When Do Kids Stop Napping: 5 Signs

Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by Lori Pace

Naps can be a great thing for exhausted parents and children. You get to take a break from running all day and your little one can have a nap. It’s a win/win situation. It’s a win-win situation. But, unfortunately, every parent’s journey ends with their toddler having enough of taking naps. Forcing or pushing them to take one is not going to help. There are signs that your kids should stop napping. It’s important to be aware of them.

It’s tempting to try to force them to take naps, but I know that it will cause a lot of frustration, tantrums, and unhappy children. It is better for you both to drop the nap.

If your child still needs a break and you feel they need it, you can substitute nap time for quiet time. Toddlers can spend an hour in their room reading or playing with toys. This will not only benefit the entire family but it will also allow him to sleep if he’s feeling particularly tired or has had trouble sleeping the night before. Raising a kid is not easy at all, right?

Here’s how to tell your kids to stop napping

Your kids has a hard time falling asleep for napping

If your toddler refuses to take a nap, it is usually because they are having a hard time getting down. This might not be the case for all children. Some kids don’t like napping and will give their parents a hard time. The process takes several weeks. It will become apparent that your child may have trouble falling asleep during naptime and will nap on certain days.

kids has a hard time falling asleep for napping

You shouldn’t expect everything to change overnight. You might find that your child is not wanting to nap on some days, while others may want one. Once children reach a point where they don’t feel tired enough to take a nap, they may want to sleep around 4:45 or 5:05 pm. This will help them fall asleep faster. To keep your child engaged, go outside or play a game during this time. You should prepare to change dinner and bedtime one hour ahead of time during this transition.

Your Toddler Will Not Go to Sleep at Their Usual Bedtime

Okay, let’s say your child takes a normal nap at his/her usual time. But you noticed something odd: They don’t want to go to bed at their regular time. If they refuse to go to sleep at their usual bedtime, it is an indication that they aren’t tired enough from taking a nap.

Sleep is controlled by two main processes: our circadian rhythm, which is our internal 24-hour clock, and our sleep pressure drive. The latter drive for sleep starts in the morning, and increases throughout the day, so by the evening our sleep pressure is so high that we can easily fall asleep and pay it off through the night. Any amount we pay off during the day (for example, with a nap) will increase our sleep pressure and make it harder to fall asleep.

Your Toddler is Irritable

Children who refuse to nap will be very upset if they are forced to. You can think of it like this: They’re having fun, you’re putting them in bed, turning off all the lights and telling them to go to sleep.

Your Toddler is Irritable

They will be more angry and moody if this happens. Children are naturally reactive to situations they don’t like. A child who is happy and calm without naps, or who remains awake for the whole nap time, might be able to skip them.

You can skip or stop napping if your kids are at least 5 years old

It’s not clear when your toddler will stop sleeping. Most children stop at age 3 or 5, but some children may start napping as early as 2. If they have older siblings, this could mean that they aren’t napping as much. If your child still naps by age 5, and you notice a change in their behavior, this could indicate that they are ready to stop.

The recommended total sleep time for children under 5 years is to include a daily nap. After 5 years, it is best that children sleep exclusively at night. Naps after 5 years old (if they seem like they really do need them) may be a sign of poor nighttime sleep quality. You want your child to sleep well at night after 5 years. If they take naps, it could be an indication that something is wrong with their nighttime sleep.

Your Toddler doesn’t seem tired at nap time

You’ll notice your child refusing to take naps when they are ready to stop. The toddler who has finished napping may be right at the point when the nap time would normally approach. They won’t be “revving up” or having a meltdown. They will be learning, playing, eating, and learning. 

You can skip the nap if you notice it happening. If your child is happy and fine without naps, it’s likely they don’t need them anymore. It is important to recognize these signs and foster stress-free approaches regarding sleep opportunities. This allows children to form positive associations with sleep that lasts well into adulthood.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!