Transition to no nap: cold turkey or gradually?(7 Posts)
I'm curious whether your toddler/preschooler stopped napping abruptly or gradually, and what you think is the better way to 'navigate' the transition period - a regular early bedtime without naps versus occasional naps with changing bedtime. Background: My 3.5 year old had been napping on and off for the last few weeks (would go 1-2 days without then 1-2 days with nap). When he missed his nap, I'd put him to bed by 7:15pm, if he napped, by 8:15pm. This last week he's been refusing to nap every day and I haven't pushed the issue at all given his age. However, some days he is clearly exhausted by 3:30 or 4pm (too late to nap) and by bedtime is wired up and overtired. He's up between 6 and 6:30am regardless of bedtime. I'm afraid this 'cold turkey' approach that I'm going along with is leading him to become overtired, but perhaps this is a short-term problem that will correct itself with a consistent early bedtime. I would love to hear from others with experience dealing with this difficult transition period.
I have a 2yr old who is doing the same kind of thing. I guess I take my lead from her - she is just 2 and now probably naps 2 days out of 7. The days she doesn't get a sleep she goes to bed at 6pm as she is shattered (but still fighting it and telling me "Nooo sleeep mummeeeee").
I would put your ds to bed earlier that 7.15 if he has gone all day without a sleep. My 4yr old (no daytime sleeps) is asleep by 7pm at latest. If he is waking a 6am it's a long time to last until 7.15pm. We generally do a winding down from 5pm so tea, bath, bed for dd2, then stories and bed at 6.30 for dd1 - lights out by 7pm at the very latest.
IME, even after it seems like they have mostly dropped da time naps, they need erratic occasional naps for years, up to the age of 4-5 (and that's not counting dozing off during long car journeys).
God, gradually. DD still remembers me picking her up from nursery, driving about five times round the block, until she was about 3 and said 'Mummy, that's our house'. I used to get her off and she was nasty when she woke up, inasmuch as couldn't contain her .... I dunno what, but guess we're all like it when we've been woken and don't want to be.
Thanks all. Claudia - I agree that 7pm should be lights out. It's tough to get there when I have DS2 (younger, still naps and is raring to go when I'm trying to wind the other one down). So it's a work in progress (I have to try to trick my older one into thinking that his younger brother is also asleep so that he will stay in bed!). I realize that there will be times when he still naps - especially if there is a change in routine eg. when travelling or when he gets sick. And I would never go as far as to keep him awake if he were falling asleep in the car or actually wanted to rest (that'll be the day!). I just wonder if I should 'force' the issue, i.e. get cross and insist he lie in bed daily for 1 hour (if I do this toward 2pm, he will still fall asleep).
It is tricky TS I do sympathise.
I can't be bothered to force the issue with my dd (2 yrs old), she has a sleep when it fits in with our day and if she needs to (ie no yelling "no sleeeep mummeeeeee" and sobbing in her cot for 15 mins). I just deal with the teatime meltdown - on the days that it happens by pouring myself a large gin having a quiet time and lots of cuddles and put to bed early.
I would try keeping a quiet time for reading every day straight after lunch. If you do it in bed and cuddle up for an agreed time afterwards. Like 15 minutes and you say you'll say when 15 minutes are over. Then some days he may sleep and some days he won't. On the days he won't, put him to bed at 6:15 so he's asleep by 6:30 and you at least know he will have 12 hours.
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