I’ve spent the past couple of weeks in denial, but I fear it may finally be time to accept that L no longer needs her afternoon nap (no matter how much I want her to!).
L is now 2 and a half, so I knew I was on borrowed time (M had given his up long ago by this age), but up until two weeks ago she was happily going to sleep for 2 hours every afternoon and still going to bed with no problems and sleeping right through till 7am (8am on weekends). I knew how lucky I was and I was desperate for it not to end, not yet. Then completely out of the blue it changed over night. I tried to ignore it, put it down to her being ill, but it was no use. I had to face reality and nap times are no more, I am officially in mourning.
If you want a heads up so you can recognise the signs yourself here are my top 5 ways you can tell your toddler is ready to say goodbye to naptime:
1.They tell you
L always went to bed happily. There may have been the odd resistance every now and then when she was too busy having fun, but generally she knew that after lunch it was time for a nap and she would go without any complaint. All of a sudden the very mention of a nap was met with a very loud ‘NO!” and lots of screaming and crying when I insisted.
2. It takes longer to get them to go to sleep than they actually nap for
In the past L would perhaps chatter away to herself or her teddies for a few minutes and then go quiet and off to sleep. Not anymore. She would demand the toilet the minute she got into bed, go to the toilet, do nothing, go to bed and immediately demand the toilet again. If refused she would happily scream ‘toilet’ at the top of her voice for an hour straight. By the time she did finally go to bed she would only have 30-40 minutes before it was time to get her up and do the school run. Which leads into point 3.
3. They wake up grumpy as hell
L always used to wake up happy. She may have wanted to lay in bed for another 10 minutes or so, but she was still happy. Not so anymore. After all the screaming and shouting and getting in and out of bed, she had finally done as asked and gone to sleep and I had the audacity to want her to get up? How dare I? Cue more screaming, shouting and crying, as well as running late picking my son up as having to struggle up the road with a stroppy toddler.
4. They protest at bedtime and/or don’t sleep through
Bedtime with L used to be a dream; bath, some milk, a couple of stories and a cuddle and she was off. By 7:10pm there wouldn’t be a sound from her room till morning (unless she was ill). This last couple of weeks bedtime was even worse than nap time for the constant demands for the toilet and despite her not having a nightlight she was still get out of bed and start crashing and banging her toys in protest. Some nights this went on for hours.
5. When they do miss a nap they cope just fine
I went out for coffee with friends a few weeks ago and the only time everyone could get together was in the afternoon, when L usually had her nap. I hadn’t seen any of them in a long time so I decided we’d give it a go and just leave early if L
started trashing the place got tired. She was fine, no hint of needing a sleep at all. I should really have known then but I was far too attached to that nap time.
Writing all this down, it’s amazing that I stayed in denial for two whole weeks; the truth was staring me in the face but I just didn’t want to believe it.
All I can say is, if your child still naps, make the most of it! It’s over all to soon.
Is your little one ready to drop their nap? Are you in denial? If you’ve been through this yourself already do you have any other signs I might have missed?