5 Ways to Tell Your Toddler’s Napping Career is Over

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 3 minutes

I have always loved being a mom to a toddler—but I might have loved being a mom to a napping toddler a smidgeon more. Just the word “nap” eases the tension in my brow, as thoughts spring to mind of a quiet house, returned phone calls and maybe a catnap of my own, along with other luxuries. (Chocolate I don’t have to share with sticky little fingers? Enjoying a cup of tea in its entirety without being interrupted by, “MOMMY! HELP! MY UNDERPANTS ARE UPSIDE DOWN!” Now I’m really getting carried away…) But like childhood itself, napping doesn’t last forever.

How to Tell If Your Toddler Is Ready to Stop Napping

So how can you tell whether it’s time to end the daily siesta? If you ask your kid, chances are, he’ll say, “I don’t wanna nap!” But should you listen to this battle cry? It varies, but here are some signs that indicate your child’s napping career is headed towards retirement.

  1. Your child is approaching age 5. There’s no set age when napping must cease—hey, I’m 40 and I still fancy a nice daytime snooze! But the majority of children stop napping by age 5 (although more than half still catch Zzzzs just one year earlier.) So if you’ve got a kindergartener who is refusing to sleep, I’m sorry to tell you that it’s time to give up the fight!
  2. You’ve got a solid nighttime sleeper. Depending on a wide degree of factors, little kids need between 11-15 hours of sleep total. If you are one of those lucky parents who says good night at 7 p.m. and good morning at 7 a.m., count your blessings and enjoy your “me time” in the early evenings instead of midday.
  3. She wakes up happy from naps. This may sound backwards, but if your child wakes up cranky from a nap, or has to be jostled away because the nap is too long, she still likely needs to sleep during the day because she’s not yet matured her sleep cycles. If she wakes up spontaneously and in a good mood, she might be able to stop napping and lengthen her nighttime sleep instead. (If that’s more convenient for you, that is.)
  4. Skipping a nap is NBD (No Big Deal). You’re in a panic that your friend’s drawn out playdate is going to interrupt naptime, and that in turn is going to mean the Meltdown of the Century later in the evening. But sure enough, 5 p.m. rolls around and the lack of nap has had zero impact on your child’s mood. The next time she begs off a nap, maybe it’s time to let her stay up.
  5. Naptime is a battle that is exhausting—but only to you. Hours go by and your child is still wide awake and playing in his crib or toddler bed. You, meanwhile, are overwrought over this rebellious nap refusal. Calm down and either enforce a much shorter “quiet time,” or let your little one out of jail to play by you, instead. Before you know it, what used to be your kid’s naptime will be Pre-Algebra.

Now, if none of these signs sound familiar and you’re certain the nap war needs to be won for your child’s benefit as well as your own sanity, you can achieve better naps by following the “ABCs” of healthy daytime sleep:

  • A-Activity in the late morning, such as a daily trip to the park or a toddler gymnastics class, will wear out your child and make napping more attractive
  • B-Breathing in aromatherapy, such as soothing lavender or chamomile, can calm down a fighting spirit. Try misting your child’s bedroom with Aura Cacia Lavender Air Freshening Spray.
  • C-Consistency is key above all else. Naptime needs to happen at the same time of day, in the same place.

Good luck and sweet dreams!