Mum 2 Mum: Changes, Changes Everywhere

The one constant about small children – just when you think you have a handle on things, they change it up again!

Immy has started resisting her afternoon nap. All of a sudden, completely out of the blue and yet the signs are there that she still needs it (for example, her eyes are falling out of her head and she is in the worst mood for the rest of the day!) She delays, she resists and makes life unpleasant for everyone and then usually (eventually) falls into a deep sleep. What to do???

So my question is – how did you transition your lil one to no day sleep? Did they continue having a quiet time even if they were not sleeping? Where, for how long and doing what?

All advice welcome!


Related Posts

If you have a question about parenting, child development or health, early education or play, why not ask the Childhood 101 community for help? More information here.

{Image source}

Get every post via email Get the monthly newsletter


  1. I’ve been battling this one for a year now. I encourage quiet time for at least an hour. I will say I have had to bribe her to lay down and rest, there are just some days when I need them to lay down so I can have a bit of peace. She still takes naps a couple times a week I think that’s pretty good for a soon to be 5 year old.

  2. I’ve been battling this one for a while too with my oldest 4 1/2 year old. I’ve always insisted he take a nap, even when he didn’t want to (for my own sanity) until just recently. Now I give him the choice (most days), between quiet time and nap time– not surprisingly, he always chooses quiet time.
    I like to let him have the freedom to do as he chooses (with the exception of TV or movies) during quiet time, with a few rules– “Can’t go outside, can’t open the door, be quiet, don’t wake up little brother, and have fun.” Sometimes I’ll give him some suggestions of things he can do, or set a few things out for him, but he usually has no problem coming up with ways to entertain himself. He does amazingly well, and I’m often surprised by the things he’s created or built while he’s on his own.
    I also sometimes use the time to play games with him, and read stories that are a little advanced for my two-year-old, so it’s been nice having a little extra one-on-one time with him.
    I do insist though that he takes a nap when he’s not feeling well, or if I can just tell that he really needs it. I make sure I let him know at the beginning of the day that it’s going to be a nap day, so we don’t have any meltdowns. If he still is fighting the nap, I tell him that he doesn’t have to sleep if he doesn’t want to, but he does have to lay down quietly (which means that 99% of the time he does fall asleep).
    He actually goes to bed a lot earlier, now that he doesn’t take a nap everyday, which makes it nicer for our family– since our youngest still takes a nap and goes to bed fairly early. So far it’s working great!

  3. Amy started resisting her nap around the age of 2.5 when I was about to have a second baby. It was quite stressful for a few months because I would make an effort to get home and get her into bed only to struggle for an hour to get her to sleep and then she would nap for 30 minutes and be up again. When Stella was born Amy was 2 and 10 months and within weeks I gave up the nap because it was too hard balancing a newborn and a daily struggle to get Amy to nap. I enforced quiet time for another 6 months or so and just brought her bedtime routine forward by half an hour to 7pm. My advice is to step back and take a look at your whole day and and even your weekly routine and see where you can try and encourage quiet time instead of a nap and where you can extend your morning routine to fill those lunchtime hours and then fit in a quiet time with some books or a dvd later in the afternoon. To be honest I was relieved when I finally made the decision not to nap, it meant we could go out later in the morning without the panic of getting home for 12pm naptime and once we had adjusted our routines it actually really suited us to get Amy into bed a little earlier at night! Good luck, you will be fine, its a tough transition but you can make it work!

    • The hardest thing is making the decision to let it go. Immy is a child who is much more comfortable with routine so any transition (especially this one as naptime has been part of our day forever!) takes time. Though I do like the idea of an earlier bedtime and more flexibility in our day :)

  4. It does take a while to settle into new routines which is where you’re at now. my son was terrible with sleeping full stop. And naps were the worst. He stopped naps by 3. Once I stopped fighting about the naps, it got easier. It was all about rest time which lasted a long time. Sitting quietly on his bed, reading books, listening to audio CDs or just relaxing music. For one hour. Early on, the end of the day was hard. Tired, grumpy, eyes popping out of his head but that’s part of transition I guess.

  5. Zoey @ Good Goog says:

    The transition is hard! Riley is at that point as well. If she does nap it’s impossible to get her to sleep at night and if she doesn’t she’s absolutely exhausted and likely to pass out too late in the day for a nap but not late enough for her night time sleep! For us what seems to work the best is to just go with it. So at the moment that usually means she’ll have a nap three days out of the week and not the other four. I actually prefer it now when she doesn’t nap because of the earlier bed time.

  6. I slowly transitioned all my cherubs from no sleep during the day by having quiet time for an hour every afternoon. They needed to stay in there room and could play quietly. I would load them up with books, whisper when I spoke to them and reminded them it was time for quiet time to rest our bodies and minds a little.

    I found it helpful to give them a little time out and to give me a chance to re-group my mind and body too!

  7. Afternoon quiet time is great! My oldest daughter (almost 3) is at this point too. She will have a sleep maybe every second or third day, but she stays in bed after lunch every day for 1.5 hours. I give her a pile of books next to her bed for those days she really doesn’t want to sleep. She also has several dolls and teddies in her bed and she is happy to make up games with those (I imagine Immy would do the same with her strong preference to imaginative play).

    We haven’t had a huge amount of resistance from Miss Chatterbox about actually going in to bed, so I can’t offer much there. A friend of mine started having TV time instead of “in bed” time and her son would fall asleep in front of the TV anyway, but without the fights about going to bed!

  8. Well one thing I have done was tell them you don’t have to go to sleep but you do have to lay there and be quite and I do allow looking at books but no tv and they usually do fall asleep

  9. We had siesta time each day at nap time when my two oldest sweeties outgrew naps because I was expecting a baby at the time and needed rest time very much!
    I put a blanket out for each of them with some puzzles, crayons, etc.
    The could play and have fun, but they had to stay on their “island.”
    Worked like a charm. It gave me a much needed break and it gave them a much needed quiet time.

  10. My eldest started dropping naps at 18 months, Christie, and by 2 was no longer napping, so the idea of an over *3* year old napping is foreign to me! (Secondborn was nap-less by 2.5).

    I would endorse what several others have said above, though, that replacing the nap with quiet time / siesta time / whatever you like to call it is a good tactic. With my elder daughter, because she was so young when she stopped napping and I had a 3-month-old baby at the time, I saved up her daily TV time and we had a 30-minutes-of-TV-30-minutes-of-something-quiet-by-yourself rule. (In her case it was usually looking at books, playdoh or drawing). By the time she was 3 I had eased the TV time out of that zone and she would still happily have her hour of downtime while her younger sister slept.

    My secondborn also had quiet time once the naps started vamoosing, but it was a little harder with her because she had a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 4.5 year old sister who wanted to play! Still, we managed it.

    My youngest is now 25 months old and still naps 1.5 -2 hrs most days, but I am starting to lead her gently towards napping every second day only, as her bedtime is starting to get out-of-control late. When she doesn’t nap, I’ve reintroduced – you guessed it – quiet time for an hour! C almost always chooses to look at books and play with her kitchen toys in that time.

  11. Our three year old is going through that as well. She has kindy five days every fortnight and doesn’t sleep then, so I encourage an hour or so quiet time in her bedroom on the days at home. If she sleeps, excellent, if not she’s in bed a little earlier at night. On the weekends she stays up with her older sister and they quite often watch a movie together.

  12. My girl gave up naps when we moved her from a cot to a bed. I guess she wasn’t caged in anymore!

    Quiet time just happens as part of the rhythm of our day. When she was younger she would often play at my feet with my sewing notions while I sewed, or I’d play something quietly with her (puzzle, playdough, etc.) and then retreat to my cup of tea and magazine once she was engrossed. Sometimes I’ll give her a pile of things to ‘sew’ with needle and thread (leaves, felt scraps, buttons, polystyrene packing thingos). This keeps her going for ages and I can sit nearby and knit (if I’m lucky).

    And sometimes I let her watch TV. But I find that she’s less and less interested in it and after an initial period of sitting on the couch she’ll move on to something else and play by herself.

    I read a great book called The No Cry Nap Solution, which had lots of great ideas for creating flexible, realistic nap-time and quiet-time rituals. Definitely worth seeing if the library has a copy.

    Good luck – it is hard to say goodbye to that nap time, but you’ll both settle in to a new routine and it’ll be fine!

  13. My 3.5 year old will nap at day care – but I find the days he has a sleep to very difficult bedtimes at night. I prefer to look at what the day is like and see whether or not he is particularly tired. If he is tired I try to get lots of big energy activities early in the morning so that he is exhausted and will have a sleep at 11.30, so that it is easier to get him in to bed at night. We usually have 1-2 sleeps during the week, but weekends when I am happy for him to be up a bit later I usually enforce a nap (even if it means Mum or Dad has to lie down with him to get him off to sleep).

    Either way, it is take the “angst” at dinnertime with a tired child or at bedtime with a child full of energy!

    Good Luck – whatever you choose will be the best for your family.

  14. My daughter is 3.5years of age, she started resisting going to her bedroom for a afternoon sleep from around 3 years of age. I did insisted that she lay on the familyroom couch (leather s0 it didn’t really matter if she fell asleep and had a toileting accident) for a rest, sometimes with relaxing music on or a kids dvd. Now I don’t insist and just tell her to have a lie down on the couch when she feels tired, which she does on her own accord. It might mean an earlier night to bed if she hasn’t had a sleep during the day.
    It’s great not having a battle and it empowering to my daughter that she is making her own choice.

  15. I’m hanging on tightly to those afternoon sleeps! Especially with bub #2 due soon! My little man is about 3.5 and I wake him just after 6am if he’s not already awake. We live on farm time, so that way he still gets to have breakfast and be with his dad for a little on most days, before dad leaves, and by the time its nap time – he’s ready for it!

  16. My youngest began resisting nap time by 2 and I was devasted!! I found resisting it pretty much useless – I had to go with it as his ability to drop off to sleep in the evening also began to stretch out – we had ‘quiet’ time for an hour after lunch. He could choose where he was (inside) but what he was doing had to be ‘quiet’- I would read him a book along to quiet music and then leave him to continue reading, listening to music or CD stories, drawing or creating with lego etc on his own… my main rule was you stayed put in the one place for the hour rest … I would model this new ‘rest’ time by reading, lying on the couch, crocheting etc quietly also (although had to be careful as I was prone to dropping off into nanna naptime myself – much to the toddler’s vast amusement. If we were out and about I’d carry a little bag with a few books, crayons and cards etc and he could still have ‘quiet’ time where-ever we were (albeit often a shorted rest period)

  17. Cecilia Ko says:

    I was reading all the comments and felt that all of you had such obedient children!!! At least without nap they are willing to have “rest” periods. My son is 20 mths old and I’m battling with him these days over nap till recently I gave up. I just let him tell me (he can’t speak yet) but he could communicate non-verbally and body language. He used to nap from 12.30 to 3.30 these days his nap is either 3,4 or 5pm. Sometimes he doesn’t even nap till 7 or 8pm and we’ll just send him to bed and he’ll sleep through till next morning. Although I’ll love to have my son follow the routine but by forcing him to nap would mean that I am battling against his will so I’m leaving him as it is.

    • Cecilia, I think ‘quiet play’ is a better way to think of it then rest time, at least that is how I am reading the comments. And most of those above suggest an hour at most. Maybe your little one is still a bit young for a whole hour of independent play – Immy wouldn’t have played by herself for that long at her age either. Now, at three she is more likely to.

  18. I made a huge mistake with the eldest. She was resisting and I forced it because when she did fall asleep she would go for a couple of hours, so she must have needed it right? Nope, all I did was buy myself 2 months of fighting, as soon as I gave up all was happy.
    The little one actually lasted much longer with a nap, she’s only given it up within the last couple of months. She basically gave it up when we were busy, so we didn’t even transition to quiet time. She will occasionally watch a DVD after lunch, but even that’s usually on a Friday.

  19. Cecilia Ko says:

    I would love to have my son have ‘quiet play’, he doesn’t do it often…LOL!!!

  20. My two daughters are very different. My eldest (7 yrs old) would nap anyday, anytime…she loves a nap. While my youngest daughter is more into quiet play. However, she gets super cranky during the late afternoon. I found that I was actually happier when I had a little quiet time in the afternoons. I introduced the girls, especially my youngest to the concept of quiet time for 4 songs. I would turn the radio on, classical music channel, and tell her mommy needs quiet time for 4 songs. Each song is around 4 minutes long…so this equates out to about 20 minutes (give or take). I would lay down on the couch…not asleep…but my eyes closed…listening to the music. My daughter would play quietly…and eventually lay down with me. The fact that she could keep track of the songs meant she has some control and understanding of what was going on…we weren’t resting for HOURS on end…just a few minutes. I have found that this quiet time has given both of us just enough of a break to avoid any major cranky late afternoon issues. And using songs has worked for other activities too. 2 more songs until the playdate is over…or, clean your room for 3 songs, etc. Good Luck.

  21. The transition from one sleep to none is always the hardest I think.

    Don’t expect it to go smoothly would be my advice ;)

  22. It’s hard isn’t it. Similar to what others mentioned I tell my almost 3 yo to “rest”. I give him one book and one toy in bed. I tell him (he has a few sleep anxieties) “you don’t have to sleep but rest and be quiet”. If he makes too much noise I’ve started removing the book or toy, which he will get back after a short period of being quiet again. It’s been working recently, I often hear him whispering or moving around for a while then he goes to sleep. Though if he doesn’t sleep I’m happy we’ve both had a little rest. Though i know things do change quickly and soon it may become a battle again.

  23. My daughter is 4 years old and she still takes a nap each day. If she misses it, which happens from time to time if we have an appointment during her nap time, the next day she is really tired and catches up by taking a longer nap.

    I have thought a lot about what we will do when she no longer wants to (or benefits from) taking a nap during the day. I think that a mid-day break is important for anyone, so my plan is to incorporate “quiet time” where we lay down for a bit and read books. Just to encourage her that it is good to rest everyday, even if you don’t actually go to sleep.

Leave a Comment