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My 27 month old son won't sleep during designated nap time in the afternoon. We do the same sleep prep routine we do at night, 2 books in a rocking chair, in dim lighting, followed by tucking into bed in a dark room, and one softly sung song. He'll suck his thumb and lay quietly, but a minute or two later, whether we're in the room or not, he'll start talking, about everything. What happened during the day, things he remembers, he sings songs, and just lays, sits, or stands in bed until we come to let him out if his room. Up until this week he'd been napping for 1.5 to 3 hours per day, and his night time sleep hasn't changed, or his diet. He's tired, cranky, and acts out the rest of the day, so it's not like he's ready to give it up. What's going on, and what can we do to help him get his sleep?

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My eldest gave up naps around 15 months and our second (18m) only has about a half hour (usually in the car while we get her sister from school.) They get to a point where they might need it but they certainly don't want it. – James Snell Nov 2 '13 at 21:37

Children change their sleep schedules all the time. According to pediatric sleep expert Jodi Mindell, at this age you are looking for a total of about 12-13 hours of sleep. If your child is getting that at night, he may not be tired enough for a nap in the day.

Some possible options:

  • Keep naptime just as a rest period.
  • If he isn't napping, he may need an earlier bedtime.
  • If you want to encourage napping, you might shorten his night sleep.
  • Exposure to sunshine early in the day affects melatonin production, and exercise increases a need for rest. Try making sure he gets outside activity early in the day to help promote a need for nap.
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