An afternoon nap is undoubtedly an important part of your toddler’s daily routine. Your little bundle of joy really needs that nap, or else he may be cranky all day long. It is probably also the only time of the day when you can rest or get some work done. Therefore, it is hardly surprising for moms to feel a bit frustrated when their kids refuse to nap like they are supposed to.
Many toddlers refuse to take their usual afternoon nap as they grow older for several different reasons. Forcing your child to sleep will only cause him to become stubborn and he will start dreading nap-time.
Toddler nap issues do not just crop up because your child is being stubborn. As your toddler grows older there are several changes taking place within his body and some of these could be the reason why he doesn’t sleep like the baby he used to be. Some of the more common causes of toddler afternoon nap issues include:
- Increasing interest and curiosity about activities that are going on around the house.
- Aversion to the word “nap-time” as they believe that they are missing out on fun.
- Getting attuned to sleeping when it is dark and staying awake when it is bright outside.
- Developing the ability to climb out of the crib, which has probably become a fun activity.
- The presence of Mom, his favorite playmate who loves him unconditionally.
Of course, this does not mean that nap-time has to turn into a battle between you and your little one.
How To Make My Toddler Take The Afternoon Nap?
There are several things you can do to ensure that your child gets his afternoon nap, without having him cry and throw a tantrum. Given below are a few steps that can help you deal with common toddler afternoon nap issues.
- Increasing Interest And Curiosity: Avoid letting your child engage in his favorite activity an hour or two before nap time. If your toddler is having too much fun when nap-time comes around, he is bound to throw a tantrum when asked to go to bed for a while. Instead, make him participate in those activities that soothe him, calm him down and get him to relax. Assure him that he can do what he really likes after he wakes up.
- Aversion To The Word “Nap-time”: Instead of using the dreaded N-word in front of your toddler, tell him that it is “quiet time” for everyone, including his mom. Then, have him settle in his crib with his blanket or soft toy and let him know you’ll be back as soon as quiet time is over. In all probability he will doze off on his own, within a couple of minutes. If you are checking on him, make sure that he does not see you.
- Getting Attuned To Sleeping When It Is Dark Outside: Toddlers are different from little babies in a way that they cannot sleep anytime and anywhere. They may find it harder to drift off during nap-time because it is still bright outside and they can hear the sounds of cars, kids playing, dogs barking and so on. You can prepare your little one for his nap by installing blackout shades and running a fan to block out the various sounds. Also take your toddler through his regular bedtime routine, which could include a short story, singing a lullaby or saying his prayers.
- Climbing Out Of The Crib: Do not abet your child in his attempts to spring out of his bed. This means you need to get rid of large soft toys and pillows he could use to hoist himself above the railings. Also lower the mattress to the lowest possible level. Set a “no climbing” edict if your child obeys rules well. If nothing else works, install a crib tent or a mesh cover over the top of his bed.
- The Presence Of Mom: You may notice that your little one sleeps easily when he is with the sitter, but nap-time becomes a power struggle when you are around. This is probably because your toddler is secure in your unconditional love and therefore does not strive to be on his best behavior. He may also think that he doesn’t need to sleep when he can play with mom. The only way to overcome this challenge is to allow your child to sleep on his own. You can promise to play with him once he is refreshed from his nap.