Quick Poll: When did your children stop napping?

by Susan

I love hearing from other moms…

napping-sophiaMy two and a half year old Sophia is at that stage where if she has a nap, it’s a nightmare getting her to sleep at bedtime, but if she doesn’t, it’s a nightmare UNTIL she goes to sleep at bedtime.

I remember going through the same stage with Julia. Although I admit, since she was my only child, I was very often tempted to nap WITH Julia which led to an extra long nap and extra late night.

Julia mostly stopped napping around 3 and a half years old and Sophia, who is still two, still naps on most days. But with the trouble I’m having at bedtime, I’m starting to wonder if I should try to eliminate her naps all together.

Janice’s daughter, Olivia, stopped napping right around her second birthday. And if she does have a nap, she will not sleep until earliest 10pm. Understandably, Janice is the nap police, never driving or putting Olivia in the stroller in the afternoon.

Janice’s son, Jackson, went through a good year of nap needing nightmares until he finally kicked the habit at three. But until he was four or five, he was still in danger of falling asleep in the afternoon if you let him watch TV or drive in car. Like Olivia, he also would be up until 11pm if he napped and so Janice was vigilant on trying to keep him up during the day.

So tell us, when did your children stop napping?

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Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 stephanie July 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm

my kids stop napping between 3 and 4, but we still have enforced quiet time in their rooms when they don’t nap. my almost six year old still goes up and plays in his room every day while my 3 year old and 10 month old take afternoon naps. If i know we are going to be out late for one reason or another, all three children take naps, even the 5 year old!

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2 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:31 am

Wow, that is awesome! I wish I had my kids on such a great system.

You win a major parenting award in my book.

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3 natasha July 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Same! We’re about planning baby #3, and we enforce quiet time in their rooms. works well for ALL! we also enforce nap time if we’re going to be out late!

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4 Selene July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

My children “napped” until they were in first grade. Sometime they just rested, but it would get them through the dinner and evening without being too cranky. Even when they were older, they sometimes napped on weekends.

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5 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:32 am

Very interesting… so it never interfered with them falling asleep at night?

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6 Jennifer, Snapshot July 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm

My kids were both super-late nappers. It wasn’t everyday, but they both napped regularly (maybe twice a week) until they were 5+.

However, I couldn’t let them sleep more than an hour or hour and a half, and never past 4:30 or so at that age, because then nighttime was a problem. So sometimes they need a nap, but it has to be earlier or interrupted.

I know I was super lucky to have them nap that long. Actually, my son would always go to sleep by 8:30, but he’d start waking up super-early, and then I knew it was time to go!

You might try one or two naps a week for a while and see if that works. It seems like most people think “all or nothing,” but that wasn’t the case with me.

But nighttime sleep is THE most important — you need it too. Good luck figuring it out.

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7 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:34 am

Thanks Jennifer!

Yes, I try to wake Sophia if she’s been napping too long and wow is that ever tough. LOL. It takes a loooooong snuggle with mommy to get her woken and happy again.

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8 Patty Reiser July 8, 2010 at 9:51 pm

These days if I find my son napping, it’s usually a clue that he is not feeling good. My son will easily stay up to midnight with tons of energy.

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9 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:34 am

Isn’t it funny how kids can be so different from each other.

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10 mmm619 July 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm

My son just turned 4 and is still napping! He naps anywhere from 2-4 hours daily. Goes to bed at 8:30 (8:00 during the school year- I’m a teacher) and wakes around 7 (6:15 during the school year). If we are busy, he can be flexible and skip a day of napping, but most days it’s a necessity.

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11 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:34 am

Wow that is fantastic for you!

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12 Kelly July 8, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I think so much depends on the child’s personality and unique make-up. My oldest napped until she was almost 5. It wasn’t uncommon for her to sleep 2 hours each afternoon. To this day (she’ll be 9 in a few weeks), she needs a good deal of sleep.

My second, however, stopped napping at 3. Part of that was because we suddenly had to leave the house every day at 1:45 PM to pick up Natalie at kindergarten, and he would sleep during that 30-minute drive. But part of it was because he was having a good deal of trouble going to sleep at night. That 30-minute snooze was just what he needed to tide him over until bedtime without interfering with night sleep.

Now my third is 2. And she’s pretty much stopped napping altogether! We are dealing with the EXACT situation you described with Sophia. If she naps, she can’t got to bed. If she doesn’t nap, we can’t stand to be around her by 4:30. Frustrating.

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13 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:35 am

Glad to hear I’m not alone. LOL.

It’s so frustrating, isn’t it?

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14 Shana July 9, 2010 at 12:26 am

All of mine were different. My oldest stopped napping before he was two. He was actually closer to one and a half. My daughter stopped taking official naps at three but if she is tired she will pass out in random places in our house lol My youngest who is just over two years old is in the same stage your daughter is in. I am not enjoying it. He will nap if we take a car ride and still go to bed at the same time at night which is a positive BUT if he doesn’t take a nap and I don’t keep him busy busy busy he is beyond cranky. We’ve gone to the park and the mall four days in a row now just to keep the kids occupied and now I’m pooped from it lol

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15 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:36 am

It’s so tough! This parenting gig sure takes a toll. LOL

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16 Deb - Mom of 3 Girls July 9, 2010 at 12:27 am

We had difficulty because our girls were all in daycare when they were younger. They would nap at daycare during the week, but stopped napping at home on the weekends very early on, probably because they didn’t get as much time home with us. I think Abby stopped napping around 3 years old, but Hannah was 2 when she quit naps. We did do an enforced ‘quiet time’ at nap time for a long time, especially when Becca was little and still napped. I was laid off and home full-time when Becca was 2-1/2 and she never napped after that because she wasn’t used to napping at home in general. She does still fall asleep in the afternoons on the few days that she’s been at daycare from time to time though, and she’s 4 now!

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17 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:37 am

Yes, it’s so complicated when the week routine is different from the weekend.

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18 renita July 9, 2010 at 2:17 am

I was totally ripped off with the whole napping thing with all of my girls. None of them continued napping past 18 months! Their ages now are 12, 11, 8(almost 9) and 51/2. I needed them to need to nap. lol When the need for a nap got really bad, for me, I would snuggle them all in bed with me and put on a kid movie. I would fall asleep but could feel if any of them got up. I’m still the only one on that wants a nap in the afternoons!

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19 Susan July 9, 2010 at 2:39 am

Drag! Yes, Mom is always the one who really needs the nap.

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20 Brandy July 9, 2010 at 9:40 am

i have a 5, 4, and 2 year old. I don’t enforce naptime, because usually if they take a nap they are up until 1 AM
My kids usually fall asleep in the car when I’m going somewhere, so if that happens i limit it to 1 hour thats it.

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21 Jamie H July 9, 2010 at 11:28 am

My first was just over 2 when she stopped napping. She was never crabby.
My second is 20 months and skips her naps more often than she takes them. She, however, gets crabby!
I’m super lucky that both girls go to bed at 8:30 pm and usually sleep till 9 am!

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22 Marisa July 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm

2 1/2 is the magice stop-napping age at my house. They get especially cranky at around dinner time, but eventually adjust and usually have a bit earlier bedtime. I know it’s time when the bedtime gets to such a hassle!

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23 Nancy T. July 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I voted for 2, since that’s when my older son stopped, but the 3.5 year old still naps at daycare, or at least did last time I checked, but not at home. He stopped a few months ago, so age 3. But he will fall asleep in the car if we go anywhere. And when were were on vacation last month he napped almost every day, even if it was in weird places like on a deck chair.

I’m lucky in that my kids never had the problem of not falling asleep when they had naps. My older one would fall asleep on the way home from daycare at 5:30, and still go to bed at 8. As I said he gave up his nap at age 2, but still desperately needed it. My husband and I would take turns putting him in the car and driving up and down the highway until he fell asleep. Once that stopped working, we gave up.

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24 Sarah July 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm

My kids {5 and 7} stopped napping daily before they were 18 months old. They still get an hour or two of “quiet time” because they need a break from each other {during the summer}, but usually no naps.

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25 Jaimie K July 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I can’t quite participate in your poll yet. My oldest will turn 4 in August and still takes a nap. I hope it doesn’t end soon! When would I get a shower?! ;)

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26 Mikki July 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm

My oldest (who just graduate..agh) stopped taking naps before she was two!! I was like NOOOOOOO! So a dear friend told me to still have her have a ‘quiet time’ in her room. This worked out great. For 1 hour and a half she would be able to play on her bed with a few select toys and books that were ONLY for quiet time. She loved it.

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27 Alison July 10, 2010 at 4:51 am

My 4 year old still naps, heck, sometimes I nap! Doesn’t it make perfect sense to sleep when you’re tired? If your little one is in need of a nap in the afternoon, by all means let them. If they’re consequently not ready for bed at bedtime then I guess the clock is your problem, not that of your little ones ;)

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28 Peggy Gorman July 10, 2010 at 7:34 am

I had the kids napping until they started 1st grade. I think its too young for kids to go full time to kindergarten ,when they start school ,they are tired and need a nap when they come home from school. By the time they start 1st grade they are a bit older and can survive easier without the nap .

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29 Sheena July 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Jayden has stopped napping at 26 months. If he does nap, it IS a nightmare x2 before bed. Before bed, he gets soooo hyper. We’ve ordered some Calms Forte and Sleeptime tea for kids for him. He’s always the culprit for getting our sleeping off track. We need to nip this in the bud! Naptime used to be a time where we could get some down time to get some work done. Now we count on a few hours after bedtime. We’re usually pooped by then, so when he goes to his grandparents’ house, it’s heaven.

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30 Billie Jean July 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm

My kids (6 of them) have all stopped napping at different ages. Right now, the almost 5 year old & 3 year old have “quiet time” while the 1 year old naps in the afternoon. He sleeps for 2-3 hours and they must be quiet for 1 hour reading, listening to music or playing quietly in their rooms.

One sugestion – I’ve read somewhere that 40 minutes is the magic number for late naps. Long enough to do some good, but short enough that they don’t get into deep sleep so if you can wake her after 45 minutes it might help the bedtime problem. Good Luck!

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31 Dorm Shower Caddy July 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm

My little boy stopped napping at about 2.5 . It all started when an older cousin who wasn’t napping came over for a visit and we had to forego naps. This was for only 2 days. After that, his body pretty much got used to it and there was no way we could make him go to sleep at all.

He goes to sleep at 7:00-7:30 now. 5:00 used to be the start of the “nightmare” when all he wants is to fall asleep and we’re jumping like monkeys in front of him to make sure he doesn’t. Then it just goes downhill from there.

It’s been about 6 months since he’s stopped taking naps though and he’s much better at staying up till 7. He would take a nap though if we were in the car. Also, we know there ar days when he’s really tired and he could do with a nap, but it’s just impossible to make him sleep. He’ll do anything to NOT sleep. And at the end of the day, I feel all the stress we go through just isn’t worth it.

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32 Kat July 11, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I actually saw this in my feed reader and at first glance, read the title as “When did your children stop NAGGING?” LOL!!! I was coming over here to say, “What, you mean other people’s kids actually STOP that at some point?!” haha Napping, however, has stopped around age 2 with all of mine. Of course, they still nap when they’re just really sleepy (or really bored) but routinely, no.

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33 Debbie T July 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

I have an almost 5 year old and an almost 3 year old. Their naps are a CRUCIAL part of their day – and all of our well-being. My oldest is starting to miss a couple of naps a week, but I still have her quietly read or rest in her room. She doesn’t have to sleep – she can have quiet toys or books – but she has to rest. My 3 year old – she still needs the naps.

Without naps, they are really quite cranky. They typically go to bed at 9 pm and wake up at 7 am. Without naps, even putting them to bed at 8 pm – they are cranky, irritable, and tend to be extreme in their actions and reactions.

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34 Becky July 12, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I have three children: 3 yrs; 2 yrs; and 4 mos.
The 2-year-old is ready for his nap by 1 or 1:30p.m. He can go later–he can skip his nap, but he will become really irritable, whiney and disobedient later in the day. I really can’t expect him to obey if I don’t give him the rest he needs (even though he doesn’t know he needs it, well, that’s why he has a mom!). So I put him down. A side benefit: this gives my daughter a chance to do something educational without the distraction of her brother. Either we read together, practice letters & sounds or she does starfall.com.
If I were to try to put my daughter down at 1:30, I would be lucky for her to sleep 1/2 hour. She doesn’t get tired until 2 – 2:30 p.m. Sometimes she says she doesn’t want a nap, but regardless, she has to lay in bed for a 1/2 hour “rest.” If (after 1/2 hr) she is still awake, she can either read books in bed or (sometimes) have a quiet playtime in her room until 3 p.m. Other times she will actually nap for over an hour.
This mid-day break also preserves MY sanity. :-) I do planning, make phone calls, e-mail, housework, dinner prep. . .
I will always insist on a rest time or a “quiet play” time, as long as I have preschoolers, regardless of whether the kids think they need it. Both kids are SO much sweeter after naps (or rest time). It’s good for all of us, even though they don’t realize it yet.
They go to bed by 8 p.m. although I often come in and find them still awake, even 1/2 hour later. They have learned I’m not negotiating this one (and yes, it takes time to “teach” this one!). Once they’re in bed, I have a few hours free at night for housework, correspondence, etc.
All the kids wake up by 6:30 – 7 AM, and we eat breakfast and see Daddy off to work.

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35 Simply Cathi July 13, 2010 at 12:24 am

I think children of all ages need naps occasionally. I don’t like keeping my grandkids awake so they’ll go to bed early for their parents. I’d rather they take a nap when they’re tired then have them crabby and not enjoying themselves. Bad Grandma?

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36 Simply Cathi July 13, 2010 at 12:29 am

Can I add…I find that if I lay down at bedtime with my grandchildren who have had a nap, they usually fall asleep quite fast. We play a game nose to nose, of who can keep their eyes closed the longest. It’s also up to each family what works best for them.

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37 Stephanie July 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Your comment about Janice being the “nap police” made me laugh because we often avoiding going places in the late afternoon because we don’t want our girls to fall asleep! If we do go out after 3pm, you’ll find us singing and tickling our girls, trying to keep them awake. ;)

Our oldest stopped napping at 2-ish. She was having a tough time falling asleep at night so we took out the nap and she started falling asleep much more easily in the evenings.

Our 16-month-old takes 1 nap at around 12:30 or 1:00 pm for 45-90 minutes, depending on the day.

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