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The Expert Case for No Naps

Dear Heather,

I took away my toddler's nap so he'd sleep better at night. Is that OK? I know people say, " My kid needs a nap. He's a monster if he doesn't nap," but I'd rather fight with a cranky toddler in the daytime than at night. I'm convinced taking away the nap is the best thing for all of us!

Mama No Naps

Dear MNN,

You're on to something here. The choice to take away the nap involves fitting together a few puzzle pieces, but sometimes it's the best route. When my partner and I do sleep consultations, we have to ask a lot of questions to figure out if napping is a good idea for a particular toddler.

RELATED: I Hate Bedtime Reading

So let me ask you some: Is your toddler at least 2 ½-years-old? I've never found myself recommending a child younger than this go without a daytime sleep.

There isn't one standard "right answer" about preschool napping ...

Next question: are you able to commit to a very early bedtime? A non-napper needs to say goodnight early (7 p.m. works well), after a good bedtime routine that can take 45 minutes or so. Not every family can be home early enough on a regular basis to make this possible. Napping at daycare, pre-school or at home allows a toddler to stay up later (and still sleep enough overall), which is more convenient for some parents' schedules.

Another question would be: How does your toddler do without a nap? Moody and fragile, unable to play with friends or have a good time in the afternoon? Or does he still seem pretty happy and together?

RELATED: Is My Baby Ready For a Nap Schedule?

There isn't one standard "right answer" about preschool napping, but the answers to the questions above will get you started in the right direction.

Sleep happy,


Sleep expert Heather Turgeon, co-author of "The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep—Newborn to School Age," will fix your family's sleep problems in this space as she does in her home consultations. Turgeon's solutions are nonjudgmental, kind and—best of all—based on science.

No situation is too challenging. Leave your sleep problem in the comments. Let's all get a good night's sleep, finally.

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