Help! My 21-Month old will not nap anymore... — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Help! My 21-Month old will not nap anymore...

My son screams his lungs out and cries the whole time I put him down :(. I go in there every 20 min to reassure him i'm still here and it's of no help:(. We also keep the same bedtime routine he has at night. He only has one nap a day and when he used to sleep for it, it lasted 2 to 2.5 hours. But he hasn't napped in over a month now :('s so hard to hear him so angry and sad up in his room too. He ends up throwing tantrums the rest of his day because he's tired because of not napping too, making home life harder (sigh)

He is just fine at night and sleeps the whole time however. I think he's going through some major seperation anxiety though which could be why...yet that doesn't make sense why he blows off his nap and then doesn't do this the rest of the night (unless he is too tired to do it anyway haha).

I wonder what I can do to ease the separation anxiety? Any tips on getting him to actually sleep for his nap?!

On a interesting note, he falls asleep in the car to Norah Jones practically right away (Thank you Norah Jones). Should I play her during naps too?!
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Re: Help! My 21-Month old will not nap anymore...

  • Play the Norah jones! On repeat for hours!!

    Does he have a lovey or special toy to sleep with? That can be super helpful with separation anxiety and self soothing.

    And... During nap time I might cut out the checking on him every twenty minutes. The room is obviously baby-proofed, he is safe in there! It may be that he knows you'll come back in if he cries and makes a big fuss.

    what has worked for me is leaving the room and picking a time when nap time is allowed to be over. If she's still asleep at that time, great! She can sleep as long as she likes! If not, I still don't come to get her until that time. (Obviously using a monitor to make sure she's ok in there.) start small-one hour or so. Then, slowly work your way up to what works best for you. When I leave the room I'm careful to say "see you when nap time's done!" Not, "see you when you get up!" That reinforces that she's not in charge of when nap time is done. Most days, she naps great. But I've noticed that if I let her get up when she wakes up early from her nap, she starts getting up earlier and earlier. If I keep with the 2:00 time, even if she's awake earlier than that, she tends to nap better overall.

    It is hard to listen to them cry, but if it leads to better sleep, he will be a much happier kid overall!

    i would also recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
  • Thanks for the book tip! Will try! 

    He does have a teddy bear he sleeps with every nap and every night:) and special blankies he loves to snuggle too. And as far as your sleep routine goes, i do the same things as you do! Ahhh so interesting how our little ones like to mess with their sleep schedules huh? Even if they're predictable and the same each day mostly! 

    So, @Squirtgun my question is, do you not go up there at all when you hear her crying and just let her cry it out? You don't think I should go in and reassure him every 10 min or something (when he's still crying anyway) to let him know mommy is here? I have done that lately but like you said, it's so hard to listen to them cry and then have them crabby the rest of the day because they cried most of their nap away :P 
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  • Well, the checking back in thing works really well for some kids, and really badly for others. Some kids need that reassurance, and then they go to sleep before you have time to check on them a second time (my friend's kid is like that.) Some kids need to just work it out for themselves. The checking in becomes a way for them to keep themselves awake and become more and more mad each time. That's my daughter.
    I can recognize her cries to some extent, and will go in if it sounds like something is really wrong. (Also, if she starts shouting "stuck" then it usually means that babydoll is stuck between her mattress and the bed). For the most part though, checking in just makes it worse! She realizes that if she hollers long enough, I'll come back in. So, instead of trying to put herself to sleep, she's trying to get me to come back in to her room.
    At first she'd cry for twenty to thirty minutes at nap time (even when she was doing really well at bedtime) but that only lasted a week or so. And, it does get worse before it gets better. The yelling and getting you to come back has worked, so they're confused why it isn't working anymore, and they try harder!
    She very occasionally has an off day with napping now, and usually it's when we messed with her routine or schedule the day before for some reason. Consistency really seems to be key for her.
    Hope he starts napping better!!
    That book does have a lot of really good information by age group as well as overall, so hopefully it will help you as well!
  • I would not go back in if your LO is crying.
  • I do think @Squirtgun is right, going in works for others and some it makes it worse! I have been now going back in every ten-fifteen min til my son falls asleep to show him i'm not going to 'leave', and it comforts him i'm finding and he had a great nap today! Yay :D 
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  • We have a clock with a stop light on it, red=stay in bed, yellow= play in the room, green= can come out of the room.  worked well when we added baby #2
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