Wondering when it’s time for your toddler to stop napping? Here’s a look at our toddler nap schedule and tips for when the final nap needs to get dropped.
I’m writing to you from my couch where it’s 1:11 pm and I’m seriously considering opening a beer or purchasing a punching bag and gloves on Amazon. Why you might ask?! Toddler naps. Or lack thereof. We’ve officially gone from a napping house of 3 to a napping house of 1. While it was a must for Anthony  and Joey  to drop their naps [hello 11 pm bedtimes if they do nap], there’s something to be said about spending 14 hours with children asking for another show, another snack, or better yet, “why” for the 571st time that day. So here I am taking a break from talking about the 5 pm dinner craziness to the 1pm-4pm madness, aka the no-nap zone. Because I’m ALL ears if you’ve been there, done that, or have some suggestion beyond the punching bag for my mental state.
Dropping Naps: The Good
When the boys go hard all day long they go to bed without a sound. Seriously. Lights off and everyone is out. That means if I have the energy I can do some writing at night or miscellaneous things like organizing toys [thrilling, I know] or heck enjoying a few of our recorded shows. It also means Ted and I can have a conversation before 9:30 pm, which he knows is that time of day I pretty much say we can talk about it tomorrow.
Dropping Naps: The Bad and The Ugly
There’s something to be said about early bedtimes and enjoying a few hours at night kid-free, but man, once we hit day 4 of no naps, a certain toddler [take a wild guess] hits his breaking point and Mom seems to as well. Anthony has always been my passionate one [he gets it from his Momma], and like I said before, if we let him take a nap, he will be up past my bedtime! But when he doesn’t nap, sound the alarm, the neighbors must think I’m living in a fraternity house. He’s loud, combative, and whiny for about 3 hours. Then magically the mood changes once Lily wakes up and voila, Anthony seems to blackout his previous behavior. Me, on the other hand, feel like I’ve just run a mental marathon.
Dropping Naps: The Solution
I’m sort of just taking Anthony’s lead for now and assuming when he has the tantrum of the century that he really just needs some time laying down with the hope that he’ll just catnap. I also hope that once the weather gets warmer we will spend our afternoons outside so if he DOES take a nap, he will be worn out by 8 pm instead of the midnight hour. Currently, because sis is still napping, I keep the boys semi-quiet with a TV show, a movie, or a few minutes of games on the iPad, coloring, Playdough, or puzzles. I bet you can guess the favorite quiet-time activities….
I guess I’m writing this post for nothing more than a little confirmation that when your child’s naps initially dropped things were a little hit or miss in the attitude department. I really don’t remember this happening with Joey, but then again Joey has always been my go with the flow kind of toddler. I also wondered what some of your favorite quiet-time activities are. In my experience, boys are NOT quiet [or clean]. Hence why I often resort to a TV show or movie. While I’d love to send them to their room for some quiet time, they usually last 3 minutes until Serbinski WrestleMania ensues.
Is it bedtime yet?!
Kati Newton says
Confirmation? Heck yes, right here!! This is my life right now too ? my main thing is trying to get my 3 year old to do a quiet activity WITHOUT me – because it’s my nap time too, am I right? He’s like “okay mommy, what are we doing now?” I guess I just really try to have dinner all ready so when witching hour hits we can be fed and get in the bath to go to bed.
My 4-year old quit napping when he was 2 and I was pregnant with twins ?! The twins are nearly 3 now and are 50/50 at actually sleeping during nap time. They are quiet with a couple of toys in their cribs.
I’ll be the bad mom and admit that my eldest & I have a treat (ice cream today) while he watches a couple of programs and I either make calls, handle mail and yes, play on my phone. Then he either helps me tidy up & get dinner ready or plays. It’s helped me to cycle their toys (always something new again). We switch the toys out at naptime, so he gets to play with them first and he also likes to get everything ready for them.
Good luck to all of us. I’m anxious to see how others are doing it!
So much yes! Haha. My daughter (4.5 years) dropped her nap unofficially two years ago, and officially 18 months ago. Over those 18 months she’s managed to make it longer and longer before the meltdowns begin. Her meltdowns now occur around 4:30/5pm – just in time for me to be prepping dinner. We’ve started doing bath time around then and it’s actually really helped. It kind of calms us all down and then I let them (my daughter and 3 year old son) play for a bit in the tub once they’re cleaned while I’m starting dinner. I usually set up an iPad in there with the “Baby Monitor” app running so I can watch them. That’s really helped us get through the late afternoon. I do make her do rest time for a good 90 min to 2 hours, we have worked a long time up to that amount of time.. we started with 20 min. I put her in a room by herself (probably best to not have your boys together for rest time) and we have some activities that are only for rest time. It took a while to figure out what she was interested in that would hold her attention. Some things that have worked are:
-Stringing beads (my son LOVES this also)
-Cutting & taping paper (I give her plastic scissors… we had one hair incident and gave up on real scissors. Basically she can just cut paper and use tape and it’s so worth it. I found 12 rolls of tape on Amazon for like $8)
-Legos, always legos
-Play Money (I give them this with wallets, a “piggy bank” made out of a jar with a slit in the top)
-Tools (My son has his own tool box with play tools in it and he can literally do that for like 45 minutes, especially if I give him a cardboard box to use his tools on)
-Magnetic dolls (my daughter loves these but my son is not so much into them)
-Trains/Trucks (my son actually really loves just playing with his train set or his trucks on his car rug… 20 minutes worth anyway)
I’m sorry! I so know your struggles right now, we are right there with you. Nothing is a surefire solution ever. I usually see how long one will last with toys and then when they’re getting antsy I turn on a show. Good luck!