Our almost-3-year-old daughter has not been taking naps consistently for 5-6 weeks now; only about once a week. She has a toddler bed and remains confined to her room from 1-3 pm. She has become increasing destructive during nap time; my wife feels that this is because she is bored in a dark room. (She used to entertain herself to no end just talking to herself.) On most measures of whether she's ready to give up her naps she scores in the middle-of-the-road but more towards the ready, and lately she's stopped seeming tired after missing her nap.

We are tired of fighting with her over naptime (stay in bed, be quiet, don't kick things, don't tear up your room...), and expecting our second in a few weeks. So we are switching to a rest-oriented strategy, trying to design something that does not preclude naps. My wife and I have now had 2 debates about the correct light source to leave on during the rest/nap time. She feels that leaving the black-out curtains open is much more consistent with napping. I feel like leaving the black-out curtains closed (as we have been) and turning on the small lamp (maybe 40 watts at the far corner of the room from her bed).

I have two questions:

  1. Which light source is likely the better choice?

  2. Does this matter?

(To me it seems like the sun is far brighter and bluer at midday than the soft-white 40-watt lamp, and so it seems obvious that the 6ft x 30 inch open window would be less conducive to sleep, even though the sun never shines directly into the room. However, precisely speaking the brightness and spectrum apply to circadian rhythm setting rather than napping per se.)

  • Have you considered leaving the black-out curtains only partially open (like a 1 or 2 inch gap or even less)? You mention a 6ft window, which I guess means that your daughter can look out the window if the curtains are open. How do you two feel about the possibility that her activity during "naptime" includes looking out the window? Would that make her more excited or more restful? Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 8:37

2 Answers 2


For me personally, my 2 yr daughter has sadly no longer been taking naps consistently any more since we've been in lockdown. What I've done is put less pressure on the scheduled naps, encourage quiet time (if possible, where they sit on their bed with a book) instead, and if she falls asleep sometime during the afternoon/morning then so be it... On days she doesn't nap, I just shift her bedtime and put her to bed an hour earlier. I don't think lighting has anything to do with it, I think their routines are just not really valid anymore (we aren't stimulating them the same way they are used to in schools/daycares etc.). You know your child best, but I just found that putting less pressure on it, has made my life so much less stressful.

  • This is pretty similar to what we ended up doing.
    – Paul
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 15:52

I suggest dim lighting and a 30-60 minute power nap - perhaps the naps are too long? This should be precedded with a cup of strong tea or other caffinated beverage the child likes. Its never too early to learn how to nap properly.

  • 1
    Are you really suggesting giving caffeine to a 3yo?
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 13:00

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