For the past month, my toddler no longer naps. Nap time was a constant battle! I have done some reading about how to tell if your toddler has weaned himself off napping or if it’s just a phase. I was surprised by some of the things I read.
Some suggested having a quiet time, to not give up because they need to nap and that you have to make them, and that they are just giving you a hard time so let them cry it out. Number One: I don’t know about other toddlers, but there is no way mine would have quiet time for an hour unless the TV is on and he had a bunch of snacks, and even so he wouldn’t be quiet about it. Number two: I am not going to make him nap. I would like to know how that person made their child nap, or maybe I’d rather not know. Lastly, I do not do the cry it out thing.
I trust that he knows his body and will rest when he needs to. Truthfully, no nap= early bed time! When I began to observe that Declan showed signs of not needing to nap anymore, it definitely was a challenge because he would fight me when I said the word “nap” and I would let him go without and he would end up crashing, sleep until dinner and then wake up wired, pass out by midnight, and sleep in late the next morning. It was a hard transition. But just like anything else, it passed once we both adjusted to a new routine.
The last time I tried putting Declan down for a nap, he slapped me across the face. Some of you might have just laughed at that, or thought that if it were you, you would have slapped him right back. My initial instinct was that I was insulted, my adrenaline went up, and I was so done. I got up and left the room and he immediately started crying. The thoughts that ran through my head in a matter of seconds were I hate leaving him crying, why did he slap me?, I never smack him… OK, deep breath. So I go back in…
Declan: *sobbing* “mommmmyy
Me: “Do you want me to lie down?”
Me: “OK, but I do not like when you hit, it gave mommy a boo boo. I do not want that, I don’t like boo boos.
Declan: “No, no more boo boo.”
Me: “Thank you baby!”
And… wait for it! Not even a minute late, he was asleep, snuggled into me, arm around me, and with a smirk on his face and all. He knows everything is OK now. That’s my baby, even if he hit me. I kiss his head, tuck him in, and now this time it was OK to walk away. Yes, he fell asleep but I still felt bad about it because it was probably from exhaustion due to those sad tears. That was the last time I initiated nap time into our routine.
Instead of napping Declan now looks at some books and puzzles for quiet time, we run errands during what used to be nap time. Instead of wasting play time in the morning now, he is my little helper during cleaning, we bake or cook something, jump and dance to get our wiggles out and then relax to some YouTube “read along with your book” videos, and I even carry him on my back to get some things done.