Dear Child, You Must Nap (until you’re in school)

I’m not sure what to do about Lucas’ nap situation or if I should even do anything at all. 

Months ago (like summer time) he would nap between 12-12:30. I slowly moved that time to 1:00 – sometimes even 1:30- because when I put him to sleep it always took him a while to actually start sleeping. So now I put him down for nap around 1 and he usually sleeps two hours. The thing is, there are several days that he doesn’t actually fall asleep for a while. 
I’m completely fine with him having quite time if he chooses not to nap. I will encourage (force) quite time/nap time every afternoon for as long as I’m able. He seems to like his alone time anyways, and if wants to hang out and read his books and talk to himself, than that’s fine by me. 
As I’m writing this it’s almost 3pm and he has been up there for two hours. He has been playing and whining occasionally but hasn’t fallen asleep yet. I have gone up there three separate times to rock him in hopes that it will make him tired. I’m about to get him any minute because I figure at this point it’s a lost cause. Now if and when he does fall asleep (let’s say at 3 or 3:30) he will sleep until 4:30 or 5 if we let him! Of course I can’t let him sleep that long because then he won’t go to bed at 7! Then I feel bad waking him up, but I do usually wake him up by 4:30 at the latest so he’ll go to bed at a decent hour. 
I think we are going to move his bedtime to 7:30 because this has been happening a lot lately. 
Last night he had a normal day and nap routine and he went to bed at 7:15. He played in his bed and seemed to doze on and off until finally falling asleep at 9:00. At about 8:30 I went in his room and rocked him for a while. He was starting to fall asleep on my chest and then all of a sudden started laughing and wanting to play with me. I told him it was night time and put him back in his crib and he started bouncing up and down and laughing. I left and he fell asleep three minutes later. 
It’s 3:02, I just looked in the monitor and he’s fast asleep. See my delima here? Now I’m going to have to wake him up at 4 or 4:30 if I want him to go to bed tonight! 
Thoughts? I feel bad sometimes that he is up in his room alone for so long some days. He never cries or anything, but I still feel guilty about it. But on the other hand, nap time is nap time and I’m not letting you skip it! 
I should also mention that on days when we get out of the house and do something active he seems to take a better nap and fall asleep faster. But this morning we played outside for an hour… and he didn’t fall asleep ’till 3. 
Moving his bedtime to 8 or 9 is not really an option for me. His bedtime has always been 7 and we have loved that. It’s so nice to have several hours in the evening to yourself before going to bed. I realize as he gets older we will move it closer to 8 or 8:30, but right now I want to do everything I can to keep it early! 

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

12 thoughts on “Dear Child, You Must Nap (until you’re in school)

  1. ok I so my daughter who will be 2 in February has always wanted to nap and go to sleep earlier. I have always followed her lead and it has worked GREAT! She is a great napper and sleeper because of it. So she goes to bed at 6pm and sleeps through until around 7:30am. Then she likes an earlier nap, so she usually wants to nap from about 11 to 1:30ish. I have had lots of people tell me that its too early but she likes it and it works for us. Maybe try napping him earlier. That may work. Good luck!

  2. Thanks Jessica! RIght now he usually sleeps until 8-9am in the morning, but I may try 12:30 and see if that helps. 6pm bedtime sounds amazing! 🙂 What a great schedule she is on!!

  3. I posted on facebook, but reading the whole thing, I say to let him have his 'rest' and see if he does okay getting up and out without actually napping. You get your 'you' time and if he doesn't sleep, that's his problem. He'll go to bed and sleep like a rock. Eventually, he'll fall asleep faster, or, he'll get by without. I think your instinct to just let him rest is fine. Set a time limit, if you know he's not asleep after 2 hours, go get him and do an activity as soon as he gets up, so he KNOWS it's not nap time anymore. or, try giving him a bath right after lunch and before nap time, lol. that usually helps!

  4. My son did the same thing and then he totally stopped taking naps a few months before he was 3 and he sleeps 7:30pm to 7ish am now. I would try to put him down but if after 30 or 45 minutes he isn't a sleep then let him get up but keep his bedtime the same every day.

    On a different note- do you have a video baby monitor? If so you should check out this report by ABC News

  5. I'm in the stick to your routine camp. Sticking to routine now will help both of you when he switches to a big boy bed.
    If Brady hasn't actually fallen asleep after 2-2.5 hours, I get him up. Otherwise, I have to wake him at 5:00 to be able to get him to bed at a decent time and he is a cranky mess!!!

  6. Been there, done that!
    This is what I'd do… lay him down at 1:00 PM after lunch, let him have his quiet time until he either falls asleep or 3:00 PM hits. Keep his bedtime 7:00 PM and just try VERY hard to keep him awake from 3-7 if he didn't nap. Do crafts, sing songs, dance, let him help you cook dinner, etc. No riding in the car, no tv (those are golden opportunities for him to conk out at 5 PM!). It should work itself out in a few days 🙂

  7. I'm still shocked that you get the kid to bed at 7. I'm in awe! 🙂 My boys (9 and 7) don't go to bed til 9 during the school days (of course they're older) but I do good to get Addison (8 months) to go to bed by 11. If she goes to bed any earlier than that then she has me up at 3am wanting to play. And she's still not one to sleep all night anyways. She gets up 2-3 times a night. So I think you're doing excellent as it is!

  8. His bedtime has been 7 since he's been on a schedule- I don't remember when that was! 🙂 I'm sure once he's 8 it will be more like 8 or 9! Joshua doesn't go to bed at 7 yet. He usually sleeps until 9:30 and then is up from then until 11 or so, last night 1130. But he is still a babe and not on any type of schedule yet.

  9. For what it's worth, my little girl's 1, naps once per day, from 2-ish til around 4-ish. She then goes to bed sometime between 9:30 (if we're lucky) and 11. She usually sleeps til around 8 in the morning. I feel like I don't get any me-time, since naptime is usually when I'm trying to get stuff done around the house…

  10. my son is 17 months and has kinda been doing the same thing. We did move his bedtime from 7:30 to between 8 and 8:30, and even last night after a 4 hours nap (I was shocked!) he woke up at like 4:30, then went to bed at 8:30 like normal. He used to nap in the morning and afternoon, then we moved to one nap around 12 ish, and now we are at one nap between 1 and 3… whenever we get a chance. (if we are out running errands or something) It is becoming more of a struggle to get him to sleep, but I find that even when he sleeps late he still goes to bed at his normal bedtime. Maybe if you don't wake him up, and even just adjust his bedtime by half an hour it might help? does that make sense?

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s