I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!

SEARCH THIS BLOG

Find Me Here!

Tag cloud
10 month old sleep 11 month old 2 year old can't fall asleep 2 year old nap 3 year old stops napping 4 month old 45 minute naps 8 month old adults adults sleep alarm clock babies baby baby bedtime baby doesn't nap baby fall back baby nursing to sleep baby rolling at night baby short naps baby sleep baby sleep positioners baby sleep routine bad bedtimes bedroom too loud bedsharing bedtime bedtime baby bedtime books bedtime child bedtime for teens bedtime problem bedtime routine bedtime snacks bedtimes bedwetting best bedtime stories for kids big boy bed blackout curtains boost breastfed baby sleep through the night bsby cosleeping bumpers caffeine child child bedtime child can't sleep child sleeping in a tent childcare childhood fears and sleep children cosleeping cover story creativity crib cry it out cultural intelligence daycare daylight savings time Daylight Savings Time kid bedtime daylight savings time sleep DHA does exercise help kids sleep dropping a nap DST early waker early waking ebook education energy equality equally shared parenting exercise and kids exercise and sleep fall back falling back families family five month old naps five month old short naps five month old sleep five year old bedtime food getting baby to bed getting dad to help with bedtime Getting kids to bed getting kids to bed during the summer getting kids to bed when it's light out getting rid of the pacifier giveaway green Harvey Karp Hawaii health heart health tips help helping kids adjust to daylight savings time helping kids get to sleep after vacation Helping kids sleep in the summer helping kids sleep through the night helping twins sleep holiday how long should babies nap how long should bedtime take how much sleep do adults need how to get rid of nightmares how to help a preschooler nap how to stop nightmares humor immune system infant sleep insomnia kids kids always get sick kids and daylight savings time kids sharing bedrooms kids sleep questions Kindle king 5 large family late bedtime learning leg cramps light math Moms moving child to his own bedroom nap nap routine napping in arms naps new sibling newborn news night terror night waking nightlights nightmare nightmares nighttime dryness nurse to sleep association nutrition one year old overtied kids overtired overtired child overtiredness pacifier pajamas nightmares parenting parentmap pediatric restless legs syndrome potty training pregnancy and newborn preschool Preschooler problem problem solving product productivity pull ups putting kids to bed questions raising a boy robotic safety safey separation anxiety setting a bedtime for kids shared bedroom shared bedrooms Shopping short naps short sleeper six month old sleep skipped naps sleep sleep and learning sleep coach sleep coaching sleep consulting sleep expert sleep for moms sleep gadgets sleep help sleep hygiene sleep pregnancy sleep questions sleep regression sleep through the night sleeping during the summer sleeping well during pregnancy sleeping while camping soundproof spring forward standing and screaming in crib stress sugar summer summer bedtime swaddle teen teen bedtime Teenage brains television time change time zone adjustment toddler toddler 4 am toddler bed toddler leg cramps toddler naps toddler sleep toddlers toilet transition transition to one nap travel with kids tryptophan twins undertired up all night violence and kids violent video games and children waking warm bedroom hurts sleep weaning the swaddle winter women heart health won't fall asleep work worries

Entries in 2 year old nap (1)

Friday
May112012

Ask Malia: Is it OK to Stop A Tot From Napping?

I’m confused about naps. Most of your posts say that naps are vital and that kids who don’t nap have problems sleeping at night. But my 2-year-old actually sleeps better at night when he doesn’t nap, or takes a very short nap. We were doing fine with that routine, but then I began to worry that I was hurting him somehow by not letting him nap as much as he wants. Now he’s napping more, but we’re back to nighttime sleep problems (lots of wakings, early wakeups, etc.). Is it OK to limit a child’s naps if they actually sleep better without them?

***********************************************

Naps are vitally important babies (and the vast majority of toddlers). They help him rest and process new information, and are important to his growth and overall health. Appropriate naps help prevent overtiredness and promote restful sleep at night.

But it’s vital to understand the goal of naps: naps should get your child through the day until bedtime without becoming overtired. Naps should not replace night sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports a link between longer nap times and shorter night sleep.

It’s important not to impose a generic nap schedule on your child. Just because your sister’s baby naps for half the day doesn’t mean that your baby will (or should). It’s even more important not to encourage or allow overly long naps that rob night sleep. Lengthy daytime naps longer than three hours can rob night sleep and set up a vicious cycle of poor night sleep that leads to daytime sleepiness and more excessively long naps.

Something to consider:your son may need less sleep overall than other kids his age—so by allowing him to take extra-long naps, you’re setting the stage for nighttime sleep troubles. In his case, a short nap may be just what he needs to power through the rest of his day. Institute a "quiet time" to give him the opportunity to take a brief nap each day; if he doens't sleep, you'll know that you gave him a chance to do so.

  • If your child is struggling to sleep through the night, examine his nap lengths. Naps should be long enough to be restorative, and no longer.
  • In general, avoid naps longer than two-and-a-half hours. But don’t use two-and-a-half hours as your guideline; this nap length may be far too long for some children, and lead to too much daytime sleep and nighttime sleep problems.
  • For babies taking multiple naps, one to one-and-a-half hours per nap may be plenty.
  • For older toddlers and children taking one nap, two hours of sleep per nap may be enough. For some, one hour or even  30 to 45 minutes may be plenty. The point is, there’s no “perfect” nap length that works for everyone.
  • Arriving at an appropriate nap schedule may take some trial and error. Expect shifts in your child’s nap needs as his night sleep improves.
  • As your child becomes better-rested, he will probably go down for naps much more easily.
  • As night sleep improves, napping patterns will naturally regulate, with longer naps some days, shorter naps other days. Some babies and young children take shorter naps after they begin sleeping through the night. Expect this, and do not try to force longer naps on a child who is sleeping well at night; this will backfire. A child who sleeps solidly though the night will be more likely to find his own perfect nap length, naturally.

Good to know: A child who is overtired will probably be grumpy when you wake him from a nap. This is very common, and it does not mean that you were wrong to wake him. On the contrary—you need to wake him from an overly long nap in order to protect his bedtime and his nighttime rest. Correct his overtiredness with an extra-early bedtime instead of a longer nap.