When Should Kids Stop Taking Naps


 Like so many things in life, there isn’t a “right” answer to, “When should my child stop taking naps?”

In some ways I feel like the grass is always greener on the other side. If your child still naps then you get things done and you have time to yourself. You can shower alone! Pee, alone! The possibilities are endless. Unless, of course, those possibilities involve actually leaving your house. In which case you are a prisoner in your own home. Unable to get the groceries you need, the coffee you REALLY need, or get the errands done that you weren’t able to do before nap – when you were at the doctor and then at story time or the park so they would be tired enough to actually take the nap you know is necessary.

I know we are approaching the end of naptime. Some days my son doesn’t nap and then acts like a lunatic by 5 p.m.

When Should Kids Stop Taking Naps

The problem with this is my husband gets home so late. If I just put my son to bed early then he doesn’t see his dad and this is hard on everyone. My husband works really long days. He leaves for work at 5:30 a.m. and gets home at 7:30 p.m. The hour or two we have together as a family at night is the best part of our day. Giving that time up is not a good option on a regular basis.

So by the time all of the crying, fighting, and arguing takes place trying to get my son to take the nap, I have about 45 minutes before I have to wake him up. If I let him sleep too late he won’t go to bed until 10:30 p.m. Which unfortunately does not mean he will sleep in tomorrow, it just means he will wake up crabby from a nap and maybe still not go to bed without a fight later that night.

On the best days he will fall asleep on the drive home from whatever fun we had that morning. He is good at transferring from the car to his bed and not waking, so I try to make this happen every day. It takes some planning. I have to get him tired enough by playing him very hard,(I love this part). I try to pack lunches so we can stay out later. He has a potty break right before we get in the car and I typically pack comfy pants he can change into – I wouldn’t want to nap in jeans, would you? The final trick, we listen to a particular song on repeat for the entire drive home. It often makes me want to nap too.

I’m not sure what the right answer is. I think that one of the things I have learned as a parent is, it all changes so fast. If you are in the midst of a rough patch, don’t worry it won’t last long. If you are in the midst of good sleeping or good eating or good behavior, enjoy the hell out of it. It won’t last long either.

So for now I guess the answer is to try to feel lucky. To enjoy the days he naps well. To enjoy the extra time my husband and I get with each other on the nights our son has to go to bed early. Even if that means the crying and unreasonable mess I dealt with waiting to put him to bed. I will make the most of the days he takes a good nap and squeeze in as much as I can get done.

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