My son was three when he stopped taking naps. I literally thought I would die! Nap time was my only “me time” during the day. I had gotten used to running around and getting things done or taking my own little nap with him. Suddenly “me time” was gone and I had to find a way to cope with this new schedule. At first I wasn’t ready to let go of nap time. Logan kicked and screamed and fought the whole way until finally one day I gave up. He really was done with this whole nap thing, even if Mommy wasn’t. During this battle, I kept thinking to myself, “He’s only three! He couldn’t possibly be ready to give up naps altogether, right?” Wrong.
Studies show that most kids begin giving up naptime around age 4, Logan was just a little early, however, some kids still need naps well into kindergarten. Every child is different, probably why there is no manual for this parenting thing. However, there are some signs that may indicate whether or not your child is ready to skip naptime.
If your child doesn’t have a meltdown after skipping his afternoon nap, that is usually a good sign that he is ready to stop. If he does nap, does he have a hard time going to sleep at his regular bedtime? This is also an indicator that it may be time to cut back on his naps, or at least move them a few hours earlier.
As your child gets older, try replacing naps with “quiet time” instead. That way they are still getting some time to relax and unwind, but they’re not up at all hours of the night either. Try reading stories together, or coloring in a coloring book, or even listening to some soft music for a little while. It may not be quite as good as a nap, but it still gives you a break from the chaos every once in a while!