Have a Happy Napper

Ease Him Into Rest Time

The napping can't go on forever, but resting can--at least until everyone is in school. Encourage your child to spend 30 to 40 minutes alone in his room, flipping through books, coloring, or playing quietly.

Most children give up naps sometime between when they're 2 1/2 and 5 years of age. "But what's more important than the averages and the age of the child is how your child is acting and feeling without a nap," says Dr. Mindell. If he's sleeping through the night without a nap, managing to stay awake when you go for a drive, and not having more tantrums than usual in the late afternoon or early evening, he's ready. If he falls asleep every other day at rest time, that's okay too. The transition from naptime to rest time offers a choice that many children enjoy: They get to make the grown-up decision to sleep or play quietly. And you still get a break.

Originally published in the August 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

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