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What about some quiet, down-time instead of a nap after school? Maybe ease into the down-time as you ease out of the time they sleep?
But what do I know of preschoolers. I have just one 14-month old who's recently decided to not go to sleep at bedtime, too.

I'd replace the nap with quiet play time in their room and leave that out at night. So instead of supper, bath, milk, play and bed it's just supper, bath, milk and bed. That way instead of bedtime interrupting their play, it happens when they finish their milk and they'll probably be less wound up.

My other suggestion would be to replace playtime with story time. That's what we did with a five year old foster kid and it worked really well. End of the book = bed time. It's easy for them to understand. Also, it was my husband who read the book every night giving me 10 minutes of me time before I went in and said goodnight.

Hmmm. If they fall asleep that quickly for nap, I say they still need it (based on my own 3-year-old). I'd first adjust the evening routine... instead of TV, I recommend play (wears them out more; less passive). Make that Marko's time w/them - have him tickle/dance/chase/roughhouse with them a bit - it's a good Daddy thing. Then bath, books, bed. Bath and books help them wind down, play does the opposite.

My son just turned 3 a few weeks ago and takes an almost 1.5 hour nap each day. We're up early at 6:30, lunch at noon and then he goes down for a nap at 1:00, dinner at 6:30, play a little, then at 7:17, he goes to potty while I'm running his tubby, he plays in there for a while, then when he gets out we brush teeth, get in pjs, go downstairs and Daddy reads a couple of stories in family room then tickles, then we immediately go upstairs, read a few more stories, sing a song, say our prayers and I turn on his music and he falls asleep.

Now, I'd like to add that we just adopted this child about a month ago, so this is a brand new routine for him (he previously didn't go to bed until after 10:00 pm and also woke up pretty late). And I'd also like to add that sometimes we run late, or sometimes he doesn't go so easily. But, given that I'm a brand new first time mom to a 3 year old, I'm keeping the mid-day naps for as long as it takes for me to get used to this crazy new life!!! I say keep the naps, and figure out a nighttime routine that will encourage winding-down. Good luck!

okay - I meant 7:15, not 7:17 !!!!!!! Geesh, talk about a schedule nazi!

Hi Tertia.
I think you should not make them skip the nap. (1) It seems your children have a good routine down, don't mess with it. (2) If they need the nap it means they are tired, so if they skipped it they would be really cranky in the afternoon. (3) They are getting 11 hours of sleep every night, which is enough. (4) 9:30 pm is not that late to go to bed. (5) Finally, from personal experience: I tried to make Julia skip the nap when she was 2- it did not work at all and her pediatrician told me that while he can advise parents to set fixed wake-up and night sleep times, he never recommends messing with naps.
What works better for me is to wake Julia (now almost 3) up a little bit earlier in the morning (she still comes from a night's sleep, so she won't be cranky). ciao

My Triplets are 3.5 years old and EXACTLY the same. Your evening sounds just like mine - even hubby's comments. I prefer the nap (me-time) and I also find that they do go down better at night as they are not over tired. I think the solution is that we drink more wine and let the dads put the kids to bed!

I'm going to buck the trend and say skip the nap ... I traded afternoon naps for a much earlier bedtime and it is great. We do an afternoon quiet time, my daughter laying down on my bed and watching TV for an hour or so that gets me my break. But 7:30 bedtime is *Heaven*.

I vote to keep the nap, but the bedtime routine should change.

Sleeping for about 1.5 hrs at lunchtime shouldn't affect their night time sleep that much (just my opinion). Henry is just 3 months younger than your two and I still get a good 2-3 hours out of him during the day.

But I do think your bedtime routine needs help. I will second the earlier commenters that bath, books, bed is a winner combination. I think they are probably getting too worked up with the TV and playtime.

And even if you are a pushover, there's not much to argue about if it's bath, books, bed! Easy for you - no deviation allowed!

We got the wee/poo thing too for a while there but it seems to have lost his novelty once I decided he was having too much fun getting out of bed and going to the toilet. I started to make him do it in the dark, or just a dim light. With no talking. All of a sudden it wasn't fun anymore and he goes before he gets into bed. (But I am a very mean and harsh mother).

In my opinion? At this age they should be in bed, alone, by 7:30pm, which seems to fit in with your routine if you do books straight after bath.

Good luck!

My assvice comes not as a parent (kid is only 4 months...and he his a horrid sleeper so on second thought don't listen to me at all). But as a former nanny I will say, cut out playtime and tv time at night. Especially the tv. TV and play both ramp up the mind, replace with some quite, soothing music and a few books. Leave the playing and tv for earlier in the day.

Asking for assvice? Can't let this oppourtunity pass! I personally would keep the nap and tweak the bedtime routine if possible. Reading it, the two things which jump out at me are the TV (not great for winding down) and the free time. Can you change things around so the TV and play come before bath and once it is bath time the are on a strict path to bed? No passing go, no collecting $200. With my little terrors, the routine is pack-away, dinner, bath, story and bed. When DH is in charge there is 5 minutes "play" inserted between every step and it always ends in tears. I think as soon as you give them any wriggle room you're a goner. Once it is bath time my kids know there is no more free time and that is it. No discussion entered into!

im on the keep the nap crew - my son is just over two and if he doesnt do the day time nap he is killer!!! honestly we tried becouse we also had a bad time getting him to sleep at night thinking that would work and it worked - in reverse!!! what did work and im not sure how keen marko would be is that he (normally takes just one night at least it did in our house) put them to bed and you stay our of it (like a complete role reversal) angel boy really took to this and he listened! We got to keep the day nap which is a godsend on the weekend as you said and he goes to sleep at 6.30 plays a little and at 7.00 when we go in he climbs into bed for bedtime (this isnt crystal obviously but the change of routine person really worked for us)
good luck

I think they're tired after school cause they haven't slept well (too few hours) at night, not because they need a nap...
And let your hubby take over the bed-time routine since they will obey him so painlessly; why should you stress & threaten when all he has to do is growl?

My little one stopped daytime naps at 2. He would not go to sleep in the evening and eventually, after many dreadful attempts, I saw a fab paediatrician who is an absolute expert in child behaviours and he told me that maybe my boy wasn't needing his daytime sleeps anymore and to give them up. At two!

I hated the thought of this, but found that after a week, he would go to bed much easier. Of course, he still got really tired during the day, but we just pushed through.

He still goes at full throttle during the day and has never been big on sleeping, but now at night - he goes for about 11-12 hours.

I reckon you should try it and see for yourself. It is hard, but worth the results.

Oh, the afternoon nap (blissful, faraway look on face...). If I could nap for two hours every day, around lunch, I would be very productive. Yes, I would go to bed around midnight only, to be up at 6 or so again, but I so need it. And the corporate world just don't cater for it.

Have you ever thought of keeping the naps, but letting your kids play (you know, quietly, like I'm sure they always do) in their bedrooms until they get tired and fall over, whenever that may be? And then, you force them to get up in the mornings, at the time they are suppose to (even if you have to get them dressed with floppy, sleepy arms and hold them up on the toilet...). So, their routine is only guided by the time they HAVE to get up, but the rest then falls in place as they are tired, etc. Pls don't hate me for all this assvice, but working with autistic kids are challenging every preconceived idea I have ever had - and going to bed at a certain time is one of them. It is important to note that the reason they have to go to bed early is because you have to go to bed early to get up early and NOT have a lunchtime nap. So, we, as social beings and rightly so, shape the people's lives around us to fit in to our own preferences. If they know that the one reason they are allowed a lunch nap and a late night is because they are going to quietly play in their own rooms until late, won't they do this?

Ok, I'm laughing at my own post now, because NO of course they won't. Ok, assvice #2: Get Marko to put them to bed while you sip some wine. Make it his job, damnit... :)

We Just went through this and ava was born the March after your kids' January ---- ditch the nap and they'll be asleep by 8. It's a beautiful thing. Why did it take months for me to figure it out???

I wish mine would still nap! At 3 and a bit she only naps about 3 times a week - and that is utter bliss. What I have noticed - SURPRISE! is the days that she naps, she sleeps better at night and wakes up in a much better mood. Our routine is as follows: Bath at 6:30 (TV only untill then if at all), then wind down time - read a book while we bathe the twins and put them to bed, dinner with the family at around 7:15 to 7:45, straight to bed after that. We have a routine of toilet, brushing teeth, storey, prayer and song and goodnights. Most nights she falls asleep almost immediately. Other nights she will sing/talk to herself and fall asleep. Very seldom do we get called to her room. If we slip only 15 minutes later I can't get her up in the mornings. I have also found that if she is too tired (ie no nap, to bed too late), she struggles to fall asleep. I don;t think the nap is too much sleep, I think they might be over tired and sleep too little.

Keep the nap. The fact that they fall asleep quickly and deeply means that they still need it. Tweak the bedtime routine slightly. Quiet time and/or books. No playtime and/or TV at night as they will struggle to settle down for bed.

I read once that watching TV upsets our circadian rhythms - our bodies interpret it as sunlight or somesuch. So, maybe if you took away the evening TV and replaced it with a book or whatever, it would help.

I am completely talking out my ass, here. Sleep is a big, bad issue in our house.

The other reason why this doesn't make sense is that it's currently light until about 8:45 pm here, and by midsummer it'll be light until 10 pm or so. I don't care what rhythm they're in, my kids are not staying up that late. Grrr...

Don't get me started about Daylight Savings. Ugh.

Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

Go with your instinct. Keep the nap.

I am slightly confused as to why they must be in bed at 8pm. If they consistently get up, maybe they should be put to bed at a later time? Or allowed to look at books?

I have mixed feelings about the bedtime with my son. He is three. He has a two-hour nap everyday and I let him sleep three if he wants to on weekends. If I put him to bed before 8.30 he will wake up at 5.30/6. So I am slowly pushing back his bedtime. He now goes to bed at 9. (Quiet time starting at 8, story time at 8.30, into bed by 9) and he will go right to sleep and not wake before six, usually around seven. That's a nine/ten-hour night plus the two-hour nap. 11/12 hours sleep in a 24-hour period is plenty, I think.

When I put him to bed before then the poor child would lie awake in his room for up to an hour, quietly, because he knew if he called me I would tell him to put his head down and go to sleep!

So maybe try that?

If they are tired during the day, I think they still need the nap. And I don't blame you for not wanting to give it up! And a 1-hour nap is not too long for 3-year-olds. I agree with what you surmised - the nighttime problem is not lack of tiredness, but lack of firmness. They don't think you mean business at 8 p.m. You know this, but the first few days/weeks of new firmness is hard and frustrating, but they will get used to the new rule that 8 p.m bedtime REALLY means 8 p.m. bedtime. After some tearful nights where you don't allow them to get up, they will get over it, and go to sleep right away.

I say half and half. It sounds like Kate maybe ready but Adam may not necessarily be. It stinks to have them on two seperate schedules I'm sure but it might be where they are today. Kate gets up from her nap easily and won't go back down at night. Not to say Adam is an angel at night but if his sister is still in play mode, I'm sure that doesn't help his bedtime routine.

My daughter gave up her nap when she was 2 but my older son napped until he was almost 4 (and still will if we happen to be in the car). Not that it is definetly a boy/girl difference but it may be an individual difference.

Good Luck!

Assvice: Do not give up nap! Nap is important unless you want pissed off kids in the evening with meltdown of titanic proportions. I miss nap. Someone has suggested tweaking the routine and I agree. The best thing in my opinion is to move the tv time and play time before bath then after a nice soak read them a couple of books (set a limit and never go over) and off to lala land. It might take a week to stick and you need to be firm in that week letting them get up only for bathroom breaks. If the kids actually do poop at 8 then giving up nap and putting them down earlier might result in accidents or in pissed of sleepy kids waking up to go to the bathroom. Do i make any sense? Take it from someone who did away with nap (we took away the binky and nap vanished) that extra free time in the day is very much missed, think of yourself think of Rose, think of the baby kangaroos :)

It seems like most of your commenters thus far are advocating KEEPING the nap(s). I personally had an experience like yours - daughter who was clearly tired, so was given naps, but then a BEAR at bedtime. It wasn't that she wouldn't COOPERATE, but bedtime (er, the actual "falling asleep" part) was SUCH a struggle! We were frustrated, shouting, she'd be in tears...

So, with that experience in my past, I need to offer my very best advice: STOP THE NAPS. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, I think A&K will do much better if they have one, long, solid sleep each day. What I hear from your post is that they are tired when they get home from school (understandable!), but then not allowed to fully recharge with a nap (BIG CLUE: you are having to WAKE THEM UP). You're shooting yourself in the foot at bedtime, yet they are not REALLY getting all the rest their bodies need.

My girls are now 4, 5 and 7... EVERY ONE OF THEM would go down for a nap most days, and would enjoy it, but it would totally wreak havoc on bedtime - just as you are experiencing. If you want them going to bed before 8AM, I highly recommend that you doing quiet "restful" activities after school, rather than a nap. They will be cranky, perhaps, for a couple of weeks as their bodies adjust to having to wait until bedtime to sleep. But then... THEN... bedtime can be cheerfully anticipated, and quickly embraced by A&K! You'll see!

P.S. I often have to work very hard to keep my 4-yr old from falling asleep if we are running errands after lunchtime. I've learned the hard way that ANY nap (even 5 minutes!) will set us back at bedtime. And it is NOT due to her being uncooperative, or deliberately trying to avoid going to bed. It's as if the nap re-sets her body clock, making it think she needs to wait longer until the next sleep.

I agree with commenters about the TV and playtime.

But to go a little further on it - what strikes me in your routine is that there is not a lot of connection time there. Quite often at the end of the day young kids need some time to feel warm and safe and "nested" and your routine from the way you posted it kind of reads like "put kids in front of tv," "put kids in room alone," "come in and enforce bathroom time," "leave."

I'm guessing this is partly because they're twins and so it's hard to have quiet time with each one, but I know that my son really depends on snuggling together and reading for 15 minutes as "contact time" with us. This may mean your husband has to get involved so that each child has a parent.

I recommend "Sleepless in America" highly for a discussion of sleep that's well-rounded, and it brings up this issue of reconnecting before transitioning to sleep. She would also be highly in favour of keeping the nap. :)

Give up the nap!! Yes - you will have "happy hour" in your household from about 6 -7.30 pm with 2 very tired, very grumpy toddlers, but then they will go to bed IMMEDIATLY at 7.30, and you will have the evening to spend with your husband. Or computer. Or bottle of wine. Whatever. That day time nap is over rated anyway! You can stick them in front of the TV for 30 minutes if you need to do something! ( Can you see what a good parent I am??) You can also bribe them to behave with some kinda treats...ha,ha!!

Ooooh we can give assvice? Yay! Mine is: don't skip the nap, they probably still need it; change bedtime routine (no TV/playtime, just bath, brush teeth/go pee, books, bed), and have their father do the bedtime routine (if he can't do all of it, have him do the last book/putting to bed part) because if they know they can push it with you, but they listen to him, best to roll with that, right? Also if they don't listen to him they become his problem and he gets to figure out how to get them to stay in bed. ;)

Just because you're having a little trouble getting them to bed doesn't mean they don't need a nap. My boys occasionally ditch their nap, they wake up at the same time (7:30) and they fall asleep around the same time (between 8-9) regardless. The difference being that the next day they are less alert, more cranky, and are even more in a hurry to nap than usual. What you need is more consistency with your bedtime routine, not ditching the nap. My boys are in bed at the same time every night, even though N fights actually FALLING asleep as hard as he can. Most nights requires my husband and I to go up two times and lay him back down and calmly say "It's bedtime now, go to sleep". No talking, no negotiating, no arguing. Also, it would be a good idea to read them a bedtime story and ditch the TV..it's less stimulating. I'm still giving my boys a bottle before bed, too, I can't help it. The warm milk does D in like a sledgehammer and I'm not ready to give up the one good sleeper I got :)

If they're tired after school, they need to sleep. If they take longer to wind down at bedtime, well - that's pretty much normal in my house. I put Rosebud to bed at 7:00 and quite often hear her rattling around until 9:00. Which is okay (though annoying), because the times when she is tired at seven, she has the opportunity to crash. When she's not, she talks to herself and still has downtime. Not so bad.

If they are taking a nice nap, then they need that rest. If they didn't, they wouldn't nap.

For bedtime, how about trying a quieter routine? I bet TV followed by playtime is getting them wound up. Maybe do playtime followed by bath, books, bed, or some similar quiet and restful routine.

I thought I would answer with what worked for us, but please take with a grain of salt as all kids are grown, and a sure sign of grown children is when they want to nap and don't have time! It sounds as if Adam and Kate do still need a nap after school, but it also sounds as if perhaps the bedtime ritual is too long and needs to be shortened. We did something called bath, bottle, book, bed or the 4 b's. You could also try moving their bedtime to slightly later, say 8 pm, telling them it is because they are 3, but only if they can follow the routine, etc. Allowing them to play or watch tv in their room may delay their bedtime as they may get caught up or wound up. Our son had sensory issues (we now realize) and he needed the winding down time of a bath, a bottle, a book before he could fall asleep, especially if he was overtired. The time spent with the kids usually was about an hour and reading to them ending up being the best part of the day. My husband and I took turns while the other had to do the dishes!

decide what you value most: afternoon quiet or the possibilty of early bedtimes?

once you have established your priority for you and marko, you will know what choice to make. neither decision is wrong. it is just a family lifestyle preference.

It's interesting that more people voted for giving up the naps, yet there are for more comments advocating NOT giving them up.

My twins are only 2.5, but they still take two naps a day. Like a previous commenter, I found that the less sleep they have during the day, the WORSE they sleep at night. If they are over-tired, they are monsters during the hours leading up to bedtime. Granted, there are sometimes difficult bedtimes, but if we always read right before bed for 15-30 minutes, depending on the evening, they ALWAYS end up in bed around 8:00, 8:30 at the latest.

So I say definitely keep the naps, but good luck whichever way you decide to go!

Oh, also- the video is so adorable. Love love LOVE you're accents!

Hi Tertia.

While I would not presume to know what's best for your (exquisitely cute) children, I can tell you how naps, bedtimes, and awake time happen here.

My Claire and Chloe know that they will be out of bed and dressed no later than 8:00am. They also know that they will be in their PJ's and in bed no later than 9:30pm. Whether they decide to take a nap, or not, in the afternoon, is at their own descretion. Sometimes they nap together, sometimes they take shifts and nap one at a time (I assume so that I won't be lonely and don't have to load the dishwasher), and sometimes, they skip it outright and are asleep for the night at 7pm!

When they were younger, I did enforce naps, but they are two-and-a-half now, and I feel that as long as they get 12 hours or so of downtime per day, then they should be okay.

I will have to say that I am quite strict about in-bed and out-of-bed times. I think it's how I justify the lax naptime rules! Some mornings it's a chore to get them dressed, and some nights, I listen to them playing with their babies and singing "Twinkle Twinkle" for hours. They don't fuss about being awake in bed, I assume, because they know they ARE NOT coming out of that bed.

Good luck!! And here's to EVIL WITCHES!!

My daughter is 13 and twin boys are 12 and I ran into the same trouble when they were about three. I gave up the nap, went to "book" time after school and bedtime became an absolute dream after about three days of adjustment. Yes they are tired after school but a quiet time sitting on the couch reading with Mom gave them enough time to catch their 2nd wind and then they were actually tired at night and the up and down forty seven times stopped COLD.

Yes it sucks not having that nap time peace and quiet in the afternoons but for me, the lack of bedtime hassles was more than worth it.

If you do try this, you might find you'll have to tweak the bedtime schedule a bit, it might take a few days to get it just right again but the best part is it will all happen EARLIER in the evening! Time for wine at 8pm - bliss!

(Now if I could figure out the teenage angst as easily as bedtime drama my life would be peachy! ;-)

Love your blog!
Katy in Seattle, WA

Where is the bedtime story in the schedule? If you put them in bed and read to them it might help them wind down and get sleepy. That's what I did with mine.

My oldest took naps until she was about 6 but I gave it up for the others. If you stop the naps and they become unbearably cranky you can start them up again.

If Marko wants to make comments about the kid's bedtime routine, he really shouldn't be doing it from in front of the TV. If my husband pulled that on me I'd be telling him, "Well, then get your ass in here and help me!"

I voted no on giving up the nap. My almost 4 year old still takes one most days.

I just read somewhere recently that TV very close to bedtime can make sleep harder for kids, so you might try something different there.

I vote for bedtime at 8 (by which I mean tucked into bed, with books maybe), regardless of what time sleep finally occurs. But that's me.

My George is exactly the same, apart from he is only 21 months. He loves his afternoon nap and zonks out for a couple of hours every day (today went down late at 2pm and is still asleep now) If he doesnt have a nap, we are ready to kill each other by 5pm. I do try and get him up by 4.30/5pm though if he's having a late one. Its getting into summer here, and the midday lunch followed by a nap is a great way of keeping him out the sun so I am reluctant to change it.

But, he can be a nightmare at night. Every day he goes to his bed at 7.30pm when we take the 9 week old up (his choice). He gets a massage to calm him, a book (or three) read to him and put to bed. Some nights (maybe 2 in 7) he will be off asleep within 20 minutes. Other nights he can be up until 9.30pm.

We always let him take a favourtie toy of the day to bed (car or digger or teddy) and that normally keeps him occupied -but some night he will just not go off! The one thing we have done is put a stairgate on his room though - he was getting out and making a mess of the bathroom/brothers room and waking his brother without it, so we need that stairgate.

Sorry, babbling here. I dont know for you guys as Kate and Adam are that much older - but I agree that if they are falling asleep that easy they need that sleep. Maybe a nap just every other day? A friend of mine when cutting out naps would let son have one every 2-3 days - just until they were used to it.

I would also say to cut out playtime after dinner. Here we eat late (husband not in until 6.30pm so dinner around then) and straight after dinner George has a milk drink and sits with one of us calming down. He then goes to bed where he has the books. (we dont do nightly baths due to eczema) He has very limited TV and is not allowed to play alone/run around - it just loops him out too much for bed. So I would say maybe dinner, sofa with milk etc, (bath if its your nightly thing) and then books and bed (light off, nightlight if needed)

But like I said, our 21month son is just like your guys so what do I know?!!!


1. Keep the nap; since they go down easily and actually sleep, it appears that they need it.

2. Alter bed-time routine - and don't argue with them! Be firm. There are some things that are negotiable; others are not. For me, bedtime was not negotiable.

Hehe...you know that a bunch of moms just love to give advice/assvice, don't you? :) Of course, I can't resist either.

I answered "other" in the poll because while I think maybe it is time to give up on the afternoon nap, it is more a matter of what matters most to you, an earlier bedtime or that break in the middle of the day.

At this age, most kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night (total, including naps). So if they're getting an hour or two of sleep during the day, they are likely going to not sleep as long (or go to bed as early) at night. So if its more important to you for them to get that nap, then you may have to live with them falling asleep later at night. If it is more important to you and Marko to have your evenings to yourselves (or that A&K simply sleep longer at night), then you may need to drop the nap...or at least make it a much shorter one.

Once you decide how you want to proceed, then yes, growing a backbone about them actually going to sleep will definitely be in order. ;) But that's a discussion for another post, I think. :) Just so you know though, once they can actually get through the day without that nap though, it's not so bad once it's dropped. It actually unchains you from the house during naptime, and that is so liberating!

Tertia darling, you need to toughen up and make those two little stinkers stay in their rooms. Children don't like going to sleep. Why in the world would you quietly lay down when there are so! many! fun! things to do? Consequences.

Here is what our bedtime routine looks like

7:00 Shower, Brush Teeth, Into Jammies
7:25 Story or two while snuggling
7:45 Drink, potty, hugs and kisses, etc.
8:00 Sleep

If our kid's come out of their room after 8:00pm, they get a warning for the first offense. Second offense means a 15 minute early bedtime tomorrow. If it happens a 3rd time, my husband will give them a swat. Bedtime was hellish until we got strict. It's been MONTHS since we had to give a warning. Once they are sleeping, if they wake up to potty or have a bad dream there are NO consequences - they are even welcome to sleep in our bed if they are afraid. I would never turn away or scold a frightened child but I won't argue every evening with a cheeky one that refuses to follow instructions.

I would definitely start skipping the nap. I went through a similar situation with my daughter and we had to kick the nap to the curb. Yes some days are a little painful but when she goes to be by 7:30 instead of 10 it makes all the difference in the world. I think that routine is best and you seem to have a good one going. You might consider removing the tv time before bed, some say that it gets their minds a little wired and thus makes it harder for them to settle down. Instead do a little tv time in place of the nap, we call it quiet time and my daughter knows that when it is “quite” time she needs to stay in her room until quite time is over, sometimes she reads books instead of watching a movie. Of course quite time is not as long as a traditional nap, but it is a little break. Takes a little work to transition but it works for us. If you take away the nap and it just isn’t working and they are miserable, you can always give it back. Hope this was helpful.

This is my first comment on your blog, I really enjoy reading your posts.

We are having the same problem with our nearly-3-year-old. He stopped taking naps on a daily basis when he stopped nursing just after he turned 2 but occasionally he would fall asleep in the car or in my arms when we read in bed. If we let him sleep however long he does, it's a struggle to get him to go to bed at night. So our solution is that if he naps, we wake him up after an hour. Yes, he can be VERY grumpy but it's worth it because he goes to bed on time at night. So that's an option: to wake up Kate and Adam after a little bit of time. Many of us, including adults, still need daily siestas and there's nothing wrong with short ones. =)

I went through the same thing with my twins at the same age. Honestly, they were not tired at night because of the nap. It will be a week or two adjustment, but I bet you find you have tired little monkeys just around 7pm who sleep soundly until morning.

Good luck!

Tertia - I think they're probably on the verge of not needing a nap but... sounds like they still need it since they fall asleep so quickly. Before you quit the nap, I'd definitely do as others suggested and modify your bedtime routine. TV is stimulating to children and the play in their room may wind them up as well, not to mention who wants to interrupt play for bedtime. I'd advise dinner/nap/books. Even if you take 20 minutes to read books it's just quiet/mellow/transition time.

If you do all that consistently for a while and they're still up, I'd say they're on the verge of not needing naps and just simply not tired at their normal bedtime. When Luke was around the same age he'd need a full 7 hours from the end of a nap to be tired enough for bedtime. The kids may just not be tired enough at 8 after being asleep past 2. Even to this day at almost 5, he rarely naps but if/when he does, we're looking at 10 and 11 p.m. bedtimes if he does nap (due to previously mentioned 7 hour rule). I did have to get to the point (shortly after he turned 3) of having to try very hard to keep Luke stimulated around nap time to keep him awake. It made for a few weeks (maybe more like months) of a very grumpy boy from dinner time until bedtime, but he was plenty tired by 8, if not sooner.

I agree with the PP that Sleepless in America is a great book. It's likely they still need a nap and I wouldn't try to eliminate their nap without trying to modify/mellow out their bedtime routine first. Believe me, I've "been there, done that" with late bedtimes. It's so much more enjoyable to snuggle & read until they're tired (even if you have to do it for half an hour) than to go in and yell at them to go to sleep. They might not be tired.

I say, keep the nap. Agree with comments to remove TV/playtime from just before bedtime. The other thing that might be going on that wouldn't be intuitive is that perhaps the naps aren't long enough--I wouldn't wake kids up from naps that start that much earlier than bedtime. On the theory that good sleep begets good sleep, one can envision the situation where not having a long enough nap keeps them just tired enough to be more wound up and find it harder to get to sleep. Whereas a nice restful nap keeps them calmer in that evening time enabling another easy time down to sleep.

That latter theory stated, there does of course come a time when naptime has to be given up, so if longer naps do NOT beget better evenings then feel free to laugh at this theory! and of course every child varies as to the right time to drop a nap. But my older daughter had naps right up until she started full-day kindergarten at age 5 1/2 and I daresay she could have used them even then. So you never know.

Good luck! (I am happy to report that my 3-y-o is still napping 2 hrs a day and going to bed between 8 and 8:30, although sometimes earlier if she seems tired. Sometimes she does sing for 30 to 45 min before falling asleep, but as long as she's having quiet time and not coming out, we're okay with that. I guess that would be more challenging if she had a playmate in the room!)

(1) Your opening line cracks me up!
(2) I disagree with your premise that once naps are gone they're gone forever. For all three of my kids naps got phased out over several months or years depending on the child. IMO a good time to consider not napping is when they can't fall asleep at naptime. I agree that if A&K still fall asleep quickly they probably need the nap still. But don't be afraid to experiment w/skipping it a few times to see how they do.
(3) I totally agree with book to bedtime, and I even juice it up with "YOU get to pick which book".
(4) One thing I tell my children when they revolt at bedtime is this, "You don't have to sleep, but you have to stay in bed. You must be quiet because it is rude to keep your siblings up at bedtime." If they can't follow these rules privileges get taken away.

* A few things to consider-if we'd like to discuss EVIL-it is embodied in a toddler at around 5pm that has just stopped napping. But don't fret, some days are worse than others, and even this will pass. I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all solution; each child is different, with different sleep requirements. Your mission is to find out what works for you and your kids and how much wiggle room you have.

* One of my 3 still had her binky at age 3. She started experimenting with no nap at around 3. Somehow I made the rule that the binky wasn't allowed out of bed and if she needed the binky she had to go lay down in bed. Sometimes, she would fall asleep, other times she would self sooth for a few minutes and then come back out when she felt better. It was an oddity, but helped scale back binky use and address the occasional need for naptime. If A&K still have binkys you could give it a try.

The days that I have to wake my younger son up from a nap are the days we have a difficult time with bedtime. Even if I let him sleep for 2 - 3 hours, if he wakes up on his own from a nap, he goes to bed so much easier in the evenings.

I think that, sometimes, when I do wake him from his nap, he's not "ready" to get up, which puts him in a survival mode of sorts. By the time bedtime rolls around, he's so wound up he can't calm down to get back to sleep.

Just a thought...

Heck, if I could get my 9 year old to take naps, I would! *I'd* like a nap!

I'd skip the TV and playtime right before bed. I'd switch TV time to when they usually have naps. It can be quiet play and/or TV time then. I know my 6 yr old has TV time each afternoon where she just relaxes. I'd give up naps personally. Part of me thinks then need them due to falling asleep fast but then again, obviously they aren't super tired by bedtime and would make up for it then. I know when my kids gave up naps I could put them down up to 2 hr earlier which was really nice (lots of adult time at night which is awesome). You can still have some alone time during their afternoon "rest" time. And I think that playing before bed just gets them excited. Someone recommended play/dad time which probably would involve wrestling around, tickling etc. i totally am against that as they will get all riled up and not want to sleep. I think a nice book and snuggle talking time is much more appropriate. Sometimes we play a board game before bed if we have time, then book and bed. BAth and teeth before that of course. And I don't do bath every night.

Make them run with the dogs for an hour every evening.

What will they do when they start school? Our kindergarten does "rest time" and most of the kids fall asleep. So, if you give it up now, and they go to kindy with nap time, the teacher will hate you.

Plus 3 is too young to give up nap. My kids are never asleep before 9:30 and never have been. Tell Marko to do the night time routines if they listen better to him.

I voted "other". Cut the naps to 45 minutes.

Also, don't make threats you're not going to make good on! You'll be glad you did in the coming years!


Hi, I would say ditch the nap, enough sleep at night should help with the tiredness during the day. My routine is: supper, toilet, bath, story (she used to drink her milk during the story), BED. My daughter is 7 and goes to bed no problem by 7:30. Sure if she has been sick or we go out it upsets the routine, but if you keep it up 98% of the time it works. I would have a chat with your kids, tell them you are going to change bedtime. Let them choose some new fun books to get them enthusiastic and that should help ease them into it. It may be tough at first, but just keep going. This is if you decide to do it. I also agree with what was said above I found from 2 years old if my daughter slept even 5 minutes it was like adding an hour onto bed time! Good luck - Kind regards Mandy

I tried to comment on the poll thingy. I clicked other. I'd say switch playtime and bathtime. Bath for my kids usually signals it's time to calm down and go to bed. No confusion of playing in the middle, it's just bath and bed. Also..cut out the tv, I find with mine it just riles them up and gets their minds overstimulated and they can't sleep.Give them books to read with their bottles and then bathe them and in jammies and in bed. This is what I usually do with mine..hope it works for yours!!

I don't care what you decide (as I am not yet a parent so refuse to give you assvice)...but after finding out I am having twins last week, and watching that video, I have a proposal: I will help them go to bed if you teach mine that wonderful accent? The Pittsburghese that my kids will have pales in comparison!!

Keep the nap. They're tired and go down easy for it, so they obviously need it.

Change night time routine to include more of a winding down period. People have already said this, but more quiet activities like books, etc. so they start to calm down. For bedtime story, they must be in bed... helps to transition from "awake" to "bed" to "sleep." Then it's easier too to get them into bed because "COOL! Story time!". And then they're there and lights out.

Make sure drinks and wees come BEFORE story though.

Your children are just adorable! I recommend checking out this website: http://www.familysleep.com/age_needs.htm and the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Good for infant through teen years. And I voted to keep the nap. Probably just need to firm up the bedtime routine. My twins are 2, so we'll be getting to that stage soon, I'm sure.

I'm with the keep the nap and change the evening routine camp. T.V. really does get the mind going and playtime right before bed just gives them a second wind. Instead of T.V. time we do something very actiive to get the rest of that energy out. Then a small healthy snack if needed with a vitamin, a bath, brush teeth and have a last drink of water, a book, hugs and kisses all around, last potty's, then to bed with our nighttime cd playing. That covers all our 4 year olds excuses for getting out of bed after we've left his room.
We have a 1 hour required afternoon rest time at our house and the 4 yr. old almost always sleeps. And sleeps at night from 9pm-8:30am.I'm sure we could back the night sleep time up but that's what works for us.

Good luck figuring what works for you. Remember though that once you drop the nap you will not get it back. I would definitely recomend tweaking the evening routine before trying to drop the nap if you don't want to lose it.

They must give up the nap. This kills me to say it, because if I had my way, my children would be napping until they went to college - but I think there really is a period of time where they have to transition to no naps and it sucks, there's nothing to be done but to gut it out. Because the priority is GOOD NIGHTTIME SLEEP, and if the rest of your afternoon sucks because they are cranky and exhausted, so be it. You must gut it out. They will go to bed much earlier, they will sleep longer at night, you will be happy. It is not a process that occurs in a week, tho--it is truly a transition period in which one day they nap and one day they won't--and then you realize that a month or two has gone by and the nap is gone. Good luck!

It really has to do with your priority for sure. Do you want that break during the day or an early bedtime. For us, we decided on the early bedtime. My daughter turned 3 in April. It has been a few weeks since we transitioned to no nap and bedtime is between 7-7:30 and she sleeps about 12 hours. Before this she would fall asleep in the car after school and then nap for about 2 hours. It was difficult to wake her up from this nap and then she wouldn't go to bed until after 10. It was such a struggle every night and no fun for anyone. The no nap seems to work. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Ah crap. We have just gone through this exact question ourselves...

And even though I have ALWAYS been the nap-nothing-messes-with-it-Nazi... I decided to give ours up and have some quiet time in the afternoon instead. With much regret.

Our big difference - Josh gets home from preschool closer to 1:15 - he has lunch there, so the nap starts later and bedtime was getting pushed to like 10pm which FREAKED ME OUT. And then he wasn't able to wake up in the morning in time to be properly awake to eat a decent breakfast before preschool.

I hated losing that break (I'm 37 weeks pregnant - I REALLY miss that break) BUT this way he has a busy morning, a quiet afternoon, a walk, and he's in bed by 7:30 for books, lights out at 8. Or 7:45 if I'm feeling pitiful. And there's no battle. And he's getting the 12 hours his age group apparently needs.

Aaaaand... I can still get him to nap on weekends once in a while when it doesn't matter what time he wakes up the next day.

Good luck!

Hi Tertia,

Sorry, haven't read all the comments as I have to go to work, but wanted to say my little girl is just the same as your two. She will be 3 in August and to nap or not to nap is the question!

She goes to pre-school 2 afternoons and she can't nap on those days as she finishes too late. At bedtime (7pm) she usually goes straight to sleep and wakes at about 7.30-8am. On the days when she has no school and is at the childminder's then she has a nap for 1 hour. Bedtime becomes a farce and we are up and down the stairs every 15 minutes. the excuses she comes up with are wonderful and it is hard not to laugh Forst I have to scare away the naughty chicken, then Mr. Spider and last night some monsters and a tiger too. Then we have wees, poos etc. Well we don't but she says it to get out of bed. Then when she sees me getting bored of running up and down she nneds a hug, or a cuddle or her teddy or some other such cuteness. Sleep comes about 9.30 pm and we usually have to wake her at 9 ish in the morning when she is in a terrible mood.
I never put her down for a nap if I am at home (hubby and I work shifts), he tries to, but usually fails, but then lets her sleep at about 4pm (arrgh) and the childminder lets her nap. With no nap she gets a abit grumpy at about 5pm is (teatime), but you can help her through it and feed her and then she's usually refueled enough for a game or 2 before bath time at 6pm.

The trouble is she never wants a nap when I am home until after 3pm, when she gets a bit tired and by then it is too late so I jolly her through it. i would rather have an easy bedtime than a free hour in the afternoon. I suppose what i am saying is choose, nap and later to bed by an hour or so and no nap and early bedtime. I am biased as last night I went to bed before she went to sleep (9.30) and she kept popping in to see me. Now I am up at 4am and lovely husband will get a lie in as she's knackered. Now she wont have a nap today, be exhausted at bedtime and tomorrow morning when it's may day off and I would like a little lie in 9hubby will be up for work at 5) she will be up and at 'em at 7am.

No easy answer, just felt like sharing, now must get dressed for work. Good luck.

I really agree with the commenter directly above me... Shandra. I think your bedtime routine may be at least part of the problem. I mean as we all know, eventually most pre-schoolers do give up naps, and at some point you will too... but sounds like it's not quite time yet if they fall asleep that easily at 1PM.

So my best assvice is your nighttime routine does feel a bit disconnected from the kids... I am a firm believer in bath, books, bed... bath, books, bed... every night, without fail. Same same routine. Sometime do bath before dinner, but always books then bed.

The tv and playtime are for earlier right after dinner, not right before bed with kids this age. Works them up too much. They need a warm bath and then snuggle time in their beds with a parent while reading some books... getting that snuggle time helps them start to wind down and drift off... Then lights out, kisses and go. If they get up they are quietly walked back to bed with no conversation from you.... no reinforcment/reward for getting up with either fun conversation or with anger, as that's a reward too. So just completely unemotional and silent (read boring) march back to bed.

At their age I'd back it all up so you are walking out the door at 7:30... If you dropped the tv and playtime I bet you'd be very pleasantly surprised and see them wind down earlier... But if that feels to early then at least by 8. And then 7:00 or so when you do drop the nap. But you're still on target. Experts say 12 hours of sleep per day at this age is a good number to shoot for...

Best of luck to you... we've all been thru this odd time and the answer is as unique as each child... I switched from naps with my first at about 3.9, and then he did quiet time in his room for another eight months or so, and then eventually that goes by the wayside as well. No matter what you do though, definitely instill this quiet time for as long as you can, as at least it continues to give you that much needed break on weekend afternoons.

OMG! I had to laugh at Marko's comment ("This shit at night has got to stop.") The whole scenario (including DH's remark) is identical at our house.

I vote for keeping the nap, though. My kids are waaaay to cranky come late afternoon and evening without it. Their sanity, as well as mine, still needs that nap.

Forgive me if I'm repeating advice from above. No time to read all comments tonight. Here's is my two cents/assvice: If napping during the day is disrupting sleep at night, it is time to cut it out. I am not saying this will be an easy transition, but better sleep at night will be worth it! Promise! I completely understand and remember this with my own kids and the kids I babysat. It is not easy to give up that down time during the day. BUT, a good night's sleep is worth it!! I still had "quiet time" with the kids when they had to rest (watch a TV show, look at a book, rest on the couch, anything quiet). If they fell asleep for 10 mins, no big deal. If not, we all got some peace. Good luck to you!

We gave up the nap for our little guy at about 2 1/2 years. It was a good idea for us. not to say that he doesn't ever have a nap if he seems to really need it but preferably a brief one. He also was difficult to get to go to sleep at nights if he had a sleep. He used to sleep for up to 2 hours during the day and then was still awake in bed chattering at 10 pm. Instead of sleeping for only 9-10 hours at night he now sleeps for up to 12 - now that he doesn't sleep in the afternoons. Maybe they need their sleep in the afternoon because they went to sleep so late and woke up so early that they didn't get enough sleep so are really tired when they get home. If they get more sleep at night maybe they won't be so tired during the day. Its nice when our guy sleeps so quickly at nights without all of the fuss which, if he does get a sleep in the afternoon starts up again because he is not really tired when he is put to bed.

To comment a second time on this subject: yesterday afternoon the trips did not nap. Our evening went as follows: Hannah (loves her nap)went to bed at 5.45 and slept until 6 this morning. Leah went to bed at 7.30(slightly cranky) and slept till 6 this morning. Olivia went to bed at 8 (very difficuilt, had a "floer moer" etc.) and slept till 6 this morning. So I think it depends on the individual child and how the cope with not having a nap.

My 6 and 3year old have lights out by 7pm every night( 6:30 on Sundays)
I found this worked like a breeze once I took the daytime nap away.
I think that evenings are MY time.( but I am a stay-at-home mom)
A good tip (especially if they are getting used to going to bed earlier) is to let them listen to a
cd/tape after lights out. The 3year old usually makes it through the first 5 minutes and then zonks out-
but it means no running around as they are listenining to their story!!!! Big sanity saver!!!

As long as they still fall asleep instantly, I would keep the nap.

How do your kids cope with TV - in general, and before bedtime in particular? My daughter (31.03.2005) would go berserk if she watched TV for three quarters of an hour in a row. She'd never be able to sleep afterwards but would want to talk endlessly about everything that happened on the screen before. So maybe if you cut that a little and played a game or read a book instead? Or can you give them some paper and pens so they can draw/colour a picture? That might calm them down somewhat.

Here's my assvice- from a barren mare. Let them sleep. They will tell you when they no longer need that nap.

Thos kids are so damn cute, Tertia. So so cute. Lucky for them they are so adorable or you'd kill them, you evil witch, LOL!!

I'd also recommend letting the naps go & adjusting the bedtime routine. All four of mine stopped having daytime naps at around three years age - on their own. And although we sometimes still struggle to get them to bed (when they're over-excited), they mostly go to sleep before 8pm each night & get up at 06:30 on school days. In winter (like now) we try to get them to bed a bit earlier (around 19:00 - 19:30) because it's a struggle to get them up in the (dark & cold) morning. On weekends & during holidays we're much more flexible, but mine are much older now (2 x 11yrs & 2 x 6.5yrs) so it's a different story. When they were 3 yrs old, I stuck to a rigid routine (for sanity's sake - mine & theirs). And I agree with the no TV, no play after bath time comments - rather bath, then straight to bed & read a book or two & then it's sleeptime. But as soon as they stop napping during the day, the evening routine will start to improve.

tertia, this is a tricky one and something that took a while to figure out with josh. he was driving me demented as he was awake til around 10pm. he was sleeping in the day and it was so hard to wake him up. he loved his nap but I tried over the months to drop it. some days were impossible and he just HAD to sleep. but most days he pushed through. even when he got a little tired, I would distract him and he would get a second wind. he was SHATTERED by 7pm. which was pure heaven cos I could finally have time with sean or just on my own. it seemed fair too as noahs bed time was 7.30. they eat by 5.30pm then bath and play but at 7pm its brush teeth time and choose a story. I read them a story and we have a little chat in between and after story time and its strictly lights out at half past seven. sometimes josh calls me back a few times but its just for more I LOVE YOUs or something else. generally there are no problems and they are absolutely exhausted and sleeping with in 5 mins. they enjoy sharing a room, they find comfort in it. it took a while to get right but I found that when I stuck to a certain routine and they knew I was serious and not interested in being messed around, it was all worth it. its so nice now to have time alone or with sean from seven thirty. its divine. they wake up any time from 6 to 7 am which suits me fine. but you need to figure out what works for you. but remember that these little creatures can sense when we are not serious about things and they know when and how to push our buttons. xx

Have the best of both worlds - no naps during the week which means they are in bed by 7 and you have an evening to yourself. And a nap over weekends - which will give you that much needed break in the day!

My boys watch tv when they get home from nursery in the evening - I believe that is the best way to wind them down - boys need that. And so does this mom after a looong day at the office! Best is when I can sit and watch tv with them and get all the cuddles I missed out during the day!

I vote do not give up the nap! I think they would get cranky if they didn't have the nap. Maybe you could move their bath time closer to bedtime and play some soft music or something, to get them to wind down.

nap nap baby. keep the nap, and try to let the little ferkers wake up on their own. self-regulation is magic. that way it is their own biorhythms at work.

i was 'made' to sleep as a kid, as in thrashed for not sleeping - because it suited my parents needs, and woken up at my parents discretion. it fully fucked my own sense of when i needed to sleep, and gave me a real sense of panic as an adult if i couldn't sleep. took me years to know in myself when i was tired, and when to go to bed. as you can imagine, that fed my anxiety and depression issues.

now i sleep when i need to (i am 47, so about bloody time) and actually know how i am feeling most of the time. that is amazing.

i find with my baby (8 months) that she sleeps better at night if she gets good quality sleep during the day, and with my older kids (now 25 and 21), good self regulated naps meant better night sleeps. my shrink suggested that i watch the baby for cues to tiredness, and be guided by those. she now goes to sleep with a minimum of fuss, she is 'guiding' me - and that really works for us.

you could try setting definite bedtime limits, and you have already had so much success with adam and his sleeping - go you - by doing so, so they are in bed reading or whatever by a certain time without negotiation, after much rumbunctious play with marko to exhaust them. no tv close to bedtime, it stimulates the wrong part of the brain so they can't wind down.

you are doing so well, and those kids rock. whatever you do decide it will work . . .

I agree with PP -- if they fall asleep that quickly, then they are definitely tired. So, don't give up nap!

Your bedtime problem could be either

a) need to shorten nap to no more than 45 minutes. Enough for restorative sleep, but not enough to rob from nighttime sleepiness, or

b) your bedtime ritual is either winds them up too much/doesn't wind them down enough, or they simply crave parental attention at the end of the day, so are putting off sleep to get that attention.

I'd probably try changing bedtime routine first, since as it is you're waking them from their nap. PP give lots of good suggestions. We use the time between dinner and bedtime as daddy play time -- it usually involves spinning around/falling down, chasing, tickling, and all sorts of rough house. As fun as it is, when I say it's bedtime, DS it excited and happy to go off to bed. I think its because the bedtime ritual invovled BOTH of his parents, so he gets lots of love, attention, cuddles right before sleep. His 2 favorite things in the bedtime ritual are putting money in his piggy bank (31 cents seems to appease the piggy sleep god and keep him sleeping thru the night), and playing the alphabet game wiht daddy and his favorite stuffed toy. If he's at all reluctant about bedtime, then I remind him of piggy bank and alphabet game, and he runs for upstairs.

I think if you have both parents involved in the bedtime ritual, it will become a much loved time since they'll both get your attention. You can even switch off -- have DH put jammies on DD, you on DS and then trade the next night. Looking forward to that 1:1 time with each parent might be good incentive.

Also, my DS can chat for anywhere from 15-60 minutes in his bed at night. As long as he doesn't cry or yell for me, I consider that fine! So, just b/c they don't fall asleep right away isn't a bad thing. I think wind down time in bed is nice relaxing time for them, and good for their independence.

I'm chiming in late here and I haven't read the other comments. My instinct (and my experience - I have a 5 y.o who napped daily until age 4 1/2 and a 3 1/2 y.o. who still naps daily) would be to start limiting the nap to one sleep cycle - approx 40 - 45 mins. Go a second cycle if they're unwell or had a broken night the night before, otherwise wake them and get them up fairly smartly until they start waking after 45 mins themselves. You'll have over tired kids in the evenings temporarily until things shake down again and they sleep longer at night.
Don't give up the nap - and after they don't need to sleep any more keep the time as "rest time". It's pure gold to have that break in the middle of the day :)

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