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Dropped nap, tired toddler and mum, horrid afternoons

(18 Posts)
HJBeans Sun 15-Nov-15 14:42:29

In the last few weeks, my 2.4yo DS has dropped his midday nap at home but not at nursery. This was particularly bad timing as I'm 5 months pregnant, just started a new job, and absolutely knackered. DS is not much for playing independently, so I've always really wanted that hour or two break psychologically, and now feel I need it physically as well. For the first time since he was born, I'd actually been sleeping while he slept. But after a few weekends of fraught nap-fighting which just made everyone cross, I accepted it had gone.

Trouble now is that he starts being a right pain in the arse at just about naptime - I suspect due to tiredness since any car journey after this time knocks him out instantly - and afternoons are now a downward spiral of more and more challenging behaviour from him and less and less patience and physical stamina from me. Particularly having just lost my days in the week with him, I really want us to enjoy our time together and hate feeling cross
and counting down the hours till

I've tried instituting a 'quiet time' in place of nap, but still trying to work out what that means for a not hugely independent 2.4yo - leaving me to rest? only quiet toys? only books? I can't sleep as he needs supervision, but is there anything age-appropriate I can put in place to give him and me both a rest? Any tips for maintaining Gandhi-like calm in the face of an increasingly temperamental child and skyrocketing levels of exhaustion?

Ifiwasabadger Sun 15-Nov-15 18:01:26

I feel for you, you must be exhausted especially as pregnant.

My dd is 2.2 and sometimes fights naps. I just put her down in the cot anyway and she lies there quietly. Is that an option? Of course this assumes you have a cot with sides on....

HJBeans Sun 15-Nov-15 18:05:12

Sides removed. :-( And not once in his life had he lain quietly. If he's conscious, he's full of beans. And usually wanting us to be full of beans, too.

Fairylea Sun 15-Nov-15 18:09:44

Would tv work? Lots of CBeebies or kids films on Netflix?

I have just gone through this with my son who has autism so things are a little different but I find if I put the tv on and absorb myself in my phone or a book then he does tend to have some quiet time otherwise he is climbing the walls by bedtime. I also make sure we go out in the morning and not mid morning or afternoon otherwise he just gets really grumpy and overtired so it's better to get up and go out, come back and have quiet time and then spend the afternoon doing something around the house. It's really horrible when they first cut out their nap!

MyNameIsSuz Sun 15-Nov-15 18:11:57

We've been through this too, and I'm needing it while I'm pregnant too. Turns out one thing ds loves is snoozing in my bed with me, so now on my days off we both get into my bed and he drinks his milk and cuddles his bunny while he nods off, I mostly read and chill out. Could you try something like that - change it enough that he doesn't realise it's a nap?

Trumpette Sun 15-Nov-15 18:13:05

You have my sympathy as I remember this with my children, who are now 10 and 7!

It is exhausting I can only suggest getting a DVD and having quiet time together, although it sounds like you may have tried this already. My children liked the Mr Men /Little Miss DVD. They are only short but hold attention so you may get 30 mins of peace.

Good luck x

superking Sun 15-Nov-15 18:17:48

I feel your pain, my DS seems to be thinking about dropping his nap just as I am struggling with early pregnancy. Like you I had just started napping again as well. Would he understand/ cooperate if you said he had to stay in his room for an hour looking at books/ playing with toys/ listening to story tapes? Also agree cbeebies or DVD/ Netflix might help. I have managed a few sofa snoozes whilst DS is absorbed in Monsters Inc (his current obsession!)

Alternatively could you take him out in the car at nap time if that sends him to sleep - you could read a book whilst he sleeps and it would make the afternoons more bearable.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 15-Nov-15 18:19:47

Can you rearrange your day so that he's more tired at nap time? If nursery/car journeys still prompt a sleep then it might be that he just needs to be exhausted enough to drop off. Or try getting him up a little earlier in the morning?

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 15-Nov-15 18:22:03

And sympathy from me too, at 2.10 DD has finally given up on naps although we did get a few more months out of the above suggestions! And I'm 6 months pregnant and like you would dearly love a nap grin

Emmmder2015 Sun 15-Nov-15 18:29:39

Similar thing here, but I'm not pregnant! I've reluctantly accepted it, but bedtime is an hour earlier now which makes the afternoon a lot shorter (primarily for me!!).

I have a friend who gave her son audio books on a CD player to listen to in bed at that age. He stayed in bed and listened to them! I couldn't get my head around it as mine would have dismantled/broken he CD player in the first five mins, thrown the CD somewhere and climbed out of bed saying, "No nap Mummy."

HJBeans Sun 15-Nov-15 19:31:11

Thanks for the sympathy, all. He did get a lot more tele today than usual and I tried cozying up under a blanket with him in front of a movie close to naptime - which we've not done previously.

He scares easily, so spent ages choosing something that definitely wouldn't be scary and then got jolted awake by panicked child just as I was dozing off because Winnie the Pooh getting chased by bees in the 1977 animated film is apparently terrifying. Now it's "No Pooh! No movie!" Good going, HJBeans... hmm

caravanista13 Sun 15-Nov-15 19:40:45

I second the suggestion to go out in the car. My DGD rarely maps at home now but still reliably fall asleep in the car. It usually only takes 5-10 minutes and then she'll stay asleep for an hour or so even if the car stops. It does at least provide a small respite and means she's happier later in the day.

BotBotticelli Sun 15-Nov-15 21:07:21

I think instituting a "film hour" on the sofa under blankets every afternoon at around 3pm, then an early tea, bed at 1745 and into bed at 1830 for your son sounds like a plan!!

If he is scared by films, maybe download some episodes of a gentle programme like Bing off iPlayer and let him watch 4-5 short episodes whilst you lie down with your eyes closed.

BotBotticelli Sun 15-Nov-15 21:07:49

*bath at 1745

CityDweller Mon 16-Nov-15 18:41:26

For DD quiet time is in cot being told she doesn't have to sleep if she doesn't want to and can sit up and read her books.

However we also thought she was dropping her nap at a similar age but now, a few months later, she's napping again on days she's at home. So perhaps just persevere with putting him down?

TheSconeOfStone Mon 16-Nov-15 20:13:06

I was in exactly the same situation. I trained my very bouncy DD to watch TV as I was pregnant and exhausted. I was going to suggest Winnie the Pooh but I can see you tried that already. Sympathies. It's tough.

DD2 stopped napping on the week of her second birthday. No quiet time for her as she smashed her cot against the wall in fury at having been left there. At least she would sleep in the car unlike DD1 who just stopped sleeping all together. Can you go out for an outing in the car and leave him to sleep in a for a bit when you get home?

rallytog1 Tue 17-Nov-15 20:02:31

I feel your pain. The only thing I've found that works is bringing my dd into bed with me for a nap - if she doesn't want to sleep I put the TV on and try to doze while she watches. Not the best but it's not forever and I think she'll like having the special snuggle time when the baby comes! (hopefully they will be napping in a cot next to us)

minipie Wed 18-Nov-15 21:23:31

We mistakenly thought DD had dropped her nap at that age. She became overtired and horrible all round... As you say, she started to behave badly at around her old naptime.

Eventually we started taking her out in the buggy at bad behaviour time every day and enforcing a (shorter) nap that way. Her nighttime sleep and behaviour improved no end.

Now age 3.1 she is genuinely dropping her nap. I can tell she's really dropping it because the tired/difficult behaviour starts close to bedtime rather than around naptime.

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