The End of Naps

Way back in the day, I took my newborn to a picnic for new moms. At that time, he was taking lots of naps and my life revolved around these much-needed breaks.

A mom with a 4-year old stopped by to join the fun. I mentioned that I needed to leave soon to get my little guy down for his next nap. She replied, “Oh, you should enjoy it while it lasts. Quentin stopped taking naps months ago!”

I was floored. It hadn’t occurred to me that naps would end one day. This revelation blew my addled, new-mom mind. I started peppering her with questions: “When do you cook dinner? When do you shower? When do you read books? WHEN DO YOU NAP?”

Some parents look forward to the end of naps, while others dread it. Either way, it’s inevitable.

So when is it time to call it quits?

– If your child is younger than 2.5 years, she 99% needs an afternoon nap. Trust me on this.

– If she’s older, don’t assume there’s a magical age when she “should” drop the nap. Instead, hold onto it for dear life and hope that your child will play along. Some pre-schoolers continue to nap until they’re 4 or 5. #squadgoals

– If your child doesn’t fall asleep easily at night (or if bedtime gets pushed past 8pm), it may be time to stop the nap. But before you do this, be sure you’re putting her down around 1pm and she’s awake by 3pm. If you’re still having troubles at bedtime, consider “capping” the nap at the one-hour mark.

If that doesn’t work…

– Embrace quiet time. If your child truly no longer needs daytime sleep, cool. But it’s beneficial to everyone to institute a one-hour “quiet time” after lunch, during which she rests or plays quietly in her room.

– Move bedtime earlier once you’ve dropped the nap. She’ll be exhausted from her long day. An earlier bedtime will help to avoid overtiredness, which in turn will help to avoid early morning wake-ups and bedtime battles.

Here’s to napping!

ToddlerHadley Sewardbig kid