You asked

Why does my toddler refuse to take naps and what can I do?

When a toddler refuses to take a nap, she is more than likely asserting her independence.
We’ve all seen it happen; you know your toddler needs a nap. She is cranky, rubbing her eyes, and yawning but yet she puts up a struggle to lie down and sleep. As a parent, this is very frustrating. However, you must understand that at this age, your toddler is learning that she is her own person and wants to call the shots. The battle to take a nap is her way of trying to take control

Additionally, a toddler has so much going on around them, they are afraid that if they take a nap they will miss something.

What can you do to make nap time less resistant?

First, you should not expect your child to sleep as much as she did a few months ago. Around 13 to 18 months of age, your toddler will only need one nap per day instead of two. Also, this is the time that she may begin getting up earlier in the morning so you should adjust the afternoon nap to a time that is suitable to when she wakes up and when she goes to bed.

Second, keep nap time routines consistent. Routines make toddlers feel secure and when a child goes through the same steps day after day, they quickly learn what is expected of them.
A couple of things to consider are location and ritual. Make sure your toddler naps in the same location every day. If she is normally in creche, try to follow the same routine at home.
Having a special stuffed animal or blanket that is only used at bedtime or naptime also helps to teach your child what is expected of them.

Third, whatever you do, avoid the battle. When your toddler refuses to nap, it can be very easy to get upset. When you put your child down for a nap give her a hug and kiss, tuck her in and exit the room. If she cries, resist the urge to go right back in the room. Allow some time to go by before you check on her. And, when you do go in to check on her, make it brief even if she continues to cry. Soothe her, tuck her back in and leave the room again.

If all else fails, not to worry. Not having a nap is not the end of the world. The best thing you can do is continue the routine and even if she doesn’t sleep, make sure to keep her in her naptime place for a set time. This down-time will not be as good for her as a nap but it’s the next best thing.

More questions

The best way for your child to sleep well is to develop a daily routine
If you can’t get your toddler to sleep through the night then it may be necessary to adjust his or her nap times during the day
Different children nap for different lengths of time at different times of the day but the most important factor is daily routine and consistency
There are many reasons you’re toddler may not be sleeping but also many simple solutions for this frustrating problem
When and how to make the transition from crib to bed
Benefits of having the right lighting in your little one’s room at bedtime
A guideline to knowing how much sleep your child needs and ensuring he or she is well rested
Great tips for making sleep sharing work for you and your baby
How to make sure your toddler is sleeping until the right time
There is no set time to move your child from the cot to a toddler bed although most children make the transition between 1½ to 3½ years of age.

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