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Drop nap transition - how long?

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#1 Tesseract

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

Even though DD is not quite 24 months I'm posting here because it seems to be a common 2-3 year old issue.

DD is dropping her nap sad.gif Well actually I'm partly relieved because getting her to nap has always been more work than its worth. She is resisting her nap with everything she's got, sometimes outright refusing. Then when she does nap I can't get her down to sleep at night until at least 9:30pm. Problem is that when she does skip the nap she is utterly wrecked (to the point of destruction) by dinner time. An earlier bed time is not feasible. Fortunately she does go to bed at 7:30 nice and easy when she doesn't nap. (she then sleeps about 12 hours)

So how long did it take your child to transition? I'm not sure which I hate more - the insane overtired toddler when she misses the nap, or the unsettle-able toddler when she does. Tell me it won't take months and months...Advice please!

#2 Dionysus

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

Oh, how relevant is your post to my life?  LOL

DD is giving up her day nap at the moment.

She is 3.5 and goes to child care 3 times per week.  There, she has only been having a very short nap, if one at all for the past 12 months, but she has always caught up her sleep with 2-3 hour naps on the days she is at home with me (or my mum)

She has seemed to have coped ok with this

Now, though, she has decided all day naps are bad and we are getting the matching 'devil child' at about 3:00 ish each afternoon.  This has gone on for the past few days, so not sure when she will cope better.

Her o/n sleep is perfect (touch wood).  7/7:30 - 7ish in the morning

I have no answers for you, but will be watching to see if anyone else does!

#3 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:03 PM

Tesseract, to put it simply, your daughter is not dropping her nap.
2 is a difficult time. Kids are active, on the go, interested in everything. They want to be out there, doing stuff. Not lying still waiting for sleep to overcome them.
She is also not going to bed late because she had her nap. She is going to bed late for the same problem of not lying still. She goes to bed earlier without her nap because she is so exhausted without it that she passes out - but as you note, her behaviour suffers, and she probably feels like crap.
A child who does not get adequate sleep cannot play and cannot learn properly. It has significant hormonal effects including on growth hormone (for growing) and insulin (maintaining normal metabolism).
You will not do your daughter any favours by taking away her nap. Kids generally need naps until around 3-3.5. She is not ready to drop her nap until she can get to the end of the day without a nap with NO tiredness, and a close to full capacity to play, learn, and perform complex tasks. Your child is ready to drop her nap if you put we in the car at naptime and drive for an hour and she stays awake, chatting brightly to you.
Putting a 2 year old to sleep is hard. You have to convince them to lie still and wait for sleep. Doing it twice a day is doubly annoying. Pretty much everyone goes through this at 2.
It is probably easier to keep you child up, tolerate some tantrums, and let them collapse at 6:30/7 pm. That doesn't make it the best for your child; you will do her a grave disservice if you do that.
This period, as frustrating as it is, will pass. But keep insisting on her nap. Ultimately it will pay off as her behaviour will be far better for being well rested.
I'm sorry if this sounds like a lecture, but it's something I feel strongly about. I have met SO many parents who stopped putting their child to sleep in the false notion that their child was 'dropping' their nap. Then ran into significant behaviour issues. All of which was resolved by merely reinstating the nap.
The odd child drops their nap at 2, happily and with no consequence. It does not sound like your child is one of them.

#4 Tesseract

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:55 AM

Hummmm I think you might be right anti bourgeoisie, as much as I hate to say it!

Any tips on getting an extremely wilful, extremely engaged, never had liked to nap 2 year old lie still and let sleep overcome them??

#5 bjk76

Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:06 AM

Great post AntiBourgeousie - you've answered some of my questions too!

Tesseract, I know what you're going through! DS is 21mo and in the past few weeks he's also been really hard to get to have a nap. He used to stay up for 3.5-4 hours in the morning, before having a 2 hour nap. In the past week he hasn't been able to settle down for a nap and is now staying up for about 7-8 hours before having a 2 hour nap in the late afternoon-early evening. I've tried getting him to 'skip' his nap, but he just crashes in the late afternoon and will only sleep for 2 hours and then is up again in the evening. I've also tried taking him for drives in the car to get him to sleep. This works sometimes, but not always - a couple of days ago we drove around for an hour at nap time, but he wasn't sleepy at all.

He got sick over Christmas and this messed up his body clock a little, so he now wakes up around 9.30-10am and doesn't go to sleep at night until 11pm or midnight! I guess if he were waking up earlier eg. 7.30am, he'd be going to bed around 10pm, which wouldn't be so bad. Having said that, it's really not 'so bad'. I'm at home with him full time and I can adjust my day easily enough around his new schedule. It's just that I have to change my expectation of his daily routine - i.e. not expect him to have a nap after being up for 4 hours.

I feed DS to sleep and whenever he asks for a feed (around when he should be napping)
I take him to bed and see if he'll sleep. When he's finally ready for a nap, I can't keep him awake once he goes on the breast. I think now I'm just going to follow his lead and let him tell me when he's ready to sleep.

#6 Pinky101

Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

We've been standing outside DD's room and holding the door closed if she tries to come out. Sounds a bit mean, but she doesn't get upset. Just does a bit if a whine (no crying involved) then goes back to bed. Might go through this a couple of times before she stays in bed, but it does mean she's still having a sleep (and waking up at a time early enough to get her into bed at 7pm).

She does the same getting up and trying to open the door at night too, but usually gives up after a couple of tries. Not sure how long we'll need to keep this up before she realises there is no point trying to open the door. Hopefully soon, but at least she's sleeping and there's no crying involved.

#7 Escapin

Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:53 AM

I still remember being little and told to have a nap. How I hated it! But Mum used to say that I could read, but I had to stay in my room for an hour. I'm pretty sure I used to fall asleep. Maybe you could try something like that?

ETA: Also, don't spring it on her (not saying that you do!). Make sure you give her lots of notice. Ie it's time for lunch darling and then after lunch we're going to read a book together and then it's time for your nap. I often say that I will have a npa too, I think my DD (20mo) likes the idea.

Edited by Escapin, 21 January 2013 - 11:54 AM.

#8 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

i have a 22 month old who drives me insane with her inconsistent sleeping. she has weeks of great napping and sleeping then all of a sudden will sleep bare minimum and be miserable. i do nothing different but for all the sleep training (she self settles and is left to resettle when she wakes) I still can't get any consistency...I will be looking at responses to this OP. I understand all the arguments about "they are exerting their independence...they can't lie still..." but how do you give them the sleep they need when they fight it so much? I hate to see DD unhappy but get so frustrated with her for not sleeping as much as she needs, I know she can do it ...she does it some weeks! I want to get off this sleep related roller coaster!

#9 bjk76

Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

DS slept a lot better today. I'm not sure if our activities had anything to do with it or not, but quite possibly!

I expected him to not want a nap until 4pm, so we went out shopping and he was in his pusher for about an hour in a shopping centre around when his nap 'should' be (3-4 hours after he first wakes up). On the way home he started looking tired, so I drove around for a little longer and he fell asleep, about 4.5 hours after he woke up! Tonight he had a big run around in a park, kicking and running after a ball and playing on the playground equipment. When we got home he asked to sit in his pusher again and asked to go for a walk. DH and I went for 1/2 hour walk with him, which he enjoyed. I put him straight in the shower when we got home, but he was quite tired and started throwing a tantrum, so I got him out and we read some stories and he happily went off to sleep.

I'm wondering if being pushed around in the pusher before he's due to sleep helped him to settle down? Anyway, he was asleep by 10.30pm, when last night he didn't sleep until 12.30am, so a BIG improvement! Maybe he just needs more time to settle down before a nap as well, so maybe I should introduce a walk in the pusher as part of his pre-nap routine.

#10 Tesseract

Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:58 PM

Just thought I'd update this thread.

After realising that DD does still need her nap I have been doing things a bit differently and things have improved!

I realised that she naps more happily if it happens after a good lunch, but that lunch has to happen early ie 11:30-12. Usually on the weekends DH and I are pretty disorganised (we like to say we're not ruled by routine!) and just end up snacking until we organise lunch for like 2 pm.

An early lunch then nap is what they do at childcare and it works. So her grandmothers (who look after her on non-childcare days) have also been instructed about early lunch then nap, and they are finding it is working too!

Her bedtime antics are reducing of their own accord, I guess she's back in the habit of going to bed ealrier. In one sense a few days without a nap did help to re-set her bedtime. And because she's napping earlier she is tired, but not overtired, at bedtime.

#11 elizabethany

Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:08 PM

My DS would love not to have a day nap.  But I know he needs one, and when he goes down he sleeps for 2 hours.  It is mainly dealing with his biggest fear, the fear of missing out on something.

#12 heatherdv

Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:35 AM

DS is turning 2 next week and I have made a decision to drop his nap.  I guess he is one of the few who just doesn't need it.  

It was no problem getting him to take the nap, but then he wouldn't sleep until 9.30pm.  As he's an early riser, he starts each day at 6am no matter what time he goes to sleep. So I was dealing with a tired grumpy toddler every morning who would then need a 2 hour nap to catch up and the cycle would begin again.

So this week I've stopped giving him his nap and its been heaven!  If his energy dips I give him a light snack, and I haven't noticed any grumpiness at all.  He's been going to bed at 6.30pm or 7pm very very easily and getting a decent 11.5 or 12 hours sleep at night.  He wakes up happy and energetic, way less tantrums and has lots of energy all day.

I guess if they are ready for the no nap transition then after a day or 2 it should happen fairly easily?

#13 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

Heatherdv sounds like your LO is getting more sleep overall without his day nap and if he's happy and you're happy then it must be the right answer. Maybe just watch for signs he needs an occasional nap? I know for some it does not go from nap every day to no naps ever but to naps some days.

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