My two year old daughter stopped taking naps at 18 months old. Any parent who just read that sentence is likely shaking their head in disbelief. But since my toddler acts as though she is the offspring of Richard Simmons and the Energizer Bunny, I had to take naps out of her repertoire to have any chance of getting her to sleep before midnight.
A recent study shows that ‘keeping kids active really does help them sleep.’ While this seems like common sense, many parents are enabling their kids to lead a sedentary lifestyle, opting for video and computer games over supervised outdoor play. There’s much to be said for tiring out your tot so he/she will welcome the chance to fall asleep at night. I went from having a child who would throw a screaming and crying fit at bedtime to one who happily nuzzles into her bed and falls asleep after one lullaby. By not putting her down for a daytime nap, and filling her day with physical activities she loves, she became a happy sleeper who ended up tacking on her nap onto her overnight sleep to get all of her required zzzz’s.
Want to keep your child’s nap in tact? Then fill their day with adventure. I opt to let my toddler walk around the entire zoo as opposed to being strapped into her stroller. I take her to the park nearly every day, and she has mastered her coordination skills on all of the equipment. And I’ve even been known to borrow the neighbor’s giant backyard trampoline so she can jump until her heart’s content and giggle her way into exhaustion. Sweet dreams!
-Beth Shea, Contributor