As I have mentioned before I adore nap time as I’m sure many other moms do. About 6 or 7 months ago Cakey started refusing to nap. She would lay in her room yelling, kicking the wall, and destroying things. She would tear up books, pull out all the clothes, wipes, diapers, and wall decals. She would rip up pretty much anything she could get her hands on, all so she could keep herself and Pie awake. 🙁 This made for one unhappy momma and Pie!
I decided to try separating the girls for nap time. At first, I started letting Cakey nap on the couch, which worked for a couple of weeks until she started playing with her toys, making messes, and being loud. Next, I tried letting her nap in my room, which worked for a couple of days. Then one day she made a huge mess with lotion and lavender sleep spray all over my bed! While I loved the lavender spray a little goes a long way and a lot goes waaay too far. Plus, the more she slept in my bed the less she wanted to sleep in her bed.
My last resort was putting her in the pack and play for her nap/quiet time in the middle of the living room. I told her you do not have to go to sleep, you just have to be quiet and rest. This worked for like a week, then she started yelling and crying for no reason other than that she did not want to have quiet time. I soldiered on with leaving her in the pack and play even though she was yelling. Then one day the little sprite climbed out of it. I’m not even sure how. But she would climb out, go play with her toys or books, and if she heard me coming climb back in. After a few days of this I gave up. I started letting her watch a movie or two during quiet time that way Pie could nap in peace.
After talking to a few friends, I tried laying down with her in my bed so that she would take a nap and not get into trouble. This worked but didn’t work at the same time. You see, the problem with this is that by the time she fell asleep I was almost asleep and would end up taking a nap too, even if I didn’t want one. If she didn’t take a nap, I was grouchy because I was almost asleep.
For a few weeks I gave up and admitted defeat. During Pie’s nap time I put on a movie for Cakey and would have her sit on the couch while she watched it. I mostly did this because I did not want to have to end up taking a nap too.
But there were days when she was so crabby and grouchy by the end of the day and James and I were left staring at each other wondering where this little grumpy energy ball came from. After a couple of those days I would start back on forcing the naps which would lead to me taking a nap too or Cakey jumping around enough to annoy me out of bed.
I slowly, oh so painfully slowly, realized that the only times she would take a nap was on the days when she was super tired. On the other days, she would jump and play no matter how many times I told her to lie down. After that realization, I started noting the various other tuckered out clues she would give off throughout the day. For instance, what time she went to sleep the night before (not when she went to bed but actually went to sleep), what time she got up in the morning, was she fighting with Pie and I about little things, was she yawning or rubbing her eyes during and after lunch, and most importantly was she having tantrums for no real reason.
If she was giving off one or two sleepy clues, I realized she would be fine with quiet time watching a movie. If she was giving off three to four cues then we need to try to take a nap. Notice I said try. We go lay down and I tell her she has to lay still and rest for a set period of time usually 20 minutes. If she lays still and rests but does not fall asleep after 20 minutes we get up, if she’s asleep I let her sleep! 😉 If she gives off five or more tired cues she has to take a nap. Usually, on those days she starts fighting me the moment I tell her it is quiet time. By fighting I mean full out tantrum plus trying to hit or kick me, etc. I normally have to put her in bed, lay down next to her, listen to her yell at me, and try to escape the bed for about 5-7 minutes, if that. Then she settles down and falls asleep fast.
Now that I have figured her out nap time is no longer wartime or at least not as bad as it used to be. 🙂 During a normal week, Cakey might take 1-2 naps lasting from 20 minutes of rest to a hour and a half. There are some days when she shows no signs of being tired and on those days we do a craft together or she helps me make something in the kitchen.
Does your toddler nap? How do you handle refusal to take a nap?
Have a blessed day!
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