Toddler Nap Time

In this post, we talk about what we can do when our toddlers begin to refuse naps, how to stay on track, and how to find personalized tips for your toddler!

Let’s talk about toddler nap time! Naps become fewer and farther between as our little ones grow older. Typically, around 15 to 18 months of age, we have one naptime a day. When your little one begins to refuse naptime, we introduce what we call the “Nap Opportunity.”

What is a Nap Opportunity?

A Nap Opportunity is where we set aside time each day (preferably the same time each day) for the same amount of time. They can CRY, PLAY or SLEEP, but they have that time set aside where they are not stimulated for 2 hours in the afternoon.

In reality, they may not be able to get to sleep each day, which is okay.

What are the main things you should know about toddler nap time?

  • Consistency is Key!
    • Naps tend to be more consistent when nighttime is on track.
    • It is best to stay out for the whole nap opportunity and give them the space to CRY, PLAY or SLEEP.
    • If they do not sleep, bedtime stays at the same consistent time each evening.
      • We do not make up for lost sleep.
  • Stay Confident
    • At the start of a nap, we say “It is time for a nap. You will be the best napper ever! You will stay in your room until nap time is over, and I will come to get you.”
      • Say it with a confident face, and do just that!
      • This is your free time-use it! Sitting outside the door or being glued to the monitor won’t make them go to sleep any faster.
  • Sleep Environment
    • Safety first! Be sure your little one’s room is completely childproofed.
    • We recommend a dual-firmness crib mattress like the Sleep & Grow Crib Mattress. It features extra-firm support that infants need on one side and less firmness on the other side to provide the comfort that toddlers prefer so that it will grow with your baby and their nursery!
    • White noise machine on and loud enough to hear on the other side of the door.
      • Placement is 12-24 inches from the head of the bed.
    • The ideal room temperature is 68-72ºF.
    • We close the door at the start of nap time and open it 1.5-3 hours later.
      • The start of nap time begins at the same consistent time each day, not when they fall asleep.

Did you know?

  • When our toddlers hit big developmental milestones, this can often affect sleep. As a result, we will have an occasional week of interrupted sleep at nap time as your toddler reaches certain developmental milestones.
    • This will sort itself out!
    • Please look at our tips for a BIG milestone, which we typically see around age two, Language Explosion.
  • Toddlers learn and develop individually.
    • We’ve developed a tool to help assist with their specific design. The S.M.A.R.T Paradigm! What does it stand for?
      • Social, Movement, An Engineer, Rule Follower, and Touch.
    • Take the Toddler by Design quiz and find additional tips specific to your toddler’s design for sleep (and so much more).
    • Engineers’ designs often have the most challenging time sleeping during naps. So here is a peek into each design.
  • It can take a solid nine days to drop the morning nap.
    • This can be tricky, and we’re here to help navigate this new norm.
    • You can find the keys to success in our How to Drop the Morning Nap post.

For more tips, like managing, sleeping, feeding, tantrums, hitting/biting, the “no” stage, potty training, and so much more, check out the Moms on Call Toddler Online Video Course, which includes simple ways to communicate with your toddler in a way that brings out the best in them!