Nap time can become quite the process once your child begins to outgrow them. Some children stop napping near the age of three, others will want some solid sleep-time well into their fifth year. Though children should be napping until the age of four, some children will show signs of when they're no longer wanting to sleep.
There are some signs that children will show when they're no longer in need or want of their nap. It is, of course, important to encourage quiet time each day if possible; however, some children will want to avoid sleeping at all costs. We've listed ten ways to tell if your toddler is done with their napping stage.
10 EARLY WAKE UPS
If your child is waking up earlier than usual, this may mean that they're sleeping too much in the day. Often, when children wake early this may actually indicate that they're over-tired; however, it's also a sign, age depending, that they're in fast getting too much sleep. So, figure out which it is. If it's a habit they've grown to get used to, you will have to train them with either consistent rules or putting them to bed later with no naps in the day to change this from happening.
9 DIFFICULTY GETTING TO SLEEP
If your child is having a very hard time getting to sleep at night, they may be resting too much during the day. Often, children up until the age of four need a good hour of quiet time during their day. But, they could also just be ready to skip their quiet time and move onto more activity. Some children have very active brains and minds, and enjoy being stimulated until bed time. Make sure your bed time is not too early for your child's age, too. They will likely need to adjust their bed time when you take away their naps.
8 MORE ENERGY MID-DAY
If you notice your child is not getting as drowsy during their usual sleep times, they may just be ready to kick their nap. Encourage some quiet time like reading books or watching a very calm movie during the hour they usually slept for, but don't force them to sleep if they truly do not want to.
Some children will enjoy their quiet time while others may fight it, associating it too much with their previous nap time. Every family dynamic and child is different, so do what's best for you.
7 WAY TOO DIFFICULTY PUTTING DOWN
If putting the child down for their nap becomes more stressful than restful, consider their age and if it's time to skip the hassle all completely. Of course there will be days and moments where the child is so tired they fight like crazy to stay awake. But, it's also important to tap into your child's true needs. They may be over tired or they may just not need to take their naps during the day, anymore. Sometime this realization is harder on the parent than it is child. And, that's completely understandable. But, things change. And we must respect our child's needs just as much as we have to let go of ours at times.
6 THE SEASON
As the season changes, our children grow and become more involved with weather appropriate activities. Often in the summer, children will want to spend more time in the sun. If their room is not completely dark, they will want to play until it is. Consider the time of the year and what the weather is like outside. Age depending, the child may want to kick their nap for the meantime. Don't be surprised if they crave some quiet time on those rainy days or winter hibernations. Go with the flow.
5 THEIR FRIENDS ARE NOT NAPPING
If their friends at school or at playdate have too kicked their nap, that may show that they're at the age where napping may not be as necessary as it one was. We are not saying that you should compare your child to every single one of their friends, but we do think it's a relevant discussion to have with fellow parent-friends. So, note their activity level during their days, if their friends are napping as frequently or often as yours, and if not, this may mean they're done napping, too.
4 THEY'RE IN SCHOOL
If the child is old enough to be at school, they may be done having their naps. Often in earlier grades and groups of kids, children will have at least an hour's rest within their day. Whether the child actually naps or not is up to them.
But, they still have this scheduled out time to rest their minds from their day's work. If they are in school at a later age and the class is not participating in nap times, then your child may be old enough to go through the day without a solid sleep break.
3 THEY TELL YOU THEY'RE NOT TIRED
If your child is old enough to be vocal and communicate that they are not tired, they may actually be trying to be honest with how they're momentarily feeling. Notice any true signs of exhaustion or over-tiredness. They could just be telling you the total opposite because they don't want to miss out. But, if they are consistently reminding you of how awake and alert they feel, you may want to trust their judgment and respect their decisions. You can't force anyone to do anything, including your children. And, it's important to encourage independent thought, even if it has to do with their sleep schedule at times.
2 THEY SEEM AWAKE DURING THEIR USUAL NAP TIME
If you are noticing your child is more awake and lively when they tend to go down for their nap, they may be ready to kick it completely. Yes, children do tend to go through sleep regressions. They also tend to fight their exhaustion once they realize the time they could have playing with toys, their friends and their parents/caretakers. But, they may actually be naturally weaning their naps. Keep and eye and ear out for some solid signs that they may be ready to stop their naps completely. If they are wide awake during the times they usually go down, they may be ready to stop napping.
1 YOU END UP NATURALLY PASSING THROUGH
Even if you notice your child is wide awake during their usual nap and bed times, there are occasions where the parent and/or caretaker don't actually know that they're passing through their sleep! This is a clear indicator that they're done having their naps. If the parent and/or caretake don't notice it's nap time, then maybe it's now not. So, it's ok if the child naturally weans without you making a big fuss and/or decision towards it. It could just simply be time to accept the change.