"I Don't Wanna Nap!"

Make Naps a Snap

For the next couple of years, while your child phases out his naps, you should still give him the opportunity to rest. Try these strategies.

Don't call it a nap -- call it quiet time or rest time. That way, your toddler won't feel like he's being forced to sleep when he thinks he isn't tired. Tell him he has to stay in bed (or in his room) for a certain amount of time and do a quiet activity, such as coloring or looking at books. Even if he doesn't fall asleep, you'll both benefit from the break.

Set a soothing scene. Plan relaxing activities just before naptime to help your child wind down. Try to follow a routine that's similar to her bedtime rituals: Read a book (see "Soothing Stories for Anti-Nappers"), tuck her in with her favorite stuffed animal, or put on soft music.

Respect his schedule. Resist the urge to plan your toddler's nap around your errands. Instead, watch your child for signs of sleepiness. If he doesn't seem tired at his current naptime, consider switching it to a later hour. Just don't make it too late -- if you let your child sleep past 3 or 4 p.m., you may be in for a big bedtime battle.

Offer a choice. Your reluctant napper may be more agreeable if you give her some control over when she snoozes. When I ask my daughter the right question -- "Would you like to nap now or in five minutes?" -- she's less likely to start a power struggle.

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