Dropping the nap... — The Bump
School-Aged Children

Dropping the nap...

I have a son with a 7/30/2008 birthday and we have recently decided that we will most likely be sending him to Kindergarten in the fall.  It was a very difficult decision and I'm worried about a few aspects.  One big one is that he still naps.  DH is a physician and is often not home from the hospital until 6 or later and leaves before the kids get up in the morning.  Because he wouldn't see the kids if I didn't keep them up a little later, they take naps.  DS does fine when he doesn't have a nap, but I was wondering how soon you other Moms transitioned to a more kindergarten-like routine before they started school.  I should also add, he goes to preschool 5 mornings a week.  Sorry this is so long and thanks in advance for your opinions and experiences.    
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Re: Dropping the nap...

  • I'm not sure I'd be much help. My dks all dropped their naps long before that. I've worked too, so their bedtime is generally 8pm, once activities are done. K does full day kindergarten and dropped her naps completely last April, she's done fine so far. Maybe cut the naps gradually shorter or alternate days? You have a long transitition time, 9 months makes a huge difference at that age and needing naps.

  • DS napped up until the day he started kindergarten.  It took him a good 2 weeks to adjust to his new schedule.  He will usually still nap when he's home with us on the weekend, or on a break from school.  So, we never tried to get him into a different routine before school started.
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  • Not sure about your school. but the one where i used to work still did nap time (about an hour) up until when they get back from christmas break. and even then still had the occasional quiet time break in the day
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  • My son, who also has a late birthday, stopped napping when he was about 3 1/2.  

    I have a friend, though, whose son continued napping right up until the summer before kindergarten.  She stopped naps when they were on vacation in early August and he went to school at the end of the month.  She had only really kept him napping because: a) he still rolled with it and b) it was convenient for her to have a break in the afternoon.  Was it hard on her son?  Yes.  Did he eventually adjust?  Of course.

    What if, for your 4 y/o, you had "quiet time" in the afternoon instead of an actual nap?  At first, this quiet period could be in his room.  As the other, presumably younger, children get used to the fact that their older brother is awake while they're napping, you can change to quiet time in the living room.  He could color, do puzzles, watch a video, whatever mellow activity he can do by himself that would allow him to chill for a while before the busy evening time when Daddy comes home.

    On another subject, as a mom of a son AND a daughter who have late birthdays close to the K cutoff, I have made this decision twice, and it is difficult.  We decided that my DD would start school "on time" even though she was only 4, and has always been nearly the youngest in her classes.  For DS, we decided it would be better if he waited a year.  My kids are currently in 7th and 2nd grade, so I have some data about what this looks like down the road in later grades.  One nice thing about waiting a year is that I can guarantee that there is really no drawback to it, unless there's some sort of social stigma to it within your community or family.  The way I looked at it was this:  If we wait a year, we'll never regret it.  If he goes on time, we might regret it.  With my daughter, I was really sure that she was ready, so it was less of a question.

    Just food for thought as you work through the rest of the preschool year!  FWIW, one of my son's best friends since K has a 7/16 birthday and is almost a year younger than my son.  He's a mature, savvy kid and he's done fine even though he's always been one of the youngest in the class.  So, even though there's a perception that boys are less mature and benefit more from waiting a year, that's not true for ALL 5 y/o boys!

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • my kids school did nap/rest time for the first 3/4 of kindergarten and their teacher told us they slept 90% of the time. We still did naps on weekends through December of their K year - they really needed them.

    One of my kids could still use a nap (and often falls asleep in the car en route home from school which makes a painful transition to dinner/homework/bath) but the upside is that they are quickly asleep at 8pm!

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  • My son will be five in about a week.  Sometimes he's tired enough to take one and sometimes he's not.  On the "not"days he does have quiet time in his room or the pre-kindergarten after school care program will have him lay quietly at nap time.

    I say let him nap at home if he's tired and then let him adjust to the no naps in K this August.

    Also, my friend's son has an August birthday and she did not make him wait a year and he's doing great.

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  • My DS quit taking naps at home a while back..She is in Kindergarten this year but they have nap time and she takes a nap there everyday but no naps at home during the weekend or on off days...She is doing perfectly fine.


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  • My younger DD will be 5 in March and gave up her nap on her own.  She is in a full day PreK this year, 5 days a week and they have a 1.5 hour quiet time.  DD doesn't sleep most days but will fall asleep from time to time.  The key for her is the down time, she has to lay on her cot quietly.  I know the teachers give the kids white boards to play on after a certain amount of time to keep them quiet as some of the kids do sleep.  At home, we have quiet time on the weekends.  Both of my kids (older DD is 6 1/2 and in kindy this year) need to be in their rooms playing quietly for the time (anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on how the day is going) and it does wonders.  They have some much needed alone, down time and it is enough to recharge them.  We do have days where we are out and about and skip this down time and they do fine.  My older DD's kindy class does do a 30 min brain break each afternoon, right after lunch and recess.  The kids bring in beach towels and rest on the carpet in the room - the room is dark and quiet.  I don't know that any of the kids actually sleep but its just a quiet time for all of them.  Our elementary actually does a brain break for all grades for about 30 mins after lunch and its just a quiet time of the day, in the classroom for the kids to recharge.  Over the summer, my kids will go to daycamp for 3 weeks (older one went last summer) and they do not have a nap there but again, they do some quiet games after lunch and the summer PreK program does slowly reduce the rest time amount over the summer so the kids are getting more used to not having that nap time.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • I just visited DS' future kindergarten and they nap for 30 min, which I am glad for because as of now, DS really still needs it.  

    Maybe you should Try to cut his nap down in the couple of weeks before school starts in the fall? 

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