Nap time; all good things come to an end

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nap, nap time, sleep, toddler, sleeping, afternoon nap
Toddler Adams has stooped having an afternoon nap. Her hours in childcare may have to increase to keep the stress levels under control. Pic credit below.

I knew we would reach this point. I also knew, now Toddler Adams is three years of age, that it would be sooner rather than later. Yes, that’s correct, afternoon nap time has officially and quite suddenly come to an end.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I was collecting Elizabeth from a morning session at nursery. I told one of the mums I was taking her straight home for a nap. She told me I was “lucky” and that her own daughter, who is pretty much the same age as my toddler, no longer napped in the daytime.

Over the past week or so, Elizabeth has been making clear she will not sleep during the day. It hasn’t been particularly subtle either.

Oddly, she hasn’t resisted going down for a nap. Instead she has made repeated and successful attempts to escape her room and appeared at the bottom of the stairs with a beautiful, cheeky grin on her face.

Until now, nap time has proved very valuable. It’s when housework gets done. I also use some of it to earn money and get this blog written (the two activities essentially being closely linked).

I write in the present tense, but of course this will no longer be the case. These hours have, quite understandably, been claimed as Toddler Time.

Needless to say, I love taking Elizabeth for walks. I love baking with her, taking her swimming and so on. With the loss of afternoon nap time, however, I will have to reconfigure my domestic duties and my writing activities.

Until now she has only gone into nursery a few hours a week, mornings only. Having hit the age of three, she’d been bumped up to pre-school and I know that all her friends spend considerably longer in childcare, some of them almost full-time.

We will shortly receive 15 hours of Government-funded childcare. I think perhaps I have to accept the fact that her pre-school hours are going to have to increase.

I wouldn’t want her to go full-time, but a couple of days a week, maybe two and half days? Helen, our eldest daughter, went to pre-school for a similar number of hours each week. She still talks fondly of the experience

The alternative is that Elizabeth is at home and I get stressed trying to balance her needs, housework and my ability to earn money, income this family needs. I just don’t think that works for anyone.

Ultimately, I think the decision has already been made. I don’t feel guilt, but I do feel a bit sad. Nap time was one of the signs she was still small but she’s growing up and wants to explore the world. Spending time napping clearly stops her doing this!

So tell me, what would you do? Do you think two and bit days is too much in childcare for a three year old? How did nap time end for you?

Pic credit: Thejbird. Sourced from Flikr.com and reproduced under Creative Commons agreement.




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41 thoughts on “Nap time; all good things come to an end”

  1. Jasmin is just dropping her nap too but it gives us more freedom to have a clear day. Milin doesn’t nap so it puts us all on the same schedule. I also love that it means she goes to sleep quickly because she is so tired!

    1. Oh yes, we’re getting the tired t night thing now the nap has gone. Unfortunately it comes with an hour or so of grizzly behaviour beforehand !

  2. My Monkey is a similar age, 3 1/2 now and he too has stopped napping. He had been needing them less and perhaps only having one or 2 a week then one day after his nap he didn’t sleep that night until 10pm… he has never been awake that late before so we knew it was time. He now does 2 1/2 days at preschool and so far is absolutely loving it. My decision making process sounds similar to yours and I also concluded that being at preschool that extra time learning and having fun was infinitely preferable to being at home with me either getting stressed and cross, or him stuck in front of the TV or on the tablet so I can get things done when his sister sleeps. On the days he is home in the afternoon I do enjoy a bit of extra time with him though ? xx

    1. Yeah, we are thinking along the same lines. I think a few extra hours at pre-school will be beneficial for us all. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Tracey Abrahams

    My eldest was a gods gift when it came to napping. I had to wean him off his afternoon naps shortly before he started school (he was an october baby, so this was still before his 4th birthday). The youngest never really napped so I got use to doing housework at night!!

  4. Ah – I am on the verge of this with one of the children, the other one is just learning to sleep, and i use the time the same way whilst the older two are at school. Yesterday I got the toddler to sleep, invested ages trying to get baby to sleep at the same time, got baby to sleep and then 10 mins later toddler woke up #twinklytuesday

    1. Yeah, I think we’re in the same position. Difficult isn’t it? It’s different to when my eldest was the same age. I need this time so pre-school it is I think.

  5. Kim (sisterkin)

    Oh those precious nap-time hours. Isn’t amazing what you can get down in a short sapce of time without a toddler (or two in my case) hanging around? I do miss that time – but like you say pre-school makes up for it. But then you go through that weird phase when they are exhausted from pre-school but no longer want to nap. Parenting – it’s a journey! #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Oh it is a journey, and an interesting one at that! I can do a comprehensive clean of the house in about 45mins. you?

  6. Geeze mate…I MOURNED the end of nap time!!! It was heartbreaking but necessary if we were ever to get our daughter to sleep at night. She was barely 2. It is a ridiculous juggle for me at the moment…I feel I am struggling to do either parenting or blogging very well; two things I am wildly passionate about. Good luck! Do what you have to do. Elizabeth sounds loved; she will be fine! #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Thanks for your words of encouragement. She is indeed loved. Tricky though isn’t it, some decisions just have to be made for the good of the family, not solely the little one.

  7. Tricky for me as my daughter is in nursery 3 days a week as I work. She loves it and therefore I would say to you it’s not too much at all. She has friend, messy play,singing etc…it is good. It all depends how you feel. Perhaps you could start small and build it up if you all happy? I think you need your time to write and get your bits done and shouldn’t feel bad xx #thetruthabout

    1. Our eldest went three days a week for a considerable length of time. I think I just need to accept tshe’s getting older and needs stimulation elsewhere.

  8. I feel (most of) your pain! Both of mine (14 months apart) both slept 2&1/2-3 hours every afternoon, until recently. I knew it wouldn’t last, but the eldest did stop very abruptly, and it was a huge shock! He didn’t cut down the amount of sleep time or anything, he just refused one day, then never went back…! The house is a tip since that day, because he’s particularly demanding of my time, and I’d also nap in that time too, if I was exhausted, so I miss that option!
    I think it’s a perfectly reasonable amount of time you are sending your daughter to nursery, especially if you need that time for making an income! My eldest is starting a day and a half in January, and that’s just to give me a break!

  9. I must be really selfish because I was sad when naptimes went but I didn’t have the pressure of being self employed and using that time to work – for me it was just like a lunch break – sit down in peace with a hot cup of tea! I did like the fact that, as Kiran said, it brings the family back in line, you can have days out or playdates without having to worry about factoring in nap time. EJ does 17 hours a week split between child minder and preschool and he has a day with his dad, a morning with my mum and a day with me during the week so massive variety! He is happy too which helps. I think it will be weird for him when he starts school next year and has such similar days all week long! Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout John

    1. I won’t deny there has been an increase in screen time just recently. This is likely to last until the New Year when Elizabeth will hopefully start on a new pre-school regime.

  10. My little one stopped taking naps when she was a little over 2 years old. Funnily enough, when she started daycare for the first time about 6 months later, she was required to nap and will do so there with no problem! I don’t think 2 and a half days at daycare is too much, but I understand your reservations. I didn’t want mine to go at all, but it became necessary when I was no longer a stay at home mom. Now she goes for 6 hours five days a week while I work and stays an extra 2 hours on Wednesdays so I can blog and catch up on stuff around the house. As it turns out, she likes being there and gets social interaction with other children that I’d otherwise be unable to provide her with. I’m sure your little one will do just fine, and your sanity will thank you too!


    1. Well, I would rather increase her hours in childcare and spend stress-free time with her. That’s my real wish. I think childcare is the option.

  11. I am not looking forward to the day Leo stops napping, I will never have time to get the house work and any blogging done, unless I wait until the evening when I am too tired to do anything! Now your little girls isn’t sleeping in the day at least you know the days she is not in childcare you will have the whole day together and won’t have to worry about making sure she has a sleep. I do look forward to being able to go out for the day and not worry about having to get Leo to go to sleep in his pram while we are out..that is always such a battle! I am sure your little one will be fine a couple days a week in play school, I know children who are younger than 3 and they seem to really enjoy it xx #TwinklyTuesday

    1. I thikn she enjoys her time at pre-school. I’ve no issue with her going but it’s striking that balance so she isn’t there too much.

  12. At three I started mine in preschool, three days a week for three hours in the afternoon and I think it worked out perfectly. I got a little “me time” back and she loved it, but it wasn’t overwhelming. She was done with naps but still got tired out by afternoon and would take a little “rest” on the couch. Every kid is different of course, but I don’t think its too young at all.

    1. Yeah, I’ve introduced “film time” in the afternoons as she doesn’t nap but is exhasuted. She needs to rest. As for bedtime, they’re getting noisy! She gets very grumpy just before bed because she’s so tired.

  13. My son is 2.5 yo and already stopped napping a couple of months ago. It was a tricky time because, like you say, that was my housework and writing time, and, frankly, my much-needed rest time! But it’s been a while now and we’ve readjusted.

    Thankfully the nap-dropping coincided with my son being a little more willing to play independently so he allows me to get some cooking and housework done at least while he is awake and amusing himself. The writing is another story mind you. As soon as I get the laptop or tablet out he wants it! So I squeeze writing in during evenings and my work commute.

    I work two days a week so my son has gone to nursery since he was 9 months old. I can’t recommend it highly enough! He has learnt so much from going and is a really sociable and bright child thanks, in no small part, to the lovely ladies at nursery.

    When he turns 3 and we get the 15 hrs funding I will probably use it to put him in our local pre-school for mornings on my non-working days, and keep him in nursery full days when I’m at work. I don’t think this is too many hours as the following year he’ll be at school full time anyway so I figure it’s a good transition.

    Best of luck with your decision.

    1. Thanks Laura. Only problem is where Elizabeth’s birthday falls. She’ll have the best part of two years at pre-school before starting school. I’m happy to increase hours but not too much at this age.

  14. My 3 1/2 year old does 16 hours a week at nursery and absolutely loves it, she doesn’t really want to go home at the end of the day. I think thats a good thing??! She stopped napping at the end of my second pregnancy when she was just over 2, when I really needed her to have a nap so I could have a rest! Not looking forward to when my 18 month old stops his lunchtime naps #twinklytuesday

    1. Oh wow, what a time to stop napping! Elizabeth loves pre-school so that’s not an issue. It’s just getting the balance right.

  15. It’s certainly a sad day when nap time disappears. They seem like a dim and distant memory for me now! I don’t think you should feel at all guilty about putting her in to nursery though. I personally think it’s good for them, in many respects. Good luck!

  16. It’s a sad day when nap time goes. Also a distant memory for me and I think I’m more likely to take a nap than my daughter now!!

    I work in a nursery and if it’s any help, our children settle far better if they do more days. If I were you and your nursery has the facility, take your 15 hours over 2 and half days.

    If I had the choice again, I would certainly have done that for my daughter.

    Lovely post. #twinklytuesday

  17. Zach is three and goes to nursery two days a week but he’d be there full time if we didn’t have my wonderful mum to help out! He thrives at nursery and even if I was a sahm I would still send him! He also dropped his naptime recently – well it was a mixture of us and him as he started not falling asleep at night. Now have doesn’t nap and takes about five minutes to get to sleep. It does mean that he sometimes falls asleep in the car on the way home though which is a bit of a bum. Hope whatever you decide works for you all 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  18. Pingback: End of nap time; two weeks and many tantrums later | Dad Blog UKEnd of nap time; two weeks and many tantrums later - Dad Blog UK

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