Naptime Sleeptime Nightmares

Our golden rule was "never wake a sleeping baby". We stuck to it for years. Now I find myself reconsidering it with little Guy.

He is a good sleeper but lately his schedule is really out of sync (with mine). He wakes up at 5.30am with his father. I consider that to be too early but nothing we do seems to break that habit.

The problem I have starts in the evening when I try to put him to bed. He won't go to sleep and has been up until 9.30pm or even 10pm. We can't get anything done as every little noise causes him to dash out to see what is going on. If we ignore him he tries to sneak to his brother's room. If we put the safety gate across the hall he sits there and calls out "Mummy, mummy, mummy".

The culprit then is naptime. He naps for about two hours or sometimes longer. I cherish this time since it's when I get to have a rest, catch up on emails, sometimes sew, do housework and chat to Biggie if he is home.

My question is what would you prefer? A long afternoon nap and nighttime antics? or a crotchety, tired kid all afternoon who crashes at 6.30pm? Do you think if I did away with naps for a few days I could get him back into a nice nighttime rhythm, then reintroduce the naps? He is two months shy of his third birthday. In my opinion he still needs naps judging by his behavior which gets worse and worse as the day goes on. What do you think? I am getting very tired of this struggle each day.


  1. This is a hard one. How about aiming for a nap every second day? Both my kids were done with everyday naps by 2 and a half easy. I used to go for every second or third day.

    How did things go when you were going to the park in the morning?

    While I really enjoy having the kids asleep they do...sigh...grow out of it...aaaargh!

  2. I don't mind that my son goes to bed at 9:30 or 10:00. Sometimes I'd like it to be earlier (especially when I was pregnant and wanted to crash at 7!). I think it's almost a necessity in Japan with the weather, we can't fit our kids onto a western schedule. There's a reason kids stay up so late here. Sometimes, on Baachan days, my son takes no naps and he just gets nuts by the end of the day. That's not okay in my book.

  3. I have this exact problem if I let Devil Boy nap or not nap. With me the decision is a bit easier. He is a cranky nightmare nap or no nap. The nap only changes the degree of nightmare. I would much rather have him out of my hair early in the evening when I am tired and at my wits end. Yes, it is nice to have some time during the day, but I would rather have my evenings quiet.

    If he can make it his standard bedtime is 8 but no matter what time he goes to bed I am very lucky if he sleeps until 7. His sister sleeps from 8 until 7 in the a.m. and usually I have to drag her out of bed then to get ready for school.

    I am also consering lacing his juice with vodka to knock him out!

  4. Vodka sound good;) This is a hard one though. During the week,DD(4 yrs old) is still napping at daycare and only goes to bed after 9pm.Over the weekends she has no nap and is asleep by 7pm; but she needs quite time when she would usually nap and then we have no problem with grouchy moods.

  5. Thanks everyone ... we'll keep working on it.

  6. Hi Jacqui, in my experience sleep promotes sleep, so if they have long naps during the day the should still sleep the same at night. What you might find if you try to cut these out he will still do the same night pattern and just be extra grumpy..but hey every kid is different! It is very hard to break a pattern for these little creatures, but extra grumpy you dont need. My four year old still sometimes naps during the day, and my little girl 2 sleep a good few hours.
    Good luck x

  7. my daughter is 2.5 and we only have a nap every few days...and when she does, i make sure to wake her up by 4:30 (she goes to bed around 8)...eliminating naps all together was disasterous...WAY to cranky all the time... but if i let her sleep too long...bed time is such a chore... she has now started to wake herself up from naps around 4/4:30 so it is really working much as i hate to see my time dissapate in the afternoons...the down time in the evening is so important to me...others suggest "quiet time" instead of naps...but i haven't had much success with that... best wishes for finding something that works for you :)

  8. Mac is three in August. All her toddler life she's had a 2-3 hour sleep during the day (although recently this has cut back to about 1-2 hours) and we put her to bed at around 7/7.30pm each night. There have been some days where she has not had a nap during the day - makes no difference to her night time sleep times. She wakes between 5.30-6am each morning, but so do we, so its only a problem on the weekend when you want to sleep in (even until 7am!)

    Yes, a good run around the park does wonders. Goodness knows I'm no expert, but if I were you, I'd go for the early night time. Then you and Mr M have time for yourselves (or to sew!).

    He is probably getting old enough to start stretching himself (as is my Mac) although Mac's nighttime sleep never changes if she's had a nap or not.

  9. Thanks! as always the key seems to be for me to calm down and change my attitude! things are improving.


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