How To Deal With A Child That Won’t Nap

by Jackson Sawa
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As a parent, you know that sleeping is essential for your child’s growth and development. At such a young age, children typically need far more than a good night’s rest to get them through the day.

Naps not only help keep parents sane but are critical to a child’s well-being. As described by the law offices of Larry R. Williams, fatigue is one of the primary causes of most accidents for adults, so it’s easy to understand how detrimental a lack of sleep can be to such a young body and mind. However, just because children need sleep doesn’t mean that they want it.

Every child is different in this department, with some going down for a nap with ease while others fight tooth and nail to stay awake. So, what do you do when your child refuses to nap? Here are some basic tricks and tips to maybe fool your grouchy little one into a midday nap.

child won't nap

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Keep a Consistent Nap Time Schedule

One of the main reasons children refuse to nap is because their sleep schedule is all over the place. Children thrive on routine, so it’s important to establish a consistent nap time schedule.

As noted by The Sleep Doctor, there is no magical time of the day that all children should nap, so it is up to the guardian to pick a time that works best for their child and stick to it.

This will help your child’s body adjust and signal to their brain that it’s time to rest. Moreover, a designated nap time will decrease the chance of their daily nap coming as a surprise and “ruining” whatever good time they are having.

Create a Calm and Relaxing Environment

As for most things with children, the environment they are in affects everything. Their environment can help influence their energy levels, mood, and more, and definitely has an impact on their sleep.

Therefore, it’s essential to create a relaxing environment for your child to nap in. The Mayo Clinic recommends turning off the lights, closing the blinds, and playing some soothing music to help control the environment.

After all, you can’t expect any child to willfully go to sleep when there is activity occurring around them or because a nap is preventing them from doing something else.

Tire Your Child Out

Believe it or not, a lot of young children refuse to nap because they aren’t tired enough. While it may seem like small children can only have so much energy in a day, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To increase your chances of successfully weaning your child out, be sure to engage them in plenty of physical activity throughout the day to help them expend some energy.

Take them for a walk, go to the playground, or play some games that require physical activity. This will help them feel more tired come nap time and increase the chances of them falling asleep.

Here is a list of easy physical activities to do with your child to wear your energetic baby out!

Experiment With “Quiet Time”

If your child absolutely refuses to nap, try introducing a “quiet time” instead. This can be a time when your child plays quietly in their room, reads a book, or listens to soothing music.

While they may not be sleeping, this quiet time will still give them a chance to rest and recharge.

If they would prefer to have you in the room with them, try joining them during this quiet time.

Experiment with different ways to relax together and maybe they will even find themselves falling asleep!

Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that you might be able to enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet yourself!

Dealing with a child that refuses to nap can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Thankfully, there are ways to help make sure your growing baby gets the sleep they need.

Remember, every child is different, and what works for one child may not work for another. Keep trying and find a routine that works best for you and your child.


  • Jackson Sawa

    Jackson Sawa contributes as a writer for DuBois Law Group, covering a number of legal topics including the health and safety of children. When he isn’t at his computer, you can usually find him outside or researching something that only he finds interesting.

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