Talk Back: To nap or not to nap?

It is the question of the day at our home right now. My son just turned 4, and I am really struggling with cutting his nap. On the days that he does take a nap, he is wired until about 9 PM. But, if he doesn't nap, he becomes a melted version of himself, and I really struggle to have any space in my day that is quiet and allows me to get stuff done uninterrupted.


That nap window is a sacred time in the world of a mama.

When did you know it was time to cut the nap? And, do you have any tips on how to implement "quiet time" or any other tools for moms to have a bit of a break in the day?

13 comments:

  1. Let me preface this by saying that I don't necessarily believe in pawning your kid off to other people, but...what about enrolling your son in a co-op preschool program? (Then, you will be there part of the time to pitch in and see how things are going.) It may give you a few hours break a couple days a week, and your son an outlet for his non sleeping energies. This still doesn't solve the evening melt down issue, but could be a nice replacement for the "sacred nap time".

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  2. I truly believe that if you did cut the nap, eventually the meltdowns would dissipate because he would get use to it. It might take some time though. I have an almost 5 year old and my twins turn 4 in June. None of them nap anymore and I NEED that quiet time in the afternoon!!
    I use to have them play in their rooms with quiet toys, nothing that made too much noise.....books, puzzles, cars (without sounds of course). Due to circumstances at the moment they all share a room, so now it's just called playtime. It's hard to make them be quiet and I don't want them to stay in their beds or my twins will sleep. So I now let them play.
    You'll have to let us know how it goes!

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  3. Is it sad that I almost live for naptime... I go into a little meltdown if we miss it somehow. My pre-k five year old and three year old still take an hour and a half nap everyday, and with a new little one on the way, I panic at the thought that I might not have this break in my day!

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  4. My 4.5 year old has to have an hour long "quiet" time each day. If she chooses to be quiet in my space, she has to leave me alone. What can I say? I'm mean like that. Most days she plays in her room, but sometimes she colors downstairs in the room where I am, quietly. It works so so. We also put her to bed a half hour early if she is punk in the late afternoon.

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  5. Dare I say I let my 3 year old have her movie/tv time? I know people grit their teeth at those of us who do that but right now, while my almost 1 year old is napping and she is climbing my leg, I find it helpful to let her watch her Dora whilst I get things done.

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  6. Naptimes are sacred in our family, too. I live for them. :) We have 3 kiddos right now -- ages 7, 5, 3 -- and one on the way. We homeschool, so my 7-year-old works independantly while I rest. (I'm pg -- that's my excuse. ;) My 5 1/2 year old has a quiet time in her room, for the length of an instrumental music cd. That gives us just enough structure, and after the music is over she can get up and read quietly or do puzzles. She sometimes falls asleep, but seems to need to still. If she keeps getting up, we start the cd over. My 3-year-old definitely naps, or we all pay! LOL

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  7. oh man, I'm so here, only my daughter is still 2 months shy of 3!! It's been torture some days. She refuses to nap and even to play quietly in her room without rebellion. I'm slowly learning to deal with it and move forward but it is hard to transition to such long days with no break and me getting nothing done! We try to put her to bed early but I know that is going to get harder as the days get longer. By God's race I'm getting through it but I'm definitely looking forward to 2 mornings where she goes to preschool next fall so I can rest and get some things accomplished again. ;)

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  8. My little guy is 4 1/2 and naps maybe 1 day a week. Every day he goes down for "rest and reading" time at the same time I put his sister (who is 1) down for her afternoon nap. He must say in his bed to look at books for 1 hour. If he does not fall asleep he may get up after an hour. If he is really tired, he falls asleep. But like you said with your son, on days he naps he is wide awake past 9. It was so hard for me to give up the expectation that he will nap everyday. But since he was 3 1/2 this has been our pattern.

    I am pregos with baby #3, so on days that I am exhausted, I let him watch a video after he gets up from rest and reading time. 30-45 minutes more of quiet does wonders for me. This is usually his only TV time in the day, so I try not to feel too guilty about it: )

    Good luck!

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  9. Being a mom of 3 I have learned that different individuals use energy differently during the day. Here are some options: nap every other day; move up bedtime on days he doesn't nap; push naptime a little later if the household bedtime is late; or embrace the change and just snuggle for 30 minutes. Explain that Mommy needs some quiet time.

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  10. Both of my 4 year olds, my 2 year old, and my 1 year old all take naps for at least an hour and a half. My 4 will be 5 in July NEEDS a nap, she is such a crank if she doesn't that she usually gets sent to her room before dinner and has to go back after for being mean to her siblings or talking back too many times. My just turned 4 year old could do without, she is like me, a night owl and can live on very little sleep. It is safe to say that all little ones are different. But for the times we don't take naps we always have quiet time or nap. I have a set of rules that must be followed if you are up, and that includes leaving me alone. They may play quietly in their rooms, color, or watch a movie. We usually play in our rooms. BUT coming from an Early Childhood background it is safe to say that at 4 your child is safe to be without naps as long as they are getting enough sleep at night. We had a problem with them waking up at 5am and thinking it was ok to be up. So they each got digital alarm clocks and with the minutes blacked out I wrote a number 7 on the card, so when the numbers match they can get up. We used to say, "When the sun is up you can get up, but with our new addition to the house all of the bedrooms feel like noon with sunshine pouring in at 6am!

    Like I said, with a bit of nighttime routine tweak no naps could be bearable, and make it easier to get things done!

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  11. For me, after bed time is SACRED time so I would cut the nap. I love it when the boys are exhausted at 7pm, in bed at 7:30 and asleep by 8pm. And, to get a little window of Mom sanity during the day, I used to put 3 sleeping bags out on the floor for my 3 boys, give them each a stack of books and one or two quiet toys and tell them we were having quiet time. It was good for all of us. They had to stay on their sleeping bag and not talk or make noise for about 45 minutes or an hour depending on how they were doing. This worked really well for us to bridge from nap to no nap- around 4-5 years old.

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  12. We did naps until the munckin at my house was about 5. When she was in kindergarten, she was in the afternoon class, so we just did it on the weekends. Some days she would actually sleep, and others it was just quiet time in her room with books or soft music. She would have to stay until we came to get her. (For the most part that worked, we had a sticker chart that would get filled if she stayed in!!) Although she would often say she didn't need it, she would fall asleep about half the time. Now she is 6 1/2 and if she is in a really grumpy mood, we'll still implement quite time if necessary...good luck mom's!!

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  13. My 3yo quit naps @ 18 months. He still naps at school, but not on vacation or the weekends. We definitely send him to bed earlier when he hasn't napped and sometimes he'll just drift off on the sofa later in the afternoon. His sister did this too (stopped naps early), so it must be genetic.
    As for "free time", take it when you can get it. My child does very well with self-directed play, so once he settles in to something, I go for it! However, we are attempting the quiet time routine - i.e. don't bug me for a half hour. It's Ok.

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