Since my daughter turned three, everyone was telling me to drop that nap! My daughter was always late to drop all her previous naps, so I wanted her to keep it for two main reasons:
1- I wanted her to be ready
2- I wasn’t ready
When she hit 3.5yrs the first point came true- she was showing signs of dropping the nap. Miss E would either fight going down at all, or she would sleep for three hours or more. The long nap seemed like a gift- but what it would mean was that she took forever to fall asleep at night. Some nights it took over an hour for her to finally fall asleep and that was with numerous visits to her bedroom begging her to ‘settle down’ or sternly stating, “it’s sleepytime” over the monitor.
BUT- I wasn’t ready. How would I get all my jobs done during the day without it? Where would I squeeze in “my time” during the day? No nap- no way!
A close friend gave me a reason that finally encouraged me to give it up. She said, “Think about all the things you WILL be able to do during the day. Not having to fly home in the middle of the day for her nap is a bonus.” Ok I may be losing out in some areas, but having the freedom to go out and stay out sounded wonderful. I was ready to give it a go.
Whenever you change a child’s sleep situation, you need to be patient to allow for the body to adjust. For quite a few weeks, Miss E would be really tired during the day and she would even fall asleep in the car. I decided that on some days I would pop on a movie after lunch and let her snuggle her cuddly toy. This allowed me to have some time to myself and it gave her quiet time without the sleep. This really worked well for us.
Ok- occasionally I do offer that midday nap. I am very concerned about Miss E becoming ‘overtired’ so if I really feel that she is just not going to make it until bedtime without a meltdown – I limit the nap to 1 hour and I put her to bed later in the evening.
Since accepting that Miss E was getting older and saying ‘farewell’ to the nap, night times have improved ten fold.
Even though friends and my own expertise were telling me to do something, until I was ready to make that change, I felt it just wasn’t going to work.
Are you ready to drop that nap? To purchase a comprehensive guide to nap transitions, click here.