Toddlers and naps go together like pillows and blankets. Except when they don’t! Some days, your toddler won’t want to nap at all. Other days, they’ll sleep the afternoon away. While the inconsistency is frustrating, it’s not unusual at this age.

Why naps are important for toddlers

Because so much is going on in your toddler’s rapidly developing brain, they have a biological need to sleep during the day and at night. By age two, your toddler should sleep about 1.5 hours during the day and 10 to 12 hours at night. Most toddlers drop their morning nap by 18 months old but continue afternoon naps until around age five. Try to keep your toddler’s daily routine consistent, with bedtime and naptime happening at about the same time every day.

Why toddlers resist naps:

The reasons for toddler nap mutiny vary, but here are four reasons why your toddler might not want to take a nap:

  1. Not tired enough. Sometimes it’s simple: your kiddo didn’t do much and still has a lot of energy. They may fuss about resting, but then eventually fall asleep.
  2. Too excited. Your toddler might not want to nap because they don’t want to miss anything fun going on around them—try to take it as a compliment.
  3. Asserting their independence. As toddlers get older, they start to say no to everything—even things they love, like cookies, or things they need, like sleep.
  4. Getting ready to drop naps. Sleep needs vary from kid to kid. If your toddler routinely resists naps and doesn’t fall asleep during naptime, it may be a sign that they’re ready to give up on one or both of their naptimes.

How to get your toddler to nap:

Try out these five tactics when your toddler refuses to go down for a nap:

  1. Watch for sleepy signals. If your child rubs their eyes and gets cranky, they may need sleep.
  2. Stick to a naptime routine. Creating a nap routine can help cue your child to sleep. Try reading a book, darkening the room or playing soft music.
  3. Insist on quiet time. Even if your toddler doesn’t fall asleep, try to have quiet time.
  4. Try changing bedtime. If your child continually says no to naps, try putting them to bed a little later but waking up at the same time. This may make them more tired for the next day’s nap.
  5. Keep a regular schedule. Consistency helps set expectations and regulate your child’s biological clock.

Getting your toddler to take a nap can be an ongoing battle. Hopefully, these toddler nap tips will help. We’ve got more information on how to get through challenging times with your toddler.