How to Cope When Your Toddler Drops Their Nap

Image adapted via Flickr/ donnierayjones

When my kids were young, I looked forward to two o'clock in the afternoon. That afternoon naptime was when the house would be quiet and still for on average two hours, and it was glorious. I found myself looking at the clock around 1:30, counting down the last half hour until it was time for them to sleep and time for me to get a little break.

I didn't do anything special during nap time, but it was my time, and I loved it. Sometimes I would sleep, sometimes I would catch up on housework, and sometimes I would watch something on TV that wasn't kid related.

Then their naps stopped.

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According to Dr. Sears, most toddlers still nap during the afternoon, even after they drop their morning nap, but by the time they get to be 3 or 4 years old, their naps may stop altogether.

If that's sneaking up on you, I feel for you! Here are some tips on how to cope when your kid drops nap time and you miss it a lot.

Image via Flickr/ abbybatchelder

Adjust Bedtime

If your toddler is anything like mine are, they're wound up and seem to never stop. That naptime is nice because it allows them to cool down a bit and allows me to regroup myself, but when they no longer take their naps, it's time to adjust bedtime and make it a little earlier than usual. It will allow your child to get enough sleep and will give you that extra time in the day to do what you want to do without tripping over your buzzing 2-year-old.

Image via Flickr/ donnierayjones

Make It a “Quiet Time”

You don't have to give up the time you count on just because your toddler decides they don't need the rest. Instead of making it a nap time, make it a quiet time when they lie in bed, read books, or play with quiet toys. It will still allow your toddler to wind down from the morning and fuel up for the later part of the day, and you will still get some space to do what you need or want.

{ MORE: Nap Time Revisited: Schedules, Routines, and When It Ends }

Image via Flickr/ Josh Engroff

Do a Quiet Activity Together

I don't think there is anything wrong with a little TV or a movie for a toddler, and when you're coping through adjusting to getting go of nap time, either one of those is a great thing. I can't tell you how many times I watched Wall-E or Cars when my kids gave up naps. Choose a movie that keeps their attention for some of the time and lie in bed with them and watch it together.

If you're not really a movie type or you would prefer another activity, sit and read chapter books together (read a few chapters every day). This will still allow your toddler to wind down and for you to put your feet up a bit.

Image via Flickr/ abbybatchelder

Drink More Coffee

True story: I didn't start drinking coffee until after my third child was born, and that was primarily because my older two (who were just toddlers at the time) gave up on naps. I was up all night with my newborn and no longer had the option to sleep when she slept.

Coffee — it's good. Just make sure you find some time to get extra sleep on the weekends.

{ MORE: The Surprising Importance of Your Baby's Naps }

What are your tips for coping when toddlers decide not to nap anymore? Share in the comments!

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How to Cope When Your Toddler Drops Their Nap

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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