Toddler Sleep Help: My Two Year Old No Longer Naps! Help!

  • 0
  • April 26, 2011

Weekly Toddler Sleep Help Question for The Sleep Lady:

“I have an almost 2 year old toddler (will be 2 in a couple weeks) and she will not nap.  This just started, in the past she would nap for 2 hours.  We do the same routine that we always do – books, rock, nap – at the same time (around 1), but all of a sudden she will not go to sleep even though I know she is tired.  She will play for 2 hours in her crib.  She normally goes to bed at 7:30 and will wake up at 7am.  Should we just forgo the nap?  Not sure if this makes a difference, but she moved to one nap a day well before she turned a year old.  Help!” Lydia


Your daughter is not the only 2 year old who decides they no longer want to nap! Many two year olds go through a phase where they think they no longer need to nap. We as parents know better! The average 2 year old needs 11 hours of sleep at night and 2 hours of sleep at nap time. They are growing and learning at an amazing pace at this age and sleep is essential for both! They are also experimenting with what they can control and what they can’t. A two year old can control if they are going to swallow the broccoli, poop on the potty and go to sleep at nap time!

I would continue with your usual pre-nap routine (making sure you are not rocking her too much) and have her spend at least one hour in her crib. You can use wake up music or a wake up light to signal when nap time is over.  You can’t “make her sleep” but make the environment sleep inducing. Room darkening shades, dim night light if any and no toys in the crib. Think of it like quiet time so make sure her crib isn’t too exciting.

If you notice her mood taking a turn for the worst after a few days of no napping, consider taking her for a car or stroller walk in hopes that the motion lulls her in to sleep. This is just a temporary measure to help fill the sleep tank so she doesn’t get too overtired. You may need to move her bedtime to 7pm on the days she doesn’t sleep at nap time.

You’ll be happy to hear that the majority of 2 years old who go through this “anti-nap” phase usually pass through it and return to napping.

When you think she is ready to transition to quiet time (hopefully when she is closer to 3 years old) read this article to make that transition smooth.

Sweet dreams,

Kim, The Sleep Lady

Was this article helpful to you? Please tell us by commenting below! For more baby, toddler, and family sleep tips and tricks, please subscribe to The Sleep Lady’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube channel! If you are looking for more sleep content, please check out Get Sleep Now-an exclusive members-only area designed to provide in-depth help and support during your sleep coaching experience.

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

Share this article: Share on Facebook
Email this to someone
Tweet about this on Twitter
Pin on Pinterest

Some of the posts featured on this website may contain affiliate links. This means I have the potential to receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links. This allows me to help cover the expense of running the site while keeping the content 100% free. Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!