At school, my son's class still has a nap time. And that surprises me, as I know most of the children don't sleep during that time. But I understand that sometimes their little bodies need a rest.
So, like many parents, I was confused upon first seeing the research that children older than two might not need a nap. But to even attempt to crack the code of children and their sleep, you have to look at the full picture: To understand your child's sleep patterns, you need to determine how much they are sleeping overall.
When we last went on vacation, I was amazed at my son's request to take a short nap in the middle of the day, since he didn't normally take them at home. But, he was smart: He was listening to his body. He had been running around so much (and he knew he wanted to stay up a little late); he knew he needed some sleep.
So how do you know if your little one is ready to give up that nap? These are some things to keep in mind:
- There is no quitting naps cold turkey. Some days they may still need one; some days they may be OK. Watch for mood swings and let your toddler be your guide.
- How hard is it for your child to fall asleep? Are they still rolling around in bed for a few hours after lights out?
- How difficult is it for your child to wake up in the morning (bears aside)? Any harder than when they were napping?
- How much activity was there in the day? Are they exhausted or just normally tired at the end of a fun-filled day?
When do you really really want a nap? Tell me in the comments.