When Your Child Won’t Nap

Last week, I talked about putting my twins into their new big girl beds. They transitioned really well, and I am so proud of them for how well they handled the change. While bedtimes go really well with them, naps, on the other hand, have become a challenge.

Prior to putting my girls into their big girl beds, they were really great nappers. I’d throw them in their cribs and they would play for a little bit with each other and then fall asleep. Naps usually lasted for about two hours.

I loved when the girls would nap, because I had time to clean, play with Jack, do some work, relax…. the possibilities were endless!  I’m sad to say that the day we tried putting Eva and Marie down for a nap in their new beds, they decided they did not want to nap in their beds. It was now play time.

I left them in their rooms for the whole two hours, hoping they would wear themselves out and go to sleep like they do at bedtime. I’d run upstairs every 15 minutes and put them back into bed, telling them it was time for sleep. I tried giving them sippy cups to get them to stay in bed. I tried giving them a bunch of books to read in bed. Nothing. After two hours, I was frustrated because I got nothing done, and I now had two cranky one year olds who were tired but refused to nap.

That first day, Marie finally passed out about four hours later than she usually sleeps. Eva did not nap. Needless to say, I had cranky kids.

Jack, my oldest also struggled with naps. While I made sure his sisters were able to nap in their cribs, I screwed that one up with Jack, and let him nap downstairs when he was a baby. He slept on the couch, in my arms, in the baby chairs, but I never had him nap in his crib because he would wake up when I put him down.

When he started getting older, it was harder and harder to get him to nap, even though he needed it. I had to get creative so that I could make sure he fell asleep and get the rest he needed to function for the afternoon and evening.

They say that naps affect the night time sleeping habits of children, but, if I’m being honest, my kids can sleep anywhere and it does not affect their bedtime sleeping. They all go to sleep right away and they are now at the point where they sleep through the night. Jack gets up when he has to pee, but who doesn’t? I think the important thing is that the kids get their naps if they need them. If you are finding that your child is having problems at bedtime, then maybe being more consistent with naps is an option for you.

For me, I’ve had to figure out ways to get my kids to sleep when they won’t sleep in their beds.

Here are some options you can try:

Drive Around

My kids will, without fail, fall asleep in the vehicle if we are anywhere close to nap time. I have no problems letting them sleep in the vehicle, as we do lots of road trips or long drives during the day, and sometimes it’s easier to plan your day around nap times so that you can get to destinations in a more timely fashion.

Driving around is what I have had to start doing for the girls. We now eat lunch, get all dressed up to go outside, and then hit the road. All three of my kids are usually out within fifteen minutes. Jack doesn’t seem to need a nap anymore, but since we’ve been driving around, he’s had a nap almost every day.

The best part is that I end up getting a little bit of ‘me’ time in the process. No I can’t do any housework or much work, but I have been able to park the vehicle in a nice park and read my book. It’s actually really nice! The kids sleep, I read and drink a Chai Latte or an Ice Capp, and life is grand. I keep the vehicle a little warm, and leave it running and the kids sleep for over an hour! I may be ruining the environment, but at least I have happy kids… right?

When one of my kids wakes up, I turn on Dora and they watch tv shows until they are all awake. That way, I don’t have one kid upset while waiting for the others to wake up. Marie seems to take shorter naps than Eva and Jack. Once they are all up, tv goes off and we all head home or do whatever running around needs to be done.

It works pretty well! It’s not a perfect solution, but so far, it’s been okay.

Go for a Walk

Alternatively, I have found that my kids will also sleep when I go on long walks with them. Throw your kids in a stroller, and walk. They fall alseep, you have some nice quiet time, and, bonus, you get a work out in at the same time. I love walking with my kids, and love that I can go on three hour walks with happy babies who nap through part of the walk. If only we had warm weather all year long!

This was also how I let the girls nap when we were on vacation to Disney World. Instead of heading to the hotel for half a day, they girls would fall asleep in the stroller while we walked around the park. It was great because then we didn’t have to haul everything back and forth, and we got to do some more adult stuff while they napped. (We had 5 adults to my 3 kids, so there was always someone available to watch the kids).

Cuddle on a Couch

When I finally got sick of driving Jack around when he was younger (Yes, I did drive Jack around for naps when he was about the same age as my twins), I started getting Jack to cuddle on the couch with me to get him to fall asleep. I started letting him watch some you tube videos on my phone one day, and found after about 30 minutes, he would pass out with the phone in his hand on the couch. So, we started a new routine of videos and naps for a couple months.

When that stopped working, I realized he would fall asleep watching Frozen, so we started watching Frozen daily. I can pretty much quote that movie.

I have found that if you put on movies or shows that have lyrical singing to it, there is a good chance that you can get your child to fall asleep. It is so nice when your kid falls asleep cuddling with you!

Wait Until They Fall Asleep on their Own

Eventually, falling asleep while watching Frozen stopped working too. I had to learn to be okay with letting Jack play until he was tired, and then fall asleep. Some days he napped, and others he didn’t. Is it ideal? No, but ultimately, your child will sleep when they are tired.

Eva and Marie are kind of at that point now too. Today, Marie fell asleep sitting with me on the couch. Eva has done this too.

I’d love if my kids would nap in their beds, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen anymore. I still try putting them in their rooms to nap for about an hour before going on our drives, but they are way too happy playing to think about sleep. Maybe one day they’ll figure it out, but until then, I’ll keep trying and continue to find new, creative ways to make them nap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *