No More Naps!


The day I dreaded has come. Actually, it came about 3 weeks ago. My darling 2 year old daughter, Sophia, has outgrown her need for a day time sleep.


It's ok. I will compose myself.


You see, one of the most wonderful things about babies is that they need a lot of sleep. I think God must have created it this way partly because he knows how much mothers of small children need rest themselves, and the best only way they get this is when their babies conk out. I have always loved Sophia's nap times because they are a chance for me to have some time "off" and recharge. But over time, she has needed less day sleep and so that time "off" has gotten less and less.

In the early months, it seemed like no sooner did my daughter wake up, then she needed to go down for another nap - and that's just as well, because I sure wasn't getting much sleep overnight at that stage and I needed the day sleeps too. Then at 3.5 months, she transitioned to just 3 naps at fairly predictable times of the day, totalling about 4-5 hours of day sleep. At 7 months, she made the next transition to two naps - one shorter one in the morning, followed by a longer one in the afternoon (about 3-4 hours total). This continued until around 12 months, when she started to transition to just one afternoon nap. This was the worst nap transition for us, as it took until she was around 14/15 months to settle properly into this and get a decent stretch of sleep out of her (1.5 to 2 hours).

And we were continuing blissfully in this one nap routine up until 3 weeks ago. I packed our mornings full of activities and/or errands that needed to get done, we would have lunch together, and then at 1:30pm (and not a second later if I had any say in the matter), I would put her to bed and she would fall asleep until around 3/3:30pm.


Until she didn't. It seemed to happen rather suddenly actually. She had had a cold (all three of us had) and so was sleeping a little more than usual - falling asleep quite quickly and waking up a bit later too. It was blissful. And then one day that was over, and she didn't fall asleep for an hour after I put her to bed (I could see on the video baby monitor). The following day it was an hour and a quarter. And the day after that, she didn't fall asleep at all. Thinking it was just a hiccup, I continued to put her down for her naps as usual for a week but started noticing a pattern - either she didn't fall asleep, or she eventually did but then would take an hour or more to go to sleep at bed time.

I had to face it - it looked like my little girl just didn't need so much sleep any more.


A big part of me knew that this day would come probably sooner than later, as Sophia has always been at the lower end of the sleep needs spectrum, transitioning earlier than average for all her nap transitions (the average age for this one is 3 years old - she's 9 months early!). So I had made a plan for when it happened - rest time. I decided I would continue to put her on her bed for a scheduled amount of time each day so that I could still have a rest myself (particularly needed with being currently pregnant and about to have a second child to look after). The only difference would be, I would give her some quiet activities to do on her bed instead of expecting her to go to sleep.


Rest time has actually turned out to be a raging success. Sophia loves looking at books and doing puzzles, so I decided that would be the primary focus of her rest time, and she would only be allowed to have access to her rest activities at that time to keep them novel and interesting for her. I have a box that I fill up with different books, puzzles and another activity (e.g. threading, her Magnedoodle, soft toys) each day and I give this to her after I set her up sitting on the bed. She isn't allowed to get off the bed until I come and get her but she doesn't seem to mind that. I keep an eye on her using the video baby monitor and she seems to be quite content playing quietly for between an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the day. As soon as she's looking bored I get her up so that she doesn't get into mischief or start to dislike her rest.

In fact, rest time has been such a success that Sophia will sometimes ask me if she can "read books and puzzles?" at other times of the day. It's really nice to have her exclaim in delight when I tell her it's time for her rest, rather than the reluctance she used to show when nap time rolled around.


And so something which I dreaded has actually turned out to be not so bad in the end. I feel like I can relax as soon as Sophia is set up in her room now, rather than how it used to be with feeling on edge until she fell asleep. She is also now falling asleep much more quickly at bed time - within 10 minutes or so - and sleeping right through until the morning (another clear sign she doesn't need that day sleep). And I think she is happier - it must have been hard to her to have to try to sleep when she wasn't tired and now she can do her beloved books and puzzles instead.

I can still get my rest in the afternoon too, although it isn't quite as long as it used to be when she slept. But that's ok. I'll take what I can get. :-)


  1. Hi Hannah,
    This took my memories back to the time when such a thing happened to my son. He outgrew the need for an afternoon nap, when he was around 3 or 4. For us, then it was suddenly, like 'what will we do'. Both my wife and I take an afternoon nap, since we leave for work in the evening, and return in the night. So, we just let our son play with toys, and be with my parents. That slowly became the norm. Every stage in the growth of a child, brings with it, its own challenges and changes.
    - Pradeep |

  2. I think she's been an amazing sleeper (all things considered) and good at sticking to routines that you've created for her. The rest time seems to work beautifully for you both and is adjustable around the new baby's sleep times - so really, it's come at a good time for you all.
    Hopefully she'll keep enjoying her quiet bedroom time and be able to transition into other quiet activities as she gets a bit older so that you still get some time to yourself. Good job on working out a great compromise. xxx

  3. You never cease to amaze me how well you have reared Sophia and I’m sure you will do just as well with your latest edition to the family. I am so looking forward to meeting Georgia Skye. See you soon. xx


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