I have a 2.5 year old who still definitely needs his nap. On the few occasions that he hasn't slept in the afternoon, he has completely fallen apart at about 4:30pm (and bedtime isn't until 7pm). When I tell him that it is nap time, he always says that he's "not sleepy!" (even if he's been yawning and rubbing his eyes) and then when he's in his bed he bounces around, gets up, gets toys, and is generally disobedient.

How do I get him to calm down and just sleep???

EDIT: I wanted to mention that we've tried moving his nap earlier to fend off the problem of being overtired. So far no luck with that. Also, we have a routine for nap time (and have for a long time). Right now it just isn't working very well. :)

asked 22 Oct '09, 22:56

Emily's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 23 Oct '09, 00:59

We always called it "quiet time", and set the expectation that it was time in their rooms, on their own, door closed, white noise on, and no coming out. Just like at bedtime, if they did come out, they were silently ushered back in their rooms, so eventually they gave up trying. In their rooms, during their Quiet Time, the kids could quietly play on their beds, or leaf through books.

Words to the wise: we also tried never to say the words, "sleep", "tired" or "nap" (don't those words always set kids off?)

9 times out of 10, the kid was asleep within 20 minutes :)


answered 23 Oct '09, 02:53

YMCbuzz's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

I like the idea of silence - not engaging in their arguments while sending them back.

(23 Oct '09, 14:20) Emily

The one thing that every site I've looked at has in common is: routine. Given the popularity of that, I'd feel comfortable advising the same as advice #1.

Here are some other ideas to try:

  • Wear him out. Exercise will make anyone tired. Just don't do it too close to naptime or he'll be wound up.
  • "Quiet Time". I've found that toddlers are easily fooled by the illusion of choice. (I've seen tots tricked into putting on sweaters by asking "do you want to wear it forwards or backwards" when they really don't want to wear it at all. Sometimes they wear it backwards but you still win.) Ask if he wants a nap or would he rather have quiet time. Of course he'll choose quiet time. By re-branding and ostensibly re-purposing this time, you might fool him into doing the job himself. Try quiet time where he just has to rest and be quiet without his toys. And if he can't handle quiet time, then it's back to nap time. Of course we know that he doesn't actually behave during nap time, but the thought of losing what he chose himself might incentivize him to stay the course anyway. If all this works -- and I realize there's a lot of "if"s -- he's likely to do the job for you and fall asleep, especially if he's tired. If this still ends in failure, maybe just try the same tactic but with the only quiet time toy option being his most calm toy. At the very least, some downtime will be better than none for his temperament later, or at least it can do no harm.

answered 23 Oct '09, 00:09

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%


I agree routine is key. We started to have some difficulty getting our daughter down for her afternoon naps even though she obviously needed them. So I started to go through a shorter version of our bedtime routine (drink, book, kisses goodnight for everyone) and it worked wonders.

I also agree wearing them out makes a difference.

(23 Oct '09, 00:13) Tammy ♦♦

Offering them choices that actually are not works very well with our children!

(23 Oct '09, 08:23) mouviciel

We have "relax time" in our house. The kids have to sit in bed for at least an hour. They are allowed books or one toy. I tell them it's mommy's time to get some stuff done (shower, clean, watch a mommy show). I set a timer for an hour and they know they have to stay in bed until it goes off. Most of the time they fall asleep but there are days they don't. If they are still awake when it goes off they are allowed to get up.


answered 23 Oct '09, 14:02

Mommy%20trial%20and%20error's gravatar image

Mommy trial and error
accept rate: 4%

Wow, I'm impressed that they can handle a whole hour! Maybe I can work my kids up to that... :)

(26 Oct '09, 02:20) Emily

I am not sure what time you usually put him down for a nap, but I have had to adjust my child's nap time to be earlier. I have found that if he gets over tired he will not take a nap but if I put him down, say 1/2 hour earlier he will still take his nap. I know it is so frustrating when he does not take a nap . . . I am all about my child taking naps for as long as possible. My child goes to bed at 7 as well so I usually give him his nap around 12:30 pm.


answered 23 Oct '09, 00:04

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

Melissa, I completely agree with you - unfortunately we've already tried that and it hasn't seemed to help.

(23 Oct '09, 00:43) Emily
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Asked: 22 Oct '09, 22:56

Seen: 6,355 times

Last updated: 23 Oct '09, 14:02