Between 14:00 and 15:00 every day was Dads hour! After a full day of playing, eating, and arguing, my Son was ready to take a nap.
It was the second best moment of the day, behind his actual bedtime.
Then something happened that ripped away my time and severely limited my Netflix binge-watching sessions (and sometimes MY afternoon nap!). My 2-year-old Son stopped napping…
I was devastated! This was my rest time…this was the time I spent building my energy stores back up again for afternoon playtime. I’m too old to keep going all day!
So what do you do when your 2-year-old stops napping? Why have they stopped napping? What can you do about it? Should you do anything about it?
When it is time to stop a 2-year-old napping
Simply put, it is time for a 2-year-old to stop napping when they decide that they do not need their afternoon nap anymore!
2-year-old Children should be getting around 12-14 hours of sleep per day. That can be in one hit (at night) or it could be split between the nighttime and 1 or 2 daytime naps.
When your 2-year-old gets to the stage where they have stopped napping, there is not much that you can do about it.
This stage in their life also comes with a warning! When your 2-year-old stops taking their afternoon nap, you are just about to learn about the ‘Golden Hour’.
The Golden Hour
It is bad news I am afraid! The golden hour arrives 1 hour before your 2-year-olds usual bedtime. It is hell on earth.
You know when it is ‘golden hour’ because:
- Your Child is angry. More angry than usual.
- Clumsiness increases tenfold.
- There is always an argument.
- You find yourself searching for ways to make your Kid sleep in the afternoon again!
2 year old not napping anymore? It may be good news!
Progression is key! As much as you might want to sleep, it would be a waste of a life if we spent most of it sleeping, right?
Your 2-year-old is growing up, and part of that involves less sleep. Less sleep means they get to learn and develop quicker.
The main benefit that I felt when my Son stopped napping in the afternoon was that his nighttime sleep improved dramatically! That was great news for one tired Dad!
As Kids progress through life, they need less sleep. If they are sleeping more during the day, it means there is a potential that they need less sleep during the night. Bad news!
Look upon this moment in your life as a positive one, because it *could* mean better sleep at night for you too.
Reasons why your 2-year-old does not want to nap anymore
I have covered the main reason here already. Your Kid might not need a nap anymore because they simply do not need as much sleep. However, there may be other reasons!
Have any life-changing events happened?
It is common for a sibling to make an appearance around this time in a Childs life. Having a new Baby in the house can disrupt your Childs usual routine, and that is likely to cause some retaliation!
Has their bed been upgraded recently, have you moved home, changed Baby sitter? A change in circumstances may also disrupt the nap routine.
They do not want to miss anything
My Son once told me:
I don’t like sleeping, it is boring!
Although it is very true, sleeping is something that we all need, including ever energized 2-year-olds.
Kids love life, let’s not forget that each day, a 2-year-old will see something they have never seen before, and it is exciting. Going to sleep means they might miss out of something very important, and they begin to fight back! What they do not realize is that all they will miss is you sitting on the sofa watching television!
They are tired
As your 2-year-old grows, they will need less sleep. It could be that they are simply not tired enough to take a nap.
Why a 2-year-old might still need to nap
A 2-year-old will need to nap for 2 main reasons:
Growing fast is tiring
The growth rate of a 2-year-old is huge! Your little (or maybe not so little now) one will be growing around 2-3 inches per year. That is a lot of growth, right?
It takes a lot of energy and vast amounts of food to sustain this growth rate.
They cannot keep still
When my Son was 2, he rarely stopped moving, even when he slept! Kids burn so much energy when they are in their 3rd year, mainly through growing, but also through play!
I’m desperate, how can I get my 2-year-old to nap again?
I went through this exact same situation. Feeling like I had some of my afternoon taken away, I desperately wanted that time back again. All I wanted was 1 hour where I wasn’t trying to stop my Son from falling over, or trying to stop him climbing up to the knife drawer. I needed some mid-afternoon Dad time…
Spend some time relaxing your 2-year-old
2-year-olds are very energetic, they simply do not stop! It is a difficult task to expect your Kid to stop playing and sleep at the drop of a hat. You need to build up to the point where they are going to be laying down in bed.
It is time to relax and chill out! Switch on some relaxing music, or set up his favorite night light. A night light is such an awesome tool to get your Kids to sleep!
Nap on the sofa
If your little one usually goes to bed for nap time, try napping on the sofa. This is also a good opportunity to get a nap yourself! Why not, you have earned it, right?
Wear them out
The more energy they burn, the more tired they will be, simple.
Take them out for a long walk in the morning. When they come back they will be both tired, and hungry. After a big lunch, they might be more inclined to lay down and take a nap in the afternoon.
Be careful with what they eat and drink
Certain food and drinks are stimulants, including diet soda!
It goes without saying that you should limit your Childs intake of soda, and that includes the diet variety. Your Childs sleeping pattern will be affected by the stimulants that are included in soda.
Foods that contain a lot of sugar will also interfere with your Child sleeping pattern, and when the crash hits a few hours later they will also get angry!
Limit your Childs intake of food (and drink) that is high in sugar.
So there you have it, a full rundown of why your 2-year-old has stopped napping and what (if anything) you can do about it.
You should always remember that as a Child grows they will need less sleep. That is true until they hit the teenage years, and then all of a sudden they will need 25 hours of sleep every day! I can’t wait for that…
Ultimately, you should not force your child to sleep if they are not tired. Forcing your Child to sleep will only end up with a loss for the Parents. Not only will you spend a couple of hours every day arguing with them, but if you do manage to get them to sleep, they will get you back during the night, or even in the early morning!