image001This scene is all too familiar among parents, a tired cranky toddler showing all the signs that he or she needs a nap. They may throw fits and cry, while rubbing their eyes and yawning. Still, they fight sleep at all costs.

Two year olds are very caught up in their new exciting world. They tend to fight sleep only because of all the new things they are discovering and they don’t want to miss a single moment. They are also discovering their independence in the world and simply testing the waters with you. There are some easy solutions to regain control of naptime for your toddler and make sure they get the rest they need.

If Your Toddler Won’t Nap–What Do You Do?

The answer isn’t always the same for all babies and toddlers. While the majority of children nap at least twice daily until their first birthday, they tend to nap about once daily until they reach preschool age at 4 or 5 years old. Around 30% of children over 5 years old may still need daily naps. Because it is so hard to tell what age your toddler will stop taking naps, try to become tuned to the signs of daytime sleepiness in your child. Listed below are tips for you if your toddler won't nap:

1. Timing Is important

Once your child reaches the age of two, he or she is probably ready to transition to one nap daily. The importance is timing. Make sure this is around the mid-day time frame, preferably after lunch. This will give him or her rest after morning play and help them get through the rest of the busy day until bedtime.

2. Consistency Is Key

You need to have a consistent routine with toddlers in order for them to have the feeling of security. Keeping a consistent naptime ritual will help your toddler understand what happens during different times of the day. If you read a certain book at naptime, make sure you do that each day even if your schedule is busy. Keep naptime in the same place as bedtime; such as bed or playpen and make sure to send special naptime items to daycare.

3. Get Ready for Naptime with Routines

Certain routines can help prepare your toddler for sleep and trigger their understanding that it is time to settle down. Towards naptime, begin to “wind down” certain activities and only engage in things that are quiet. This will help to relax your child. Bring books, quiet music and calm games into the naptime ritual to help him or her prepare for their nap.

4. Teach Your Child to Fall Asleep by Themselves

Start with bedtime and put your child down to sleep when they are only drowsy and not fully asleep. Try not to rock and hold them until they fall asleep. This practice will help with your child falling asleep on their own more easily during the daytime. You can also learn more tips on making your kid to soothe himself to sleep here.

5. Approach Naptime with Ease but Don’t Give in to Battles

Calmly tell your child that it is naptime and offer a positive reward such as; “when you get up we can play some more.” Try not to argue with your toddler or show him or her that you are getting upset. An easy fix is to put your child to bed with a few books and keep the house quiet for an hour or so. They may not fully fall asleep, but will have had a needed rest period.

6. Keep Naptimes Low-key Around the House

When nap time approaches, make sure you keep yourself calm. If you show stress and anxiety to your toddler, then they will feel that energy and most likely be unable to fall asleep. Relax yourself and try a baby massage or some quiet music to calm the environment for sleep. Turn off the TV, keep meals light and get errands and busy work out of the way before naptime. Both of you will be able to relax and have some rest.

7. Make Naptime a Pleasant Time

The worst thing you can do for a toddler is use naps as discipline. Also, save some special favorite toys or blankets that they only get to use during naptime. This will help them become excited about naps instead of fearing them.

8. Set Aside a “Special” Place for Naps

If you have a lot of resistance at naptime about your toddler going to “bed.” You can try to have them pick their special nap spot somewhere quiet. Try fun things like making a fort, using a play tent or any quiet place in the house that your child feels comfortable in.

9. Be Reassuring

Your child may not want to go down for a nap because he or she may be afraid they might miss something important. Make sure you reassure your child that those things will still be there after naptime. Plan naps around a child’s favorite TV show and let them know they can watch their program when they wake up. If you have to leave a play date to have naptime, reassure them they can come play with their friends again.

Video--Toddler Parenting Tips: What to Do When Toddler Won't Nap

Here is one mom’s experience with toddler naps:

“I finally had to put limits on the naptime ritual and this actually worked. My 2 year old would grab a pile of 6 or 7 books and it would drag on and on and she wouldn’t go to sleep. I finally told her that she could choose 2 books. One that I would read before naptime and one more after she got in bed. After we were done reading the books, I would calmly tell her it was time to sleep and that after naptime would be playtime. It wasn’t easy for us the first couple of days. She would either throw a tantrum, or get up and leave her bed to play with her toys. The only option was to either shut the door and I placed a baby gate on the outside. She would stand at the door and cry. I would walk back to her room every 5 to 10 minutes and reinforce that it was naptime and she needed to be in her bed. For the first few days she would just cry the entire time at her door and didn’t take an actual nap. After that the crying got less and she actually went to bed and slept. It only took about a week and now we have a naptime routine that works and she takes her full naps with no issues. This took some work and patience, but the hard work paid off!”