Mommy SOS: Toddlers and Sleep (or lack thereof)

Hi – yes, I’m back from ImagingUSA.. though you wouldn’t know it by the silence around here lately! That’s partly because I have so much I want to share about Imaging but I haven’t had time to organize my thoughts on it, and partly because at the end of last week  Jasper got stomach flu round 3.. (but who’s counting?)

So before I fill you all in on Imaging I was hoping you could help me with something..

Jasper used to nap from about 1-3:30, so a good 2.5 hours. Now, I’m LUCKY if we get 1.5 hours. Is this normal for toddlers that naptime shortens like this?  And if so, should bedtime be earlier?

Up until now we have been starting bedtime at 8 but by the time he’s ACTUALLY asleep it’s 9pm or so.  But now with those short naps I feel like he’s constantly tired and cranky!  Last night I started bedtime at 7pm and he was asleep sometime just after 8pm, but he really WAS NOT tired and it took a lot of -well, threats to get him to lay still and let himself fall asleep!

I would love to hear if you all are going through/have gone through the same thing and what worked for you!

Also – semi-related tangent:  Does your child toss and turn like a MANIAC in his/her sleep? I’m seriously starting to suspect Jasper has a sleep disorder!  He’s moving around I’d say about 75% of the night (yeah, it makes it SUPER fun when he’s in bed with us – last night he head butted me in the lip!)  Can he possibly be getting restful sleep flopping around like a fish out of water all night?

Pin It

Wall Display Templates for Photographers

You might also like

Jasper Making Car Sounds I am short on time, but long on videos, so here's another one (are you sick of them yet?) Now it's...
Jasperisms I'm so stressed right now trying to get the Elements version of my Wall Display Templates finished before...
Mommy SOS: Toddlers and Christmas Trees Ever since reading Jill's hilarious post about her Christmas tree + toddler experiences, I've been...
Daddy SOS: Blankets for Toddlers? Courtesy of Shane, our very first Daddy S.O.S! It's been one I've been wondering about for a while...
Emily says:

You need to get the book, “Good Night, Sleep Tight” by Kim West. It is a gentle approach to get your child to go to sleep, stay asleep, and wake up happy. It will be the BEST book you ever buy! My two year old sleeps like a champ when he is sick (which he is again right now! He has croup for like the 18th time this year!) sleeping 13 hours or so at night.


Get the book. :) Welcome back BTW! Can’t wait to read about Imaging! Are you planning on going to WPPI in Vegas next month?

Michelle says:

Yes, at that age, Jasper should definately be in bed no later than 8pm. Two year olds are supposed to have 11 hours a night of sleep! I assume he wakes up early as he goes to daycare?

My daughter is 27 months old and has started to refuse a nap and she’s waking up earlier – 5ish. Her bedtime is typically 7:30 and she wakes up normally at 6 or 6:30. But lately, it’s been 5ish.

They say that early to bed = sleeps in. Has never worked for my kids but lot’s say it does.

heartartz says:

Jasper’s shorter naps and tossing in bed is entirely normal.
I will tell you the tale of 2 little boys.
Boy 1, after age 2, napped 1-4 pm (Mom got everything done) till he was 6 and went to 1st grade. He came home one day and said, “I hate 1st grade..there are no naps”. At night he went to bed at 8pm and asleep after a story. He tossed and turned and was never covered by a blankie (wore a blanket sleeper, He awoke himself around 6am a happy boy.
Boy 2, after age 2 1/2, took NO NAPS. Pre-school made him have quiet time…he had to lie on his mat and “read” or play quietly with a toy. Because of this he asked to learn to read and actually could read at age 5. At night he went to bed at 8…but never got to sleep till 9 or 10. He spent an hour or 2, quietly in bed “reading”. Many nights we found him asleep with book in hand and light still on. He also tossed and turned all night and wore a blanket sleeper. He slept till he was awakened and was always grumpy!
Boy 1, grew to be a fine young man, who is asleep by 11 and up by 6, happy and ready to go
Boy 2, grew to be a fine young man, who is rarely in bed by 1am and can sleep till noon. Still grumpy when woken earlier for school but after breakfast happy and ready to go.
My husband and I are the same way…he needs naps and sleeps, early to bed early to rise. Me, I take no naps and go to bed late (or early am) to awake late or when awoken.
We all develop our own sleep patterns….what are yours and Jeff’s? Jasper will be some where in between!

tiffany says:

i thought that we were done for with naps when he changed from a crib to a toddler bed (because he could climb out) around 26 months. he napped in the bed for a few days, but then instead of napping would get up and bang on the door. about the third day, he banged on the door for 30 min and then got quiet. i peeked in and he had climbed back into bed and was sound asleep. hooray!

this lasted for a few weeks. then one day, he finally figured out how to open the doorknob and came running out after 5 min. yelling “good nap! lots of sleep!”. which was funny the first time, but not the 3rd or 4th day in a row. i thought he would never nap again.

the next morning he woke me up by coming into our room and poking me. i freaked out that he could have been running around the house while we were sleeping (he had never left his room before at night), and i went straight out and bought a doorknob cover at bru.

after one day of REALLY angry yelling at me during naptime (with him spinning the doorknob cover with no success the whole time), he went back to napping again. i know that sleep solutions that involve yelling/crying at the start aren’t for everyone, but i feel better now that he naps again. i did also move his naptime back by about an hour over the past few months, so i think that helps a little too. right now he is up at 7:30ish, in bed to nap at 2-4/4:30ish, in bed for the night at 8 (although he doesn’t always fall asleep right away, he will just lay there and sing until he does). sorry this got crazy long, but i thought the doorknob cover might help some folks.

Dee says:

My DD turns 2 next week and she’s used to her afternoon naps for abt 2 to 2.5hrs. If she doesn’t have her nap then she gets pretty exhausted by the evening. Bedtimes at night as a result of her afternoon nap are quite late. She sleeps only around 9:30 or 10pm, occasionally even 10:30. The good part is she’s been finally falling asleep on her own and in her bed for the past 2 months. But she tosses and turns a lot through the night, sometimes I just keep moving her to the center of the bed so she doesn’t fall off the bed.
Hope Jasper feels better soon and welcome back :)

Maria says:

The “Binky Fairy” recently visited Jonah and took his binkies and left him a couple new Thomas and Percy trains. The following day we go from 2 hour naps to NO naps. Thankfully he’s sleeping well at night (probably exhausted) but as I write this I’m listening to him call for me from his bedroom. It’s heartbreaking (and frustrating) because I know he’s so darn tired yet he just won’t nap. His demeanor is totally different and he’s just not the same kid in the afternoon without a nap. I’m very tempted to give his binky back but I hate to take a step backward. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice! I know my Mom had us napping through kindergarten as well and I was very much hoping I’d have my kids still napping then too!

Alexandria says:

My son is 2.5 now and isn’t taking a nap every day. The days he does take a nap he’ll sleep about the same length as Jasper. As far as bedtime goes we don’t have a routine for that and we always play by ear. I’m someone who likes to sleep in and so I don’t mind keeping my son up until 10 or so because he’ll sleep in until 9. But on days that he doesn’t nap and is really cranky he goes to bed early.

And my son is also a crazy sleeper and I’ve been worried about it having a negative affect on him to because he is constantly flopping around.

kari says:

welcome back!
re: the tossing and turning – Liam is the same way. In constant motion throughout the night – and I think somehow its a self-soothing thing… he moves is hands and arms when he is going down to sleepy town. It’s probably pretty normal.
Naps for us are around 1.5-2 hours on the weekdays (at school) and during the weekend more like three hours (i know.. jealous right?) he’s always been a sleeper. but i have noticed more lately that he is fighting sleep more than he ever has, and isn’t consistent on the long weekend naps anymore (his bedtime is 8 and he wakes up at 7).

you know… just when you get used to a certain stage… they go and change it up on you.

good luck!!

Joelle says:

My daughter is 2 and still takes a 1.5-2 hour nap most days…then sleep routine starts around 8. She comes into bed with us pretty much EVERY night, which I would love to stop. How do you keep a toddler in her bed at night when she can just crawl out?
Also, sometimes the bedtime routine takes forever! I don’t understand how kids learn how to stall at such a young age.

Shane says:

You’ve gotten part of our experience w/ G.. now for some more details. Nap time at home is brutal (for me) – it’s just no fun battling to get G to lay in bed. He’s a master at keeping himself awake even when he’s tired. Strap him in a carseat and he’s out in 10 mins. I want to put a carseat inside the house for nap time ;-)

We have been doing some TV time at bedtime(in our room). It keeps G from running around and starts to calm him down. It’s less battle for me to get diaper change/PJs on/ and teeth brushed while he’s watching TV (I know it’s a sucky parenting technique). And I try to judge the length of TV time by his mood and movement. Trying to start bedtime before he’s ready just results in more fighting to keep him in bed. He’s been starting bedtime between 8-9pm and is usually asleep by 8:45-9pm. Weekdays I need to wake him by 7 am — but ideally by 6:30 am. Sometimes he’s up earlier on his own.

I’ve tried to do an earlier bedtime on the no-nap days but it doesn’t really work out well. Just a longer fussier bedtime experience.

And yes, G moves around a lot some nights. I sleep w/ him (in his bed) only about 1 night a week (for 4-5 hours) and some nights i feel he’s counting laps in the bed.

Jennifer says:

Another vote for Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. We had to move bedtime earlier quite a bit. I swear, though, as soon as you figure out one sleep phase they are already on to the next one:( Can’t wait to hear about Imaging!!!

Nina says:

My little one used Zofran, LOL. Same stuff I used when I was pregnant just a super small does. Also, you could try some tea. I know sometimes it helps. Cranky in the morning is no good!

I hope he feels better soon!

ariana says:

Wow Meredith, I can’t imagine Jasper sleeping that long at night! We don’t even get home until 6:30pm from work, which is another issue with an early bedtime.

Nina, SO true.. he hasn’t been eating since Thursday and still complains that his belly is cold (nausea) so he is surely still feeling crappy. Never thought about anti nausea meds! Has anyone else used these? Oh, and no, he doesn’t wake up happy – he’s usually a HUGE crank in the morning!

Meredith says:

Yes, it’s normal for naps to shorten and yes, bedtime should be earlier.

When my twin were toddlers (and the two that followed the twins) bedtime was 6:30 (sharp) and they slept until 7 am. I followed the Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child book and it was a life saver. My kids still have early bedtimes, at least compared to all of their friends.

Nina says:

I think this all sounds normal. I know you mentioned he had been sick, so I wonder if his stomach might still be bothering him. My son (20 months) and I had suffered from a stomach virus and felt the affects for a week after. I ended up having to get him nausea meds because he was still feeling off. Once we got him on them he felt better and sleep more soundly. He normally takes an hour nap and sleeps between 10-11 hours at night. He has never been a big sleeper though.

I would say if Jasper is waking up happy in the morning the tossing and turn is not affecting him.

jbhat says:

Our little one has Jasper’s same birthday, and apparently the same active sleep habits. She is ALL OVER her crib (she’s 17 months). I put her in one of those Aden and Anais sleep sacks, because otherwise, she’d escape from any sort of blanet coverage. For many months, her bedtime was 6:30. But it’s creeped up to almost 7 now. She still naps, just once a day, between 1.5-3 hours (hooray for long weekend naps–that means I sometimes get one too). It sounds like Jasper would maybe be a good candidate for a bit of an earlier bedtime if he resists napping. Maybe try 15 mins earlier one night, 20 the next, etc. until you get it where you’d like it to be? Every kiddo is different, but our 6 year old only just graduated to an 8 p.m. bedtime. He was at 7:30 for years.

Good luck! And welcome back. I hope your hotel-ing was marvelous.


ariana says:

Well, at least it sounds like I’m not alone in my misery! :)

I seem to recall that we took naps in kindergarten when i went to school, so I just have been living in denial that naps might come to an end so soon!

1.5 hours is certainly better than none, I guess I should count myself lucky that he doesn’t fight going down for nap, even though I feel like he wakes too early.

Lisa D says:

My son is barely 18 months old and gave up long naps at about 16 months. I am lucky if he sleeps 1.5 hours for a nap. We usually put him to bed between 7:30 and 8 and he sleeps a good 12 hours. Some days are really good with the crankiness and others are not. I can’t ever depend on what time his nap will be either. I have learned to just let it go. I don’t know what else to do.

Well, Xander is younger that Jasper (20 months), but I can tell you what is normal for him. He naps about 2 hours (12-2 ish) and then goes to bed around 8-8:30. We usually have to wake him when it’s time to get ready a little after 6, but he always seems well-rested. It sounds normal to me that Jasper’s naps are shorter now. You might even be lucky that he’s still napping!

Xander is in bed with us at least part (most) of every night and he is all over the place. He usually sleeps sideways with his feet on one of us and his head by the other. I love having him in bed with us. He’s such a great cuddler and since I’m away from him all day, I want to be as close as possible during the night.

Jessica says:

We definitely saw a drop in sleeping hours a little after two. It was so, so sad. J doesn’t take his nap at the same time every day – he will nap anywhere from 1-3 hours, but usually right around 1.5 hours.

We tend to gauge bedtime by what time his nap is, but it’s anywhere from 7:30-9 and he gets up anywhere from 5-7 (usually about 6, though). We have also been having him appear in our room at various times in the night which isn’t my favorite thing, but since we have a new baby we tend to be up anyway.

As far as the moving? We’re right there with you. It made sleeping with him while pregnant quite a feat. He took (foam) swords to bed with him last night which made for some interesting positions when I went to check on him.

Heather says:

I’m so glad you posted about this, and will be eager to hear the other comments. My son, who will be 3 in March, has decided he no longer needs a nap. We’ve finally given up trying because he’s just not tired and has so much energy…I mean you can’t “make” him sleep, right? I’ve tried “quiet time” which lasts about 1/2 hour. He IS more tired at bedtime, and we usually have to REALLY quiet things down in the evening or he’s just way too exhausted. We’ll watch a couple shows and have a bath (any “calm” thing I can think of!) Because of this, he does go to bed much earlier…7 or 7:30ish. So, I can get a little more done in the evening as opposed to the day. But, it’s exhausting esp in this crazy cold/snow filled winter we’ve had!

Also, have you tried taking Jasper to a movie? I think this will be my new default activity for Sunday afternoons w/ no nap. My son is really good in the movie theater, and is fascinated by it (and Tangled is actually a really cute movie!)

Good luck!

Ava says:

YES! Actually, these days, unless we force him, G would happily give up his nap. On the week-ends it’s a battle to get him to nap, unless we’re in the car driving. Then he’ll sleep. I assume because he’s bored. Sadly, car naps have always been short, but these days it’s either he sleeps for an hour in the car, or not at all at home.
Also, his nap schedule is completely unpredictable. He could start a nap as early as 11:30, or as late as 2.
On days that he doesn’t take a nap though, he’s no worse on the crankiness meter than he normally is. I mean he’ll throw a fit with nap or without, so it doesn’t matter.
I won’t be surprised if by the time he turns 3 there’s no more mid-day nap. Kinda sucks, and it’s kind of liberating at the same time.

Oh, and sleeping wise, yep, G does 360s in bed all night. He doesn’t sleep under a blanket for long, and ends up feet on pillow within the hour. Sleeping in the same bed with him can be a full-contact sport. I was like him when little too. I think I kicked and turned around a lot until 2nd or 3rd grade. I’m a great sleeper now though :)