What Ever Happened to Nap Time?

Recently, a participant in the Parenting with Positive Guidance Ecourse asked for a bit of advice.  Her children had suddenly stopped napping and everyone was suffering from the consequences.  Tired, grumpy kids.  Frazzled, grumpy mom.  What do you do?

It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking you can “make” the kids keep napping, but sleep isn’t something you can enforce, and really, isn’t something kids can always willfully choose.  It’s a losing battle.  You can, however, set boundaries for a quiet time and establish routines for how the time will be spent.

Quiet time is a great opportunity for Mom to catch a much-needed break while the kids get a chance to unwind.  Everybody hits the reset button.  And usually, if a child really does need it, quiet time creates the perfect invitation for sleep (without the fight).  Another bonus: quiet time also gives kids a chance to build self-mastery and executive functions as they play independently.

How do you make the transition from nap time to quiet time?

First off, it helps to determine your expectations and start gradually.  Here are some fantastic examples of how to do just that:

Establishing Quiet Time {Toddler Approved}

Quiet Time 1,2,3 {No Time for Flashcards}


Once you’ve established a routine, you’ll want to have engaging, quiet activities to offer.  Check out these creative ideas:

Here are 13 quiet activities from the Quirky Mommas at Kids Activities Blog.

Get ideas for Busy Bags from Play Create Explore as well as Second Story Window.

Audio Books area  great quiet time activity!  My almost 6 year old sat and colored for nearly 2 hours as he listened to a chapter book!  Find wonderful ideas and quick links from Steph at Modern Parents Messy Kids to get you started.

Whether it’s creating an invitation for a child who’s stopped napping, a way to keep from disturbing younger siblings who are sleeping, or just a much needed reprieve during the day, quiet time may be just the thing to smooth out your daily routine.

How do you establish quiet time?

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Filed under Child Development & DAP, Positive Guidance and Social Skills, Uncategorized

16 Responses to What Ever Happened to Nap Time?

  1. Sara Newton

    My daughter stopped napping at 23m. It was tough but she’s never been a great sleeper. I set up a quiet time each day, including story books and cuddly toys to role play with in her bed, but, for six months, she resisted it. We were lucky to get half an hour in a 13 hour day. She’s a good, kind, fun girl but her behaviour had its challenges, all due to sleep deprivation. Then a few weeks ago, we went to her room to start our quiet time with books, and she said, let me make you a bed and put you to bed. I set up all her duvets and all our pillows and hers, on the floor, to make a snuggly den. We settled down together and chatted. She loved it. It brought out lots of gorgeous, ‘I love you’s’ and so on but she still seemed ‘sparky’. I told her I was going to get some quiet time too and that, as usual, I would come up and get her in half an hour, and to get some quiet time or sleep if she wants to. I left a few small books and shut the door. Three hours later, she woke up! She’s done the same every day for over two weeks. Now she says, ‘Ooh, mummy, is it quiet time?’! Its put her bed time out of sync, but my husband and I have decided to go with the flow as she has a lot of catching up to do. I’ve always told her it is important to get quiet/down time each day, just like the Spanish have a siesta, and I encourage her to build that in to her life skills as she is naturally hyper and I don’t want her to burn herself out like i can do! So far, so good. She’s proven she likes sleep, she recognises when she wants to sleep and she can get herself to sleep. Its improved her mood and behaviour unquestionably and all the techniques I was employing to make a peaceful household are null and void. She’s a joy to be around. Hallelujah!

    • So glad you found a solution! I had a similar situation with my youngest. He quit napping early, but I still put him in his bed with some books and small toys as a regular part of our routine. Sometimes he’d sleep, sometimes he wouldn’t. But at least I knew he had the opportunity to unwind — and I did as well! Sometimes I wonder if the time we spend reading, snuggling, and connecting does as much for everyone’s mood as the actual sleep does!

  2. Thanks for including my post Amanda! Love all the other resources you shared too. I just shared your post on my Facebook page.

    • notjustcute

      It’s a great resource, Kristina. Thanks for putting it out there. And thanks for the facebook love!

  3. I always insist the kids in my care have a quiet time. I use either music or a kitchen timer to mark the time. (some kids don’t want to listen to music) It really does make a difference in everyone’s mood. Did you know babies & toddlers use quiet alone time to practice verbal skills?

    • notjustcute

      Good point to bring up! Often, when babies are alone in their beds they do a lot of happy babbling that helps with language development. Sometimes we rush in to pick them up, when they are actually benefiting greatly from this quiet time.

  4. Thanks for this post. My hubby and I have been wondering what to do, b/c we know she will soon lose her naptime at 3.25 yrs old….she naps inconsistently at daycare and occasionally is unable to nap at home on the weekend. These are great ideas!!

  5. So, I feel a little sheepish since I didn’t end up even getting through one chapter of “Mind in the Making”. I really did mean to read it all and follow along, and now it’s back in the library . . . it was fascinating but (at this time) not particularly engaging enough for me with everything else I have going on. Classes and ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Graceling’ taking precedent :)

    We had to do away with nap time around here. It wasn’t so gradual for us. He was starting to put up slight resistance, but conking out for hours after only one or two books. The problem then was that we would put him to bed (8-8:30ish) and he wouldn’t got to sleep until 11pm or later- BUT still wake up at the same time (6-6:30ish). Our mornings weren’t exactly a joy- nor our evenings. I tried waking him up earlier from his nap- but that resulted in a super cranky boy that still struggled to go to sleep at bedtime. We tried each thing for at least 2 weeks. He was also waking up constantly at night, through ALL of this.

    • notjustcute

      I can totally relate. There came a time when we were trying to keep nap time going, but found that it was only making bed time drag on for hours. I think it’s another reason to use a quiet time routine, to give them that downtime, even when sleeping may not be needed anymore.

  6. So, nap time for us had to go. But I knew it couldn’t be without a plan. Knowing my lazy self, once the going got tough I’d resort to netflix. And once I allow it, there’d be no going back (he’s persistent). So I thought about what usually I try to do during nap time (a household chore, read my scriptures, dinner prep, email check) and came up with a quiet time routine. We both love it. First is ‘Quiet playing with toys’ so that I can have a little time with Little Brother and put him down for nap. We do ‘Mommy’s helper’ and he helps me with my chore. I have found that he is actually helpful and I really enjoy not doing the chores all by myself. Then “Listening to Books”- this is where he listens to books on CD or audiobooks and I get to read my scriptures in peace and mostly quiet. Then we do “reading with Mom’ and we read a couple books together. Then ‘play a game with mom’ and we do a ‘game’. Since I naturally and enthusiastically do literacy, this is where I get to be a litte more intentional about Math. Last is ‘cooking in the kitchen’- which is when we do dinner prep. I typed it up and added clip art so he could ‘read’ it. . . . It has been awesome.

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  8. Pingback: Transitioning to Quiet Time | Bloomington Area Birth Services

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