Napping Strike: What Can I Do?

Posted by in No-Cry Nap

What is a napping strike? It’s those times when your baby resists napping for a while, even though he still needs naps every day. Nap strikes can last for a few days or a few weeks, and then your little one will suddenly start napping again.

There are a number of reasons for a nap strike. If you identify the reason and work around it, your child will revert back to his good napping schedule much sooner. Here are a few of the common causes for these strikes, and some solutions.

What to do when a toddler refuses to nap? Elizabeth Pantley @NoCrySolution #parenting #tips #sleeping

Colton, 20 mths

Common Causes for Refusing to Nap

Learning to crawl, pull to a stand, or walk.

The Cause: The eagerness to master new skills overtakes the tiredness factor and your little one resists stopping this new activity long enough to relax and fall asleep.

The Solution: Give your child ample time to practice his new skills until about thirty minutes before naptime. At that time amend activities to those that are less physical and less novel. Try something like book-reading. Stay consistent with the times of daily naps even if it takes longer for him to fall asleep.


The Cause: If your baby has a bad cold, an ear infection, a difficult bout with teething, or other illness it may make it difficult for him to fall asleep. He may be tired, but since he’s unable to relax he’ll resist being put down for a nap. Another aspect of this is that when a child is sick we often bend all the rules (as we should!) but then it’s hard to get back on track.

The Solution: Identify the cause of your baby’s discomfort and take measures to lessen the effects, such as raising the head of the bed, putting a humidifier in the room, or using saline nose drops. Be flexible during illness but get back to your usual schedule as soon as possible. Allow a period of adjustment to settle back into routine.

Sudden fears

The Cause: Perhaps something frightened your child one day at naptime and it’s sticking in your baby’s memory. Maybe the baby monitor battery died and your little one cried for a long time before you knew he was awake, or your child fell out of bed during a nap. You child may have a sudden recall of the event the minute he sees his bed and fuss about returning there to nap.

The Solution: It might help to change the routine or the furniture arrangement just a little bit. Stay calm and pleasant during the nap routine. It can be comforting if you introduce a new or favorite stuffed animal as a sleeping buddy.

What to do when a baby refuses to nap? Elizabeth Pantley @NoCrySolution #parenting #tips #sleeping

Camden, 3 mths

Temporary interruption to routine

The Cause: An unusually busy week, having visitors, a later than normal bedtime, taking a vacation – this type of temporary interruption to your child’s usual routine can disrupt his body clock and cause him to be off-kilter for a few days.

The Solution: Jot down the best times for the day’s touch points – wake-up, meals, naps and bedtime – and stay within a half hour of each of your scheduled times. If you can do this for a week you should be back on track.

Developmental change.

The Cause: As children grow their needs change in regards to eating and sleeping, and if we don’t respond with a new schedule when needed they will just resist naptime.

The Solution: Watch your child for signs of hunger and tiredness in between usual meal and sleep times. See if he’s hungry earlier than mealtime, or not eating much when offered, but hungry later, and take note if he seems wide awake at naptime, but dragging an hour later. Modify the schedule a bit and see if you can find a new eating and napping schedule that works better for your little one.

What to do when a toddler refuses to nap? Elizabeth Pantley @NoCrySolution #parenting #tips #sleeping



Need more tips? The No-Cry Nap Solution is full of guaranteed gentle ways to solve all your naptime problems!


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