Nap Strikes: Following Your Toddler’s Lead

I thought that my inaugural blog for the site would be on something that appears to be a sleep hot topic. In the playgroups and online I’m being asked all the time ‘Is my child ready to drop naps?’

Because our children our wonderfully unique individuals, there is no hard and fast rule as to when is the right time. Personally, I would love it if they were never dropped as I imagine everyone of you reading this would jump at the chance of an afternoon siesta everyday too!

However, this isn’t sunny España, this is bleak Brighton in February so to give you some guidance on if you’re little one is ready to do an all-dayer, here are my answers to these popular nap questions.

My child is now 3 years old so it’s now time to drop naps right?

Children may be ready to stop napping anytime from 2 until 4.5 years old, it’s all down to their physical needs and personality. Just because they’ve hit a date in the calendar doesn’t mean that it’s time. My advice is to follow their lead.

My son says that he doesn’t want to nap and cries if I go to put him down.

Children would much rather do anything that sleep because it’s boring. They understand that the exciting world goes on without them whilst they’re asleep and the FOMO (Fear of missing out) kicks in. In the same way that you insist that he eats his broccoli or brushes his teeth twice a day in spite of his protests, you must encourage daytime sleep.

My daughter has refused her naps at nursery for a week now and they’re telling me that she is now done with naps. She is 26 months old.

Nurseries are fab and the majority are happy to stick to your schedule. They are, however, extremely busy and don’t have the one to one time needed to make sure that every child has a long restorative, sleep. Your smart kid picks up on this and knows that if they play up, yell etc. for long enough, the staff will eventually give up and let them play.

Secondly, around 2 years old is the time that we see the final developmental milestone that can really affect sleeping patterns. Consequently dropping naps, fighting bedtime, chatting in the cot are all really common occurrences. This is when you need to be super CONSISTENT and show that Mum and Dad are in charge.

If your little one has stopped napping at nursery but they still take naps at home then the folks at nursery or your child-minder are being had.

Explain to your childcare provider that she still needs a daytime sleep and that they should offer it as normal. They can’t force your child to sleep but at least they get quiet downtime instead. They should follow your wishes until the nap strike is over, after all we’re paying them enough.

For the past 2 weeks my son has not taken a daytime nap. I don’t think he is ready to drop them, as he’s very tired by bedtime. He has started waking up in the night too. I’m not sure what to do.

Nap strikes can last a looooong time, which is often why as parents we might think that it’s time to say au revoir to them. In this case, the little boy is showing signs of being overtired so being consistent and offering the sleep is key.

Nap strikes can last a few days or a few weeks. We can see it happen just once or it could be a regular occurrence every few weeks for some children, all depends on their individual personalities again. Tough eh?!

These are some of the most common questions but if you want further help on all aspects of child sleep then head over to

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About Sofie Petts-Sabine

Sofie is obsessed with sleep! More specially, the lack of sleep when you have small children. She runs Shuteye, a service to provide support for parents struggling with sleep routines. A certified sleep consultant, she believes there's a solution for every family, for every situation and she'll help you find it. Visit her website for more details.

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