When Is The Right Time To Drop Your Toddler's Nap?

As a Toddler parent you may find yourself obsessing over various factors which may or may not affect their sleep

If you are the parent of a non-sleeping toddler you will find yourself regularly obsessing over various factors which may or may not affect their sleep. Things like what they eat, fresh air and screen time to name but a few. It is obsessive but if there is even the tiniest chance that changing these things might improve sleep, well you'll give it some thought.
Our 2.5 year old has never been a massive fan of the sleep stuff. He is a lot better these days but anything can happen on any given day. He never “sleeps through the night” and is in our bed 7 nights a week. We are fine with this and we pretty much do whatever works. Anything that is gentle and equates to sleep for us all is what we focus on.
Recently we moved him from cot to a toddler bed. It was going to be the thing that “fixed” the sleep issues. We were sure of it. It succeeded in making our backs feel better as we no longer had to lift him in and out of the cot several times a night. It didn't change his sleep though.
Next up was the nap. A few people had mentioned stories about their toddler suddenly sleeping better when they dropped their afternoon nap. Naturally I saw this as the new shiny thing and decided that this would be the answer to our sleep woes. What actually happened though was a nightmare day involving a child who fell asleep standing up twice. The third time was as he spooned some dinner in to his mouth. I know that there is a huge adjustment for kids when the nap goes, but this was borderline abuse. I felt awful. Long story short, my gut feeling was telling me this was definitely not right for us and we've decided to leave well enough alone.
I consulted a couple of Mum friends when I was toying with the idea and I actually learned a lot of things about this toddler nap business. Some of these were -
  • Every child is different. In some families one child stopped napping at 1.5 or 2. In others the child was still napping just before they went to school, and both were fine.
  • A lot of people start phasing out the nap when nap time becomes difficult. A LOT of people said to me that if he went down easily for his nap then he probably still needed it. (I now agree)
  • In a lot of cases whether a child napped or did not nap actually made no difference to their night-time sleep.
  • It's probably not a good idea to introduce too many changes at one for a child. I randomly thought this would be a good idea just as we returned from a week's holiday and the same week he started two mornings a week at a play school (I know....)
  • While night-time sleep is very important, it is also painful to spent 6/7 hours dealing with a very unhappy child who may be like a briar without a nap. Sometimes it is about finding a balance that keeps everything afloat.
So there you go – my recent nap adventure. What was your experience? 
Written by Tracey, mummy blogger and staff writer at www.familyfriendlyhq.ie.
Check out her own blog at www.loveofliving.ie


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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