I let our son nap during the day... AIBU?

(68 Posts)
dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Wed 30-Jan-13 03:30:23

My darling wife is angry with me... She does not appreciate my allowing our 3 year old son to nap or sleep as he wishes during the day. He regularly wakes during the night and has a habit of crawling into bed with us. My partner finds these disturbances intolerable and blames my allowing DC to nap during the day.

Recently I was upset to find DW cajoling our son into staying awake... DC does not take kindly to having his kip disturbed and the situation escalated into something uncomfortable rapidly. I insisted that his napping during the day has nothing to do with his not sleeping at night and she accused me of not caring about her welfare and making her out to be the bad guy... I honestly believe that forcing him to stay awake against his will during the day is not the way sort out his night sleeping issues. Watching her doing it makes me uncomfortable.

Am I being unreasonable to allow our son to sleep as he pleases? Is there a link between napping during the day and not sleeping through the night? I don't want DW to feel like I'm not on her side here. I understand that she needs to be able to get a proper nights rest. My standard response to our sons incursions into our bed is to take him back to his own and stay with him until he falls asleep again. I am writing this now having just seen him off to sleep again. I don't believe cajoling him into staying awake during the day is the answer, besides which it doesn't work and DC inevitably finds someplace to catch 40 winks whilst DW is looking the other way...

I made sure our one son napped daily till he was 4, overtired kids don't sleep through the night too.
He slept better if he's had a mid day nap than if I kept him up all day.
Maybe have him nap early so he's ready for bed, 3 isn't too old for naps at all.

Homebird8 Wed 30-Jan-13 03:57:57

The more sleep mine got during the day at that age, the better they slept at night.

BlameItOnTheBogey Wed 30-Jan-13 04:05:38

I think it depends on the child. I know with DS sleep during the day definitely impacts his night time sleep. There is a clear correlation. To be honest, DH and I used to have a similar argument where he would say that DS needed sleep to grow and that by not letting him nap I was depriving him of it. I agree that he needed sleep but my view was that over a period of 24 hours he got more sleep and better sleep if he had it all in one go at night.

If I am being completely frank too, I felt that sometimes DH put DS down to sleep because dh wanted a couple of hours off in the middle of the day. In the end we resolved this by trying two weeks each way (it takes a while for sleep cycles to adjust) and at the end of the two weeks with no nap, DS' night time sleep was much better - longer and uninterrupted, meaning that overall he was getting more sleep than he had with a nap.

I have to say that I believe in a daytime nap (for as long as I can get away with it). However, I have a non-sleeper and I feel your wife's pain. When you are dealing with lack of sleep you are irrational and very grumpy. You both need to calm down, sit down, when there are no fractious DC to deal with and come up with a solution you can both live with.

Who is at home during the day? Who loses the most sleep at night? These things have to be balanced. Also, napping too late or too long can be an issue. So, it is worse to try to keep them awake and then give up and let them nap at 4pm. If you always deal with the night wakings, why is DW upset. FWIW I find that after a lifetime of great sleep I am now an insomniac, thanks to DD. Any extra sleep loss makes me crazy.

Unacceptable Wed 30-Jan-13 04:11:15

Another one who has found that when little ones have had naps they sleep better all round and are much less cranky as a result.

Our 3 year old is a lousy sleeper, always has been. He started to improve when we got a groClock but since starting nursery and losing his daytime naps we are back to disrupted nighttime and poor sleeping

MammaTJ Wed 30-Jan-13 04:14:24

Being overtired does not help at all. A just long enough nap, then a decent bedtime routine.

maddening Wed 30-Jan-13 05:33:33

Could you experiment with the length of nap?

Monstermama Wed 30-Jan-13 05:45:47

At 3 years old some kids still need a sleep in the day. Mine certainly does. And yes he is a rubbish sleeper at night waking 1-2 times but settles quickly in his own bed (we never took him into our bed so thats not a problem). I find no correlation between day sleeping and quality of night sleeping. In fact on the odd day he does not nap (say we are out and busy all day) he ends up having a terrible night sleep. and visa versa sometimes he will sleep 3 hours in the day and then sleep all night? baffles me!

a good friend once told me good day sleep = good night sleep. I also read somewhere that 50% of 2-5 year olds have problems sleeping at night so is much more common than you think (people just dont tell you about it!). so give yourself a break! YANBU!

AbbyCat Wed 30-Jan-13 05:50:44

I also agree better day time sleep = better night time sleep. We get night terrors and nightmares (due to over tiredness) when we skip naps in this household!

Snowydrift Wed 30-Jan-13 05:56:43

As someone who has done every night waking for the past 3 and a bit years, I can see where your wife is coming from. I would be furious with DH if he let DS nap too much during the day. He is an atrocious sleeper and sleeps from 9pm to 6 at the latest, usually with one waking, sometimes more. This morning and yesterday, he decided 4 was a good time to wake up. Whilst its true that if he doesn't sleep a bit during the day when he needs it he sleeps worse at night, if he sleeps too much he won't go to bed and gets up earlier.
I think it depends on why you let him sleep. Because he's tired or because its easier for you to get on with what you want to do during the day? DS won't often nap and I sometimes have to force him to if I know he's tired, but he's never allowed more than 2 hours and never allowed to sleep later than 3pm. Which still gives me time to take him out for a run and tire him out before bed time!

Fairylea Wed 30-Jan-13 06:25:16

If you are doing the night wakings then fair enough you let him sleep as he wishes.

However if he's napping and waking your wife up all night long (I appreciate you said you just settled him but wondered if this is the norm?) Then I can understand her being frustrated.

munchkinmaster Wed 30-Jan-13 06:55:40

'as he pleases' - does that he decides when to nap. I'd think done structure re timings and length would help be better.

munchkinmaster Wed 30-Jan-13 06:55:51

Some structure

MrRected Wed 30-Jan-13 07:02:04

I think it depends on the child:

DS1 - napped in the day until he was 3. Never bothered his nighttime routine.
DS2 - napped in the day until he was 4 - still does occasionally have a daytime sleep and he is 8 - didn't/doesn't bother his nighttime routine.
DD - stopped sleeping in the day at 13 months (of her own accord). If, for some reason, she falls asleep in the day, you can be guaranteed of a late bedtime and broken night.

One thing I did do though, was ensure that I structured the nap. A three year old having a nap at 5pm is going to cause obvious issues - rather let them have an earlier sleep, so they are ready for bedtime at 7/8pm.

acceptableinthe80s Wed 30-Jan-13 07:10:15

My 4.5 yr old still naps a few days a week. It does'nt make any difference to his night sleep, in fact he often sleeps longer at night if he's had a nap.
I never let him nap after 2/3pm usually earlier and no longer than an hour.
Maybe you should keep a sleep/nap diary for a couple of weeks.

MortifiedAdams Wed 30-Jan-13 07:17:32

It would probably be beneficial to all if you at least structure the naps. Regularly put him down after lunch for 1.5/2 hours and wake him at the exact same time and see if that helps.

Try some sleep training at night time, or get a groclock to help him understand when to stay in bed and when it is morning.

Matildaduck Wed 30-Jan-13 07:21:41

Neither of mine napped past 2 years. They coped fine after a few weeks of being difficult.

They chose when to stop napping. I would have liked a bit longer :-)

Mine sleep 12 hours solid, go to bed without issue. ( they are v tired)

I don't really know any three year olds that nap. I would try some relaxing time mid day and see if that helps. I think a very long pushchair walk can help or tv time. Just want them to sit and relax.

PPT Wed 30-Jan-13 07:33:51

I'd personally say that 2 hours at 3 yo is excessive (but only based on my own son). My ds is 2.11- and he is 'allowed' a very brief 45mins at around 1pm. If he hasn't slept in a day before 3pm then we battle through to bedtime. This is very similar to others I know with dc the same age- and nursery give others the same age about the same in general.

I hasten to add that me and my DH do the same, and as I am at home in the majority with my ds my word goes on this! But we have found this the best formula for sleep with him to ensure both less daytime grumpiness and better nighttime sleep. It will undoubtedly change in the next few weeks but you should both be a little flexible to accommodate his changes!

I'm with your wife on this, and wonder what napping as and when be pleases really means? Yes, some children need a nap at 3 but not all. My DS dropped his nap between 2 and 3 and if he fell asleep eg in the car/on the sofa it would disturb his nighttime sleep. My daughter is 2.3 and if she naps for too long (generally speaking 90 minutes max) then she too can be difficult at night.

I don't see that you have anything to lose by trying to cut out naps and see if there's any improvement.

IceNoSlice Wed 30-Jan-13 07:41:31

What do you mean about sleeping as he pleases during the day? How many naps, how long and how close to bedtime?

I think a midday sleep would be fine but, say, an hour's nap at 4pm would disrupt the night. And more than say, 3 hours during the day might be too much.

Mt 3yo DD has given up her nap fairly recently. She gave it up when she was ready, but she has asked for a nap twice since, which she's had. Before she was ready to give the nap up, on her nursery days there was too much going on and she didn't want to nap. She would be a grumpy little sod at bedtime, eventually conking out, and then would wake several times in the night. On days she napped, bedtime was usually calmer, and she might wake once if she'd run out of water.

We did reduce the length of nap though, as PPT suggests. She went from 2+ hrs, to 1hr30 to 45mins. We reduced it everytime she started waking earlier, or more often. Now she will often have quiet time, a cuddle on the sofa with a story. We love quiet time. smile

I think if your DS still needs his nap, then not letting him sleep might actually be hindering him sleeping through. That said, when he is ready to give it up, if you keep him napping in the day, he will probably wake at stupid o' clock every morning!

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Wed 30-Jan-13 07:46:04

My two year old can't have a nap during the day without it negatively affecting his night time sleep.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Wed 30-Jan-13 07:51:45

DD still napped in the day until not long after her 3rd birthday and then stopped herself. DS is still only 1 and a half but I think he'll still be napping at that sort of age too although he often still wakes in the night. Stopping him from napping in the day did not stop the night wakings.

I do have a rule that unless they are very poorly no napping after 3pm. They have to awake by then. Any later and its a bugger to get them to settle down at a sensible time for bed.

minibmw2010 Wed 30-Jan-13 08:17:44

dadadadada, when you say your DC is sleeping during the day, what time is it at, how long does it last?

My DS (20 month) sleeps for about 2 hrs a day at 12.30/1 and is then ready for bed by 7.30.

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