affected my son's bedtime.



It sounds like he still does need his nap. I think I would be more inclined to wake him up earlier in the morning so that maybe that would naturally push his bedtime back to an earlier time.

Natalie - posted on 04/02/2010

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My kids are 4 and 2 and they both stopped wanting to take a nap around their 2nd birthdays....

They sleep 11-12 hours at night and that seems to be enough for them now. When we have a long and busy day they do fall sleep in the car sometimes like after we spent the whole day at the zoo etc.)

But if they sleep too long they also have issues falling asleep at night. My son would lay in bed until 11pm as well, not able to fall asleep. And their bed time is 8pm.

So yeah, i would say try cutting down his nap time first, see if an hour makes a difference. If he still has issues falling asleep, skip the nap and see how he does.

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