The Need For Nap Time
Updated: Feb 1, 2021
I have a 3 year old who becomes a "miserable bear" by 5:30 without a nap but he is now fighting taking a nap. He has always been a great toddler sleeper with no fuss but I realize he is transitioning at this age. Any thoughts would be appreciated greatly.
It's good to hear from you. Your issues with your son are right on track for his age.
At this age he does still need an afternoon nap. In fact, I napped my sons through the age of 9. I home schooled so that made this possible. Now a nap doesn't have to include sleep to be effective. But laying down and doing something quiet like looking at books is a necessity. For at least an hour. You can experiment with the best time to catch his down cycle in the day. It may be right after eating lunch or around 3 in the afternoon. This may also have something to do with when his blood sugar drops. I'll write about this next week so be sure to catch it.
ALWAYS make sure you are consistent with, ASK, TELL, COMMAND and not asking, asking, asking. That only teaches a child to ignore you and believe you don't really mean what you say. For more on that get my book from the Sermon On The Mount store called, "The Balance of Loving Discipline". Consistent schedule also trains his body and mind to cycle down at the same time each day. Always be aware that most children wind up when they are tired, not down. So a wound up child is telling you they aren't getting enough rest. A rested child will be calmer. You must practice, practice, practice this until it becomes habit, so expect resistance for the first week. Just hold the line and soon it will become his habit to settle down at a certain time. Do you have a firm bedtime or do you allow him to decide? The latter practice also leaves a child over tired and wound up. ASK, TELL, COMMAND is essential for this as well but if you are consistent soon your child will lie down and go to sleep at your command whenever and wherever you are.