Naptime and bedtime…every parent’s best friend and worst nightmare. Ha!
As much as we all love playing with our kids and seeing their beautiful faces all day, I think every parent can agree that we get excited for naptime and bedtime. It means we have a chance to rest ourselves, or get housework done, or watch our favorite tv show, etc. But sometimes it can be a battle to get our kids to actually go to sleep, and sometimes that can leave us questioning if it’s time to drop naps.
If your child is under the age of 4, chances are he/she still needs a nap (some 5 and 6 year old still nap too). Sleep is so important! Sleep is needed for our child’s growth and development, and improves their overall health and behavior, so getting a midday snooze, plus a good night time sleep is very important.
When my oldest daughter was around 3, it started to become a struggle to get her to rest during bedtime. It’d take her an hour to hour and a half to fall asleep at night , which left me wondering if she needed to drop her afternoon nap. But I knew in my gut that she wasn’t ready for that. Then I remembered a very important detail about sleep:
The brain produces a sleep chemical telling your child it’s time for bed. If you wait too long to put your child to bed, the brain will start to produce a chemical to give your child more energy to stay awake.
Aha! I was missing my window of opportunity! I was putting her to bed a little too late, her brain was producing the awake chemical and she was getting her “second wind” of energy. I moved her bedtime and naptime up 30 minutes, and she started falling asleep within 30 minutes of me putting her to bed (way better than the 1 ½ hours it had been taking her to fall asleep!)
So my #1 Sleep Tip for When Your Toddler is Fighting Naptime or Bedtime is to try moving their nap/bedtime up a little. I know it feels counterintuitive to put a child who appeared to not be tired to bed even earlier, but it’s important to take advantage of getting your child to sleep when the chemicals in their brains are helping too. Remember for young kids, more sleep = more sleep.
For more sleep tips read my other posts: