Nap Strike

Advice to the question, "Is my child giving up their nap?"

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Some parents find that these nap “strikes” are temporary. Several parents offer strategies to encourage a child to begin napping again:


Enforce the structure:

"My 2 1/2-year-old went through two sudden and unexpected nap strikes in the past 6 months after very easy bedtime and nap routines her whole life. I was miserable about it, and many parents told me to just get used to it. But one mom assured me that it might be temporary and suggested I just act as though the naps were still a daily possibility. Honestly, I don't remember all the details now of how I handled it in terms of letting her cry. I somehow struck a balance between making it into a battle and acting as though she might begin napping again any minute. But it was very trying. However,  I am here to tell you that after the first two-week  nap strike she began napping daily again (suddenly). The second nap strike was a month. I despaired. But after that one she began napping again about 3-4 days a week. That time the transition back to napping was more gradual. With a recent vacation she is off her nap again, but slowly returning to it. I think that if you have it in mind that the nap may come back you can be flexible about trying to make it happen. Let up on it for a while with the faith that it is not gone for good."



"It's a good idea to give toddlers an incentive to do something. It's important to let them know that they won't miss out on all the fun while sleeping and that some fun is still left after they wake up. So I'll say: After you go for your nap and you wake up, we will do this and that. And my son goes to bed like a charm. Hope this idea helps.



"My twins started refusing to nap at about 23 months. They would refuse and scream and scream for as long as we left them in there. Sometimes one would nap and the other would fall asleep on my lap after we took her out of the crib. Or they would eventually fall asleep in the stroller in the afternoon during our outing. So they definitely still needed a nap. We tried making it later and then making it earlier. We tried a bunch of things, but what eventually worked was to promise them something to look forward to AFTER the nap. That seemed to do the trick. My one daughter started using it like a mantra: "After the nap, then we play with play-doh" or "After the nap, then we go to the library." Take the focus off the nap and put it on the activity but still go through the whole nap routine."


Take a nap with your toddler:

"Try lying down with your child in your bed and both taking a nap. (I used to love taking naps with my older child. Now with two-no naps anymore!) You could also go ahead and transition to a regular bed for her and put a rail on it that will stop her from falling out and at naptime sit/lay in bed with her and read her a book until she falls asleep."