Your little one has been having a great 1.5-2 hour (and sometimes 3 hour) nap in the afternoon for months– and now all of a sudden – he won’t sleep!!! Does this mean you are both losing that down time? No, not yet!
Around the two-year mark, we often see children resisting their naps. This is happening for a few reasons….
Their vocabulary is building and they just want to practice. Saying single words, trying to piece together sentences – it is amazing what they are absorbing throughout the day… and when they are alone, they want to practice. Put on your monitor – you might be amazed at what you hear.
Finding their independence:
Around this age, they realize that they can make decisions too. What to eat, what to wear, when they want to get into the bath etc ☺ One that I hear most often from client is “Are you tired?” “No” (even though you know that he is), he is going to want to try to stay awake…. Because he can.
So what can you do to help them get that sleep that they need?
Continue to put your little one down at his regular naptime and leaving him to have “quiet time” for your regular nap length.
Change the name:
Around this age I start to say “it is quiet time, you can sleep or you can talk quietly in your crib, but you need to rest until it is time to get up”. Sometimes they will play the whole time and other days you might find they play for a little while and then nap. You take away the “not tired” struggle and leave them with an option which helps with their newly found independence skills.
Make bedtime earlier and be consistent with wake up time:
With the loss of the nap, it is very easy for your little one to become overtired. On days that he doesn’t fall asleep, move bedtime at least 30 minutes earlier. Be sure to stay consistent with wake up time in the morning as well. Sometimes, an overtired child will start to wake up earlier than usual – try to leave him until it is his regular wake up time.
Be patient and consistent and you will see those naps return.
**This article appeared in City Parent magazine December 2014