Friday, April 23, 2010

Two year old's dropping their naps... help!

Question from a CMOTC MOM:
My girls have historically been really good sleepers, and their sleep has been pretty scheduled. The last couple weeks they will not take a nap. They get about 11 hours of sleep a night, and used to take a 1 1/2 to 2 hour nap in the afternoon. I think if they were singletons, they would sleep because they are clearly tired. But, they are in the same room and once they lay down, they start singing, talking to each other and jumping up and down in their cribs. I've varied the time I put them down which hasn't helped. Also, I tried separating them into different rooms for naps, but they are so worked up about being separated that they just cry.

I lent away some of my sleep books, so I'm looking for some advice. Give up naps? Keep trying to put them down? If they were quiet and would just lay in their cribs and read or something, it would be a "break" for me, I suppose, but it's kind of stressful when they are crying and screaming and carrying on.

Advice/experience offered from other CMOTC MOMs:

This is so frustrating when two year olds do this! I have been there! Some moms may say that their 2 year olds gave up naps at this point- maybe for similar reasons, but it is my personal belief that if they were good nappers right up until that point, then they still need to nap but are going through a phase. Usually if they don't need naps anymore, they kind of wean themselves off of them- having shorter naps or napping some days and others not. Most likely, if you remain firm and stick it out, they will get back into the routine and will continue to be good nappers for a while. Shortly after mine turned two, we switched them to toddler beds and they did NOT want to nap. They would get up, play, talk to each other or whatever and keep each other up. Our house is small and separating wasn't really an option. So, what I did was sit in a chair between their beds and whenever they tried to get up or talk or whatever, I would firmly say NO and lay them back down. I would stay there until they both fell asleep. It was super annoying because it was nap time and I had other things to do, but I tried to look at the bright side and caught up on reading while I was waiting for them to fall asleep. After a while, the routine set back in and I was able to stop sitting in there and they go to sleep in the same room even though they are now a little over 3. They nap great again! So, my advice is to stick with it- they probably still need their nap they just don't know it and you have to enforce it. :) Good luck to you! I totally understand how frustrating it is!!


My 5 year old twins and 3.5 year old twins all still nap. They seem like they will drop them sometimes, but I stick with it and they are back on schedule. With all my kids, I have had the (seriously- they are dropping their nap! feeling), and then they don't. The 5 years old probably naps 5 days/week, but has quiet time in his room each day.

If you want them to keep the naps (which I totally recommend for sanity) then you will have to just stick with it and hopefully they get back into it. Tough age because their ability to understand that they have to be quiet instead of play is hard. Ours have always slept with their twin- we didn't put in separate rooms. Also with better weather coming, they will need the naps after playing outside and getting the fresh air.

Something that might help is a quiet time timer. Sit down with them and discuss that you will be setting the timer for a certain amount of time 15-20 minutes. If they are quiet with their eyes closed until the timer goes off then they can get up. At our house if they get up or start talking the timer starts over. I have one that always says he isn't tired at bedtime. Since we have started this he hasn't gotten up once.

Hope this helps. If not the Columbus Library has a very helpful book called "Healthy Sleep Habits: Happy Child".

We are experiencing the same issue! It’s rare that they sleep these days. My husband is actually a stay-at-home Dad and constantly struggles to get them down and they used to be great sleepers too. What has seemed to work for us on occasion, is to sit on the floor of their room until they fall asleep. I’ve heard from some friends that if you sit, making no eye contact, and don’t give them attention to their antics, they will calm down and give up. I have to say we have tried this – it has worked! If they get out of the crib, pick them up with no words and put them back in the crib (or bed). Eventually they do give up – but, it does take time too, up to 1 hour or even longer when we first tried it.

I will say that they have learned that eventually Daddy will give up and “let us get up” mentality. So, stick to your guns and don’t let them rule. I hate to say it, but when I’m the one putting them down, I get less fuss because they know Mom isn’t going to give in after 1 hour or more, and it doesn’t take me as long either to get them down and I usually “win”. One of my twins is sly though – she waits until the other falls asleep and hopes she can get up and play alone. But, I rock her and she crashes in 5 minutes.

And sometimes they just end up crashing out on the living room floor, like their batteries run dead. Worst case is, by Thursday of each week, naps are easy because they are exhausted. I’m just looking forward to Summer, because I know for us part of the reason is they are not getting outside to run off steam!!!

Hang in there! At the very least, know that you are not alone and we are also navigating through this frustrating transition.

Here's the best piece of advice someone gave me...or more like a word of wisdom. "It's not the child that drops the nap but the mom."
I whole-heartedly believe this. My twins napped til the day they left for Kindergarten. I still put them down on days when I know we will have a late night and they are 6. Their 4 year old brother almost never naps...not because he couldn't use a nap but because it isn't convenient for our family's schedule.

I think kids go through phases and if you can get through this one, they will start sleeping again. you really don't want to start the precedent of no naps's too early. A tired 2 year old at 6pm is NOT fun.

I have 2.5 yr old twin boys that sleep in the same room, in twin beds on opposite sides of the room. They too are really good night time sleepers (8p~7a) and when I can get them to nap, they sleep 1.5 - 2 hrs so I feel like they do need that nap. I, like you, struggle to get them to sleep but feel that we all need some quiet time so I work hard to get them to sleep.

The first battle we encountered was to keep them in their beds after they transitioned to "big boy" beds" but with my persistence they now stay in their beds. Now the struggle is to get them to sleep. I give them each a stuffed animal (which they love) and I let them "settle" down for 10 minutes or so -- I let them talk and giggle and play with the animal, etc. Then I go in the room and remind them that it's nap time and they need to settle down. If that doesn't work, I let them know I will have to take their animal away if they don't quiet down and I follow through right away (meaning, I don't let another 10 minutes go by with them talking and playing -- I will take the animal away within a minute of hearing them start up again). If they are still not settling down (which happens often), I take a book or magazine and just sit there and read for a little while, or do some stretching or take turns rubbing their backs to help them settle down and they usually go to sleep either while I'm doing that or shortly after. All in all, it could take up to a half hour but I feel it's worth the 1 - 1.5 hours of quiet I get when they do nap and our evenings are typically more pleasant when they get that nap too. I did not have to go through this crazy routine with my singletons and used to get very angry and frustrated about the twin napping situation but now just plan it into my day and enjoy the 20 minutes of reading or whatever I decide to do when I'm in their room.

I've also noticed that their nap time has changed a little from the usual 1:30 to more like 2:00-2:30 and I try to either do a little reading time or let them watch a mellow show or video (Wiggles probably wouldn't be good) for a half hour before nap time. This seems to get them in "wind-down" mode from their busy morning of playing (and fighting) and I think helps with the nap-time thing.

It is possible that your girls are getting out of the napping stage but I've always felt it was important to give everyone's thoughts a little time to rest so we've always had our kids do a "quiet time" even when my oldest was in Kindergarten. He was clearly out of the napping stage by then so I would have him sit on the couch and look at books or just lay there quietly for 30 minutes. My four yr old currently goes to his bed during the twins' naptime and doesn't usually sleep but he lays in there and talks to his stuffed animals or stares at the wall or whatever he does as long as he's laying quietly. If he hasn't fallen asleep, I let him get up after an hour of resting and play quietly or color until the others wake up or his older bro gets home from school.

Not an easy decision to make b/c naptime can be a struggle and consequently a stressor. Hope my suggestions prove helpful and good luck!

Good luck – We just went through this a few weeks ago and fortunately it didn’t last long… we ended up getting a sound machine and room darkening curtains. Also, the first couple of days I stayed in there so they knew it was nap time. You will get tons of good advice!

I wouldn't give up on the naps yet! It seems likely that they still need it.

It could just be a phase and if you just pick something and stick with it maybe they will settle back into the routine. Personally, I think that it is a good idea to have them separated for naps. With my twins it seems to work better and I think that it is good for them to learn to be by themselves. If they have always been together I can understand that it could be a little traumatic at first!

Anyone have any advice to add? What worked for you? Books you would recommend? Please comment below!


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