Pre-School and Daycare

Almost 4 year old - drop nap vs bedtime

My younger DD will be 4 in March.  We are having some issues with bedtime - she is just not tired at bedtime (typically 7pm) and really fights it - she doesn't act out or cry or anything but she just lays in bed not sleeping and gets up to potty or ask questions about every 30 mins.  Never fights getting back into bed or anything but it can last up to 2 hours some nights and then she is a bear when we need to wake her at 6:15 the next morning so we can get to school/work.

We have tried dropping her nap last week at school and she did really well for the most and would go right to sleep and sleep through the night but sometimes would wake up a bit early to go potty and not always go back to sleep but I can live with that.

The big issue was the weekend - Sat we didn't do a nap as we had play tickets and wanted to see how she did.  SHe was great until around 4 when she totally lost it and then took herself to her room and went to sleep.  I woke her after about 30 mins and she was fine the rest of the day and went right to sleep.  Sunday we decided to let her sleep for 1 hour in the hopes of avoiding a late afternoon melt down - no such luck, she had a short meltdown at around 4 pm but then was great abotu 15 mins later and for the rest of the day but again, had a very hard time going to sleep - tucked in at 7pm and up until at least 8:30.  We had to wake her this morning and she was happy but moved very, very slow.

My question - how would you handle this?

1. Move bedtime back to 7:30 which we are in the process of doing with our older DD and either let her nap for 30 mins or not at all.

2. Drop the nap and keep the 7pm bedtime and just deal with the tantrums until she adjusts - we would still have a "quiet time" in the middle of the day as she has this at school and we try to keep the weekends similair to what is done at school.

3.  Other options I am not thinking about???

Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 

Re: Almost 4 year old - drop nap vs bedtime

  • My 3.5 year old hasn't napped regularly for more than a year fpr this very reason.  If he naps at all, it pushes his already late asleep time back and I just can't handle it.  He needs to be up for school by 7 am on weekdays, and he needs or takes by force, 10 hours of sleep per day.  If he takes an hour nap, he'll either go to bed an hour late or wake up in the middle of the night or worse, be very difficult to wake for school, starting a vicious cycle.

    I try not to let or encourage a nap at all and for the most part, it works well.  He's occassionally tired before his actual bedtime, but we deal with that happily knowing it means he'll actually go to sleep at a reasonable time.

    If I were you, I'd drop the nap and hope for the best.  She may need it once it a while to recharge after a really tough day but make it NOT the norm.


  • I've been in this situation with both my boys and in both case I forced the end of naps.  Killed me to do it but the 9-10pm bedtimes were not a good trade off.  It took my oldest a good solid week and my youngest closer to 3 weeks to get into a good routine.  My youngest still has times that he falls asleep around 3 or so and then is up late but he's not quite 3 yet.

    What I did was drop the nap, have snack at 2:30ish, then read books, have a very, very quiet activity until about 4 then I started dinner and they watched TV (which was a treat and since they were tired anyway they were good to just sit there).  In the beginning my youngest would sometimes fall asleep during TV time but he usually slept until about 9 got up for 30min- 1hr and went back to sleep.  Also during the transition we moved bedtime up 30 min. and then adjusted it once they could hold it together a little better.

    Think back to the transition from 2 naps to 1 and how you handled that and how your daughter responsed.  For us dropping the nap and adjusting bedtime was very similar to dropping to one nap.

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  • I hear ya - this can be so tricky and we have been dealing with the same thing with our 4 year old.  If she doesn't nap she's asleep by 7:30 max and doesn't fight it - but sometimes she is overtired by this time and it can take her a bit to fall asleep.  However, if we have her nap - even just a half hour - she is up to 8:30-9 and it's brutal because she gets out of bed, requests water or has to go to the bathroom, etc. etc. etc.  

    I say just drop the nap and know that there are going to be a few a hours in the late afternoon that might be tricky.  DD goes through a cranky period with possible meltdowns from 4-6 :-/  put we still do some kind of quiet time at that point where she will rest, look at books, color or watch some t.v.


    Some days are tough but it's worth the early bedtime!  Good luck to you! 

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