If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s toddler sleep problem video:
Hi! Kim West, The Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Lydia’s question:
“I have an almost 2-year-old toddler (who will be two in a couple of weeks) and she will not nap. This just started. In the past, she would nap for 2 hours. We do the same routine we always do: books, rock, nap at the same time around 1 o’clock but all of a sudden, she will not go to sleep even though I know she is tired. She plays for 2 hours in her crib. She normally goes to bed at 7:30 and will wake up at 7:00 a.m. Should we just forego the nap? I’m not sure if this makes a difference but she moved to one nap a day well before she turned a year old. Please help.”
Nap Resistance is Normal
Lydia, this is such a common question. I think that 2 year olds tend to think they don’t need a nap when we know better because as you said she is tired. She is showing you that she is tired. Most 2 year olds need 2 hours of nap time and 11 hours at night which does sounds like she is getting at night (good for you!).
I would not give up! We can’t make our children go to sleep. The only thing we can do is provide a nice environment and the right timing and hope that they will go to sleep. Continue to have a soothing pre-nap routine, put her in the crib and say night-night. Make sure the room is dark enough and she doesn’t have too many things to entertain herself in her crib, although, believe me, I’ve seen kids entertain themselves for 2 hours with almost nothing in their crib, just themselves. You can check on her in increments if you wish. You could also use a wake-up light, either an appliance timer or there are so many products now in the internet that you can set to go off when sleep time is over. Tell her “Lie quietly in your crib until our special wake-up light comes on”. When nap time is over, go in the room and do dramatic wake up.
Avoid Using a Sleep Crutch
Another important point I noticed in your email is that you rock her before naps. I just want to make sure that in the past you weren’t maybe rocking her too much and now that sleep crutch is wearing off and she needs you to rock her more because she doesn’t know how to get to sleep by herself unless you rock her into a drowsier state. This is not uncommon. I often find that sleep crutches lose their “magic” over time. If that’s the case, don’t worry! Now you have to start putting her down without rocking her into a drowsy state. This is the most essential piece of your email and more than likely why you are seeing the change in her napping behavior.
So, again, keep up the good work, stay consistent and eventually, she will return to sleeping during her naptime even if it’s every other day. Even if kids outgrow the need to nap earlier than the average, I’m still a big proponent of quiet time. Remember, even if she were to be in preschool all day long, they still make kids lie down on a cot and have quiet time so I think that’s a great idea to have at home, too.
Lydia, I hope that was helpful.
The Sleep Lady
Video filmed by In Focus Studios