We have a 3 year old who is wonderful (most of the time ;). Somedays, however, she will not settle down and take a nap. We wakeup, go to sleep and nap on the same schedule everyday. If she doesn't sleep in the afternoon, she is terrible to her little 2 yr old brother... and defiant to us... We've tried all sorts of stuff read in books, hinted by parents ect... (we always read books after lunch, before nap, after getting jammies on... very routine home)

She has begun to wiggle and spit and laugh at mama when she's trying to rock her. She yells in bed, bangs the walls, etc... OOOOOO! It really get's to you. We are patient, but need something else. Just looking for MORE IDEAS!

  • What exactly have you tried? How much exercise is she getting? If she doesn't get much physical activity, she probably will be restless at night. Also, what's her diet like?
    – user4080
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 5:04
  • @AlexGrady HI Alex, she eats well and balanced. No refined sugar, low wheat, home grown eggs / oatmeal breakfast, some fruit... She gets plenty of exercise. We live on a couple acres and they both run all day... Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 19:28

3 Answers 3


On the days when she won't take a nap, can you just leave her in her room for quiet time? When our daughter started to outgrow her afternoon naps, we allowed her to play quietly in her room for the time allotted for a nap. Sometimes she would end up sleeping, sometimes she would play and just watch the clock for the time to get up to arrive. But it at least allowed the rest of us some respite. And if her body was tired even though she was determined not to nap, the quiet time allowed her body to get its way and get some sleep.

  • Thanks for the comment. We have a shared bedroom currently with our 2 year old, since we live in a small house. We have debated doing this and how... she'll wake her bro up if she's left to her own "rest" time in there. It isn't quiet. hmmmmm.... maybe some books or some puzzles... Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 19:30
  • To this day I remember the daily toil that was nap time when I was in preschool. I did not need the sleep, so I ended up just laying there experimenting with what kinds of sounds I could make by clicking my tongue, and at times when I was extremely bored, pulling at my eye lashes (never to the point that it caused pain or damage though). Anyway, my point is that I whole-heartedly agree that not all children are best served with a nap time. Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 14:24
  • @JeffreyBlake lol. Ya, napping is boring! Some days she does no problem, others... well, what's the point. haha. Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 17:12
  • @JeffreyBlake that rest and downtime probably gave you the ability to sit and concentrate enough to run your own company. Even though you didn't sleep that quiet time has a positive impact.
    – Adam Heeg
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 11:15

My son gave up naps around age 3. It wasn't ideal. He just decided he didn't want to nap anymore. I think some of this stemmed from the fact that he saw his baby sister taking naps during the day and decided that naps were for babies. Every so often, like if he's sick, he'll take a nap.

Despite this, though, he still has a daily quiet time. It may involve playing quietly, coloring, looking at books, playing with Legos, but, more often than not, vegging out on the couch and watching an age-appropriate show or two. The deal is that he can't make a lot of noise (so as not to wake up his sister--in fact, he's not even allowed upstairs while she's sleeping), and he can't disturb us (Mom and Dad) as we frequently use that time to clean, check email, make phone calls, etc.

We've also rolled back his bedtime to ensure that he's getting plenty of sleep at night. He was becoming insanely cranky as the evening wore on and we finally explained to him that if he wasn't going to take a nap then he HAD to go to bed earlier to make sure he was getting enough sleep. He didn't like it at first, but he's settled in to the routine and generally falls asleep very quickly at night now (because he's exhausted!).

The other thing to consider is that this might just be a temporary power-struggle thing. She's 3--it's entirely possible that she's just flexing her 3-year-old muscles to see what she can get away with. I had a friend of mine whose daughter tried the same thing around age 3. She eventually went back to taking naps again a few months later on her own. In the meantime, I think if you try to force it, your daughter will just try to fight harder to avoid the nap. Giving her a quiet place (it doesn't have to be her bedroom) where she can sit alone and do something quietly until naptime is over might be your best option.

  • Thanks Meg. I have suggested this to my wife. However, she thinks the nap is essential, which I don't disagree with, but I don't like the force it... I am way more lenient with this type of stuff... but I am not there all day with then either like my wife is. I like the go to bed early deal if no nap. We'll see how that works. She is just rotten, around 5/6pm, to her little brother if she doesn't get a nap. He's a great napper! Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 17:11
  • "It wasn't ideal"?!?! Sorry to break it to you but kids do give up their nap....
    – Aitch
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 19:29
  • 2
    @Aitch: Of course it wasn't ideal. Lots of 3-year-olds are still napping--mine just didn't happen to be one of them. If I'd had my way, he would have continued to nap until he was 4. Not sure why this particular point illicited such a snarky response from you.
    – Meg Coates
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 3:15

Sleep is communicative. Our 3 years old is not a good napper, and we get remarks about it from school.

But during the week-ends, I can get a nap from him: I noticed that if I do nap myself, and the kid in beside me, and I tell him that he do not have to sleep, but he has to let me sleep, and get angry at him if he moves too much or makes noise, and ask him to leave our bed, then he will want to stay, and finally fall asleep.

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