Toddler sleep concerns: won’t nap
How much sleep does my toddler need during the day?
The amount of sleep your toddler needs depends on his age, as well as his unique personality and physical needs. However, by about 18 months, most toddlers go from two daytime naps to just one, two-hour nap.
This will probably change to a one-and-a-half-hour nap by the time your toddler’s two, and just one hour when he reaches three.
These are only averages though. If your toddler sleeps well at night, and doesn’t seem tired during the day, then he probably doesn’t need a nap. If he’s often grizzly and irritable, always falls asleep in the car, or has broken sleep at night, he probably does.
Why does my toddler refuse to nap?
Life is incredibly exciting for your toddler. There’s so much to learn and explore that he’s probably just reluctant to miss any fun. However, this is all the more reason to set aside quiet time during the day. He needs the chance to refuel for even more adventures.
You toddler may also have trouble napping if:
- he doesn’t have a regular naptime
- he has too much TV or tablet screen time
- he’s over-tired, which may make him too tense and grumpy to drop off easily
- he is over-stimulated due to a special event such as a birthday party or a trip to the zoo
What can I do to help my toddler nap?
Try to establish a regular naptime routine. This can be a shorter version of your bedtime routine, such as reading a short story and having a cuddle.
Once your toddler’s having just one nap a day, it usually works well for it to be right after lunch. This way he’ll learn that the end of the meal is his cue to wind down. However, as long as you’re consistent, he’ll start to associate a particular time, place and set of activities with his nap. This should help him fall asleep more easily.
It’s hard to stick to a regular nap time on special occasions. But if you can keep it at the usual time, your extra effort will probably pay off. Not only is he likely to be more cheerful during the day, it may also help him sleep better at night.
If you’re still worried about your toddler’s sleeping habits, you can always talk to your health visitor.