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How to Get My Toddler to Nap More Than 30 Minutes

by Maggie McCormick

When your little one won't sleep for more than 30 minutes, it can turn you into a grump just as easily as it can turn him into a grump. At 3 years old, some kids are ready to give up their nap, but most will still need it. Work with your child to help him get the sleep he needs so everyone is happier.

Sleeping Conditions

The conditions of the room where your child is napping might be the problem. Her bedroom might be too bright or the sounds from outside too loud. You might have to recreate nighttime sleeping conditions. On the other hand, your little one might get antsy thinking about what you're doing in the other room and might nap just fine on the couch. Some children might get a kick out of taking a nap in an unusual place, such as in a fort under the table or in a nook behind the couch. Experiment to find what works best.

Changing the Timing

Nap time might be coming at a time when your child isn't sleepy. He might fall asleep for a while, but soon will be awake and ready to play. Something else might be waking him up, such as the need to go to the bathroom. Try pushing the timing of his nap back 30 to 60 minutes and see whether he sleeps longer.

Relaxing Together

Sometimes, when a child wakes up, she can't fall back asleep because she's too curious about what you're doing or thinks that you might be feeling just as lonely as she is. If you curl up next to her, she might be more likely to extend her nap. You won't be able to get anything done while she's napping, but you will get a well-deserved break of your own.

Quiet Time

In some cases, it's not so much that your child needs the sleep -- it's more about you needing the break from parenting. Try starting a "quiet time," when your child must stay in his room playing quietly until you say it's OK to come out. Because he has some control over his conditions, he might be more likely to sleep when he needs it.

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