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Hang Onto Those Toddler Naps!

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

A napping toddler, *sigh*, such a relief! It is a couple of hours that every parent looks forward to each day. To be able to slow down for a moment, and take care of a few things, or to relax.

But what if your toddlers' nap is unpredictable or includes a lot of protests, what then?

Here are some tips and tricks that can be helpful when it comes to managing your toddlers' nap time!

Get outside in the morning!

You've most likely heard me say this once or twice, but outside playtime is so, so helpful when it comes to naps. It helps them get out their energy, engages their mind and body, and is just plain fun!

The idea here is that once they have eaten their lunch, they will be so ready for a nap!

Make sure their room is dark!

You've also heard me say this many, many times, but a dark room is key for naps, especially if your child doesn't quite seem tired, a dark room will help them feel sleepy.

A dark room can help with lengthening naps if this is a struggle! I usually say that the room should be dark enough that your eyes need a minute or two to adjust.

Protesting a nap?

But what if your two-year-old is protesting their nap? Should you drop it right away?

My answer is usually no.

Some things to consider:

How close to age 3 are they? If they are approaching the age of 3, then they may be ready to drop their nap. If they just turned 2, chances are they are not quite ready.

That being said, I have had clients who needed to drop their newly turned 2-year-olds nap (more on this in a moment).

How long has the protest been happening? More than two weeks? If not, then still keep trying to get them to nap. If they have a day where it is just not happening, then move up their bedtime by 30 minutes to compensate.

The next thing to consider is, does their nap need to be capped?

If your toddler is sleeping 2.5-3 hours per day, AND you're seeing protest at bedtime, then I'd say, cap their nap at 2 hours for a few days and see what happens. For some of my clients, we have had to cap the nap at 1.5 hours to see things improve.

Okay, onto my last point that ties all of this together!

Nap and bedtime protests are related!

If your toddler is napping, let's say 2.5-3 hours, and when it comes to bedtime, it's a big struggle for more than a night or two, then you may need to cap their nap.

Capping their nap is an easy step compared to cutting out the nap altogether. Toddlers often still need to nap, but the amount varies by child, and it changes as they get older.

If you do cut back on their nap, you'll have to give it a few days to see the effect, and I usually start by cutting back 30 minutes at a time.

A couple more points to remember!

Most children will continue to nap until around age 3.

Some drop their nap shortly after age 2, and if that is the case, then bedtime needs to be early (7-7:30 pm).

That's it for today!

I hope this helps, always feel free to send me feedback on the content as I want it to be useful for you!

Is your toddler giving you a run for your money?

Having lots of bedtime struggles and visits in the night?

Let's talk!

Melody Patton

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