How to cope with a nap boycotting toddler.

There are a handful of parenting tidbits that no one mentions when you’re stuffing your face with petit fours at your baby shower. Things like: rogue baby poop floaters in the bathtub and how to handle the dreaded dropped nap.

As soon as my son hit two and a half years old he decided that he no longer needed his nap. I was certain it was a fluke. Why had no one mentioned this to me? Those two to three hours of peace and quiet I enjoyed almost daily were my saving grace. I needed that time to work, clean, prepare dinner, or stare at a wall quietly. When he dropped his nap for good I wanted to cry.

It took me a few weeks to adjust but I peeled myself off the floor and decided to roll with it. Mr. “Too cool for naps” wasn’t going to sleep during the day and that was fine but my one year old still needed her nap and I wasn’t going to give up my brief break without a fight.

Here are some tips that helped me cope with the newly non napping toddler.

Beer/wine/coffee: Pick your poison. Mine is coffee. I’d make myself a super strong delicious coffee, mix in a flavored creamer, and throw in a ton of ice. My favorite treat was a huge help to me during my new 14 hour break less workdays. I needed the energy to answer the three hundred questions he has during Little Einsteins. If you aren’t into coffee enjoy your wine, beer, or hot chocolate at bedtime. Keeping your eye on a prize (any prize!) helps. Reward yourself.

Mandatory quiet time: This tip helped me a ton. I told my son he didn’t have to lay down but he absolutely had to be quiet while his sister slept. He seems happy with the arrangement and likes his quiet time independence. It isn’t fool proof, sometimes he likes to hover over the baby menacingly threatening to wake her but the threat of a forced nap scares him into submission.

Bribes and treats: This is where creativity is very important. Save whatever it is that your toddler likes the most for “quiet time”. My son is usually okay with a train movie, iPad time, puzzles, chocolate milk, or popcorn. It gives your child something to look forward to and buys you at least a half hour of peace.

I’m no genius or expert but I am a mom that desperately needs a few minutes of quiet time each day. I can’t guarantee my tips will work for you but it won’t hurt to try. If all else fails there’s always candy. For both of you.

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Veronica Armstrong is a stay at home mother and freelance writer. She lives with her husband and two small children in Cornell University graduate student housing while her husband studies for his MBA. She blogs at CrunchyVTMommy.com about her adventures in natural motherhood, temporary Vermont hiatus, and life as an MBA wife. Veronica is also a hobbyist photographer that likes to express herself through captures of her ordinary and beautifully hectic life. Maple bacon donuts bring her unbridled joy and coffee is her best friend.

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3 Comments on "How to cope with a nap boycotting toddler."

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ajira
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I just went the denial route. He’s tried several times to give up the nap and I’ve refused to believe it. So, I do what Angel’s suggesting, do as many active things as I can fit in during the morning- errands, park time, run/climb/jump/dance and then as soon as we get home we tidy up/clean/cook/eat followed by reading in the hopes that this will all tire him enough to sleep. If he doesn’t sleep by mid-afternoon then I do my best to keep him awake and occupied so he has an earlier bedtime. The worst is a nap masquerading as… Read more »
Angel
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Plenty of exercise an hour before naptime always tired my son out. We’d just do a lot of running, dancing, jumping or whatever and he’d be ready for a nap. If he was claiming he wasn’t tired, I’d lay down with him and read a book or talk softly and he’d be out whether he wanted to sleep or not.

Emily
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My mom told me when I was little she said I stoped having naps but she made me and my brother Stay in our room for a min of an hour and said we didnt need to sleep but we had to stay in there. I think if My 5mth old decideds when shes a todler that she doesnt want to nap I will try this as well. My mom said it worked and she had at least an hour to do what she wanted.

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