Naptime. It's such a precious, protected time in our house. Sadly, it does one day come to an end. We just reached this point with our 2-year old. She's on to bigger and better things (at least that's what I keep telling myself).
How Do You Know Naptime is Really Over?
For us, naptime is over when,
A.) The Child starts to lose interest in naptime, and it becomes a fight to get them to go to sleep
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B.) They have a hard time going to sleep at night
For us, our daughter would still take naps, but she wouldn't go to sleep at night until like 10 or 11 pm. So I fearfully faced my future and admitted to myself that naptimes are of the past. If you find yourself in the same boat, don't fret! You can still get some things done, it just takes a little planning.
What do to when your toddler stops taking naps
Here's some things we do to lessen the blow when our kids stop taking naps:
Introduce “Quiet Time”
This can be whatever you want it to be. For some parents, their kid still lays in their bed, but they can have books and do some quiet activities in their room during the time normally allotted for naps. Whether quiet time is in the bedroom or some other place in the house, I highly recommend making some “busy bags.” We have about a hundred of them now (get ideas in the Busy Bags section of my website), and they are great to have for on-the-go moments too!
Start a Toy Rotation
This one is huge. If you haven't already, start a toy rotation so that your kids stay entertained with their toys for a longer amount of time. You can get more ideas and info from my link, but the idea is that toys are played with, and then put away until another time in the future, so that kids don't get bored with their toys. We have also found that there are certain categories of toys that kids love playing with. When birthdays and holidays come up, we usually choose to add to one of these categories (babies, dress ups, kitchen items), rather than buying new toys that might not get played with. For example, this leaves us with enough play kitchen toys, that we can rotate through different items (pull out the pretend ice cream set and put away the sandwich sets, etc.). Dolls and pretend play are another category that our kids never get tired of. Here's their newest addition:
My girls got really excited about their Learning Resources Sprouts Style It Set, but like any other toy, would probably stop playing with it after a day or two. I pulled it out for them to play with today, and will probably throw it back into the toy rotation after tomorrow. We love Learning Resource stuff because the quality is always awesome and holds together really well. I'm hoping to add the Grow It set to our Outdoor Toys Rotation.
Give Them a Problem to Solve
Another way I have found to keep toddlers busy is to give them a problem to solve. Have them put all the silverware away from the dishwasher, or unload it entirely if they are old enough. My toddler LOVES washing dishes and could easily spend 20 minutes doing that if I let her. If they are old enough for kid's scissors you can give them a bunch of paper and let them cut to their heart's content! I also have a supply of various manipulatives and building sets for when I need them. I also like getting different stuff from Learning Resources for building fine motor skills and critical thinking. My 4-year old enjoyed this Mental Blox 360° 3-D Building Game today, and although my 2-year isn't quite old enough for the puzzles, she still enjoyed building stuff with them. You can see by the pictures below that my 4-year old was super focused on building the puzzle and finding the shapes. Her sister on the other hand…
Another good thing to think about when stocking your quiet time and learning supplies is to get something that will appeal to multiple age groups. I love that these 3D Building Blox Puzzles have 3 different skill levels depending on the color of the card (easy, medium, and hard).
Not all screen time is bad
Screen time can get a bad rap, but a lot of good can come from it. Find some educational apps to download on the iPad, or let the kids relax in front of a show. I'm surprised by how many good lessons my girls retain just from watching some Daniel Tiger 🙂
What Tips do YOU Have for someone whose toddler stops taking naps?