No More Naps? Try These Tips from Parents for Toddler Quiet Time

Jill Holtz

October 13, 2020

Toddler quiet time reading

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Is your toddler getting cranky during the day? Are they refusing to take naps? Try some quiet time, you never know, it might turn into a nap, but in any case it’s good for toddlers to get some quiet and rest. Here are some tips from parents for toddler quiet time:

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When toddlers stop napping it can be difficult, especially when you’ve been relying on the nap time to catch up on chores or have a chance to sit down and catch your breath.

Just because they don’t want to have naps any more doesn’t mean though that you shouldn’t encourage them to stop running and playing and just have some toddler quiet time.

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Toddler Quiet Time Ideas

toddler story time

Sometimes kids just need a rest. If your child is sleeping the full night and not waking up too early you don’t need to be concerned about them stopping naps as long as they get some rest time.

“When my kids were young, and nap times didn’t happen, I would sit and read to them. Sometimes they would nod off, other times they just wanted the hear more stories.” 

“My little girl is 2 and a half, most days now she wouldn’t go for a nap but she gets her blankey and bottle and lies down on the sofa and watches some cartoons for about an hour and then she is nice and refreshed.”

“Quiet music, books, sometimes a movie works too, lights off.”

“My son hasn’t napped since he was about 1. Just make sure he sits with a book or watches cartoons for half an hour to calm him down in the afternoon.”

Tell them if they don’t want to nap that’s ok

Tell your child that it’s okay if they don’t feel like sleeping, but that they need to have some quiet time and rest.

Offer suggestions you can live with (books, movies, colouring, etc) and let him or her choose. Kids are sometimes more cooperative if they are included in the planning.

“Say ‘you don’t have to sleep but we are going to…’ e.g. sit quietly/read/watch tv (best not something they like)”

“I used to put on a movie and tell my son if he didn’t want to take a nap he could play quietly on the bed with his toys. I was usually dozing on and off since I worked night shifts. If he got rambunctious I would tell him if he didn’t settle down he would have to go to sleep – and I followed through after he got two warnings. We usually lasted about an hour total. A lot of time he’d end up going to sleep anyway.”

Encourage own time

Tell your child that they can do whatever they want in their room (read, play, etc…) but to do it in their room. The first time they come out means they will have to get in bed. This encourages them to spend time on their own, which can be restful and relaxing even if they are still playing.

“I just did the same routine but told my son ‘you don’t have to sleep if you don’t want to but it’s rest time. You can get down and play with your toys but you have to stay in your room til rest time is finished’. Then I’d close the door and leave him to it. We first started doing this when he first started dropping his nap at about two and a half, so sometimes he’d sleep other times not. Now at nearly 4, he still has an hour and a half rest time most days. Maybe give a special toy or game for rest time to get him happy with it.”

Set a time to be quiet

Make time for “chill out time”. You might watch some favourite cartoons or read a book or lie down with them, have cuddles, maybe some colouring activities.

“Reading a story book with big pictures so you can both pick the ones you like the best worked for me and my three lads”

“I have twin girls. One stopped napping at 2 the other stopped when she went to school. With one still napping I used to make the other have quiet time. I’d draw all the blinds in the lounge, put on a movie (volume low), give her a warm cup of milk, and she would lay there for most of the movie. I had to make sure the rest of the house was quiet, so no roaring around with the vacuum, etc.”

Routine is good

Fit the quiet time into your routine at the same time, so that your young one knows it’s part of their routine. Make it the same time every day, the same duration and, ideally, the same place.

“Each lunch time we had a special area and we either watched their favourite tv show or they got to pick a book to read.”

“I set a timer in his room and just tell him to read books or lie on his bed til timer went off. Usually set it for 45mins but if I knew he needed more time due to being tired I set it for an hour.”

“It took a few times to get them to be still, but after a few days they settled into the routine.”

Provide a special space

Provide a little space with blankets and teddies and cushions where they can cuddle down. Make a cosy place with cushions or a tent with books or favourite toys. They might listen to a story being read to them, some soft music, a kids podcast or audiobook.

“We use a few cushions on the floor and a blanket. We cosy up and read or watch a little movie or even do jigsaws or colouring, something that isn’t an energy zapper.”

“Sometimes we play sleepover and my daughter snuggles in her sleeping bag on the floor for a while! It just has to be something relaxing to break the day.”

“A cosy bean bag with their favourite movie or listen to stories, or read to them yourselves – make it a special cuddly quiet time.”

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How do you encourage toddler quiet time in your house? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

No More Naps? Try These Tips from Parents for Toddler Quiet Time - Mykidstime

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