Real Moms Speak: No More Naps
I count myself lucky because my preschooler, at 4 1/2, still takes two-hour afternoon naps with his 2-year-old brother. (And that means downtime for this Mama!) We are also very fortunate that both our boys are easy to put to bed, so although there have been nights when my oldest tosses and turns for an hour after we turn the lights off, he's usually asleep by 8:30 p.m. However, I do get the occasional “Your 4-year-old STILL naps?” reaction, and it made me wonder if perhaps he should already have grown out of this phase.
This prompted me to ask several mothers when their preschoolers (ages 4–6) gave up naps, and whether they think naps are necessary for this age group.
Katie, a mother of two boys, and Greta, mom of four, both said that although their preschoolers no longer nap because they don't need to, they do fall asleep in the car on occasion. Their kids also had their bedtimes moved up by at least an hour once they gave up their naps. Katie added,”We would have let Eddie nap, but [the naps] really messed up his bedtime schedule. We needed to be more concerned with his night sleep because we are on a strict 6:30 a.m. wake-up schedule during the week.”
Mother of three, including twin girls, Natalie, said, “The girls napped up until pretty recently. (They stopped in December when they stopped going to preschool. They are 4 1/2.) I never made them nap, but usually after coming home from preschool, they would. I don't think naps are necessary for every kid in this age group. I think by this age, they decide to nap (or not) on their own.”
The average age of kids giving up naps seemed to be around 3, with several mothers finding that their children would stay up too late if they did nap. Kim, Canadian mom of two, said, “Both of my guys gave [naps] up at around 3. I would have been fine with them continuing to nap, but they just seemed to be wide awake in the afternoon. My younger son will still fall asleep in the car in the afternoon sometimes, but he only ends up being asleep for a few minutes because he wakes up when the car stops. If he does happen to sleep for longer, he is up late. My oldest was the same.”
Having older siblings also influenced when preschoolers gave up naps. Tracy, mother of three girls, said, “While Eloise (first child) had very structured naps and took them until kindergarten, Astrid (youngest child) took more car naps or no naps because we had places we had to be for her older siblings.”