This battle is getting ugly

My two-year-old daughter has decided that she no longer wants to takes naps. She has displayed her discontent with this whole napping situation by laying on her back by the bedroom door and kicking it as hard as she can with her frighteningly sturdy legs until nap time is officially “over”.

(And yes, her abs are freaky strong with this new exercise regimen.)

I cannot lose this battle. Do you realize that in under five months I am going to have not three, but four very small, very headstrong children to deal with? If I don’t get some solid footing under my feet right now, I’m going to be no better than a mess of bubble packaging for my kids to stomp on.

To make matters worse, this pregnancy is really taking it’s toll on my energy level, I desperately need a nap every day. My older boys will happily sit down to a movie in the afternoon so I can grab a few winks, but June? Absolutely not. If she’s awake, then I’m awake.

Unfortunately, no nap for her means no nap for me, and without it I turn into a rather volatile zombie who’s incapable of things like cooking dinner and talking in quiet tones. I also tend to get red in the face at the slightest provocation, and have the distinct urge to revert to corporal punishment whenever the opportunity presents itself.

So here are my options. I can let her stay in her room for an hour and a half every day, waiting for her to either fall asleep or spend the entire time kicking the door (which she’s done the last two days), or I can let her out to torture and torment me with her wakefulness.

Keeping her in offers no rest for me, because she kicks the door so hard and so loudly that there isn’t a quiet corner in the house to escape to. Letting her out makes me want to run away and join a pregnant lady circus (I am convinced they really do exist). Help. Please. Someone. What do I do?


  1. The answer? Simple–steel plate the door and give her Benadryl. Kidding, only kidding. Seriously, each time our kids have weaned themselves off their naps it has been weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth–and I don’t mean the kids. It is a really rough transition and it does have implications for the whole family as trivial as it sounds. I wish I had some easy answer or wise advice. The transition will eventually end, though. I’ve heard some people (not me and my wife–other people, I mean. Friends of ours) who turn on a dvd during this time of day and so the mom can still get the nap and the child has a sort of quiet time laying still and watching Pooh’s Heffalump Movie. Or so I’m told. Like I said, we would never that. We use the extra time at our house to have our three year old memorize scriptures, and plant the wheat we will later harvest to make our own bread.

  2. I have no idea what to tell you. The idea of an afternoon nap – that’s the holy grail right there. I’ve heard it exists but have never actually seen it in real life.

    Mine all gave up their naps by 2. The mourning was intense.

  3. Braden, stop outing me on other peoples blogs about my parenting practices! ;->

    It’s true. We did the movie thing– especially when I was pregnant. I would tell my kids it was quiet time. They had to stay on the couch with me (or in my bed) while Mommy “rested”. We would watch the same blasted movie every day, but sometimes she would fall asleep. Sometimes not. But I would always get my nap.

    Good luck. Why do these dumb kids think it’s OK to grow up?

  4. Ooh… I feel you on this one! We just went through all of this with J. I’ve found it helps her if we wake her up earlier in the mornings. Then, come afternoon, she can barely keep her eyes open!

    Score: Mom-1 Jaden-0

    Good luck :o)

    • annie valentine says:

      Not a bad idea, but what’s earlier than five freaking thirty??

      • My two year was also resisting naps, bedtimes, shoes, baths everything when I was pregnant! I still believe the Lord knew that we needed to get pregnant with our beautiful M5 before M4 showed her true colors (strong-will).

        I have no answers only that I ended up with the playing in her room everyday for an hour and most days she ended up napping (late though – which caused the bad bedtime). It did pass and she is still napping almost 9 months later.

        At the time I thought I would lose my mind and never make it to deliver M5. He is an easy baby but sleeps lousy at night so now – same problem, different child, same strong-will, now at night when I am SO tired!!!

        Hang in there! My own consolation was that I was not alone and I was not the only mom ready to bolt their bedroom doors shut with the children behind them!

      • Ridiculous- O’clock! That’s what! 5:30? I am SO SORRY!

      • Yikes… Earlier than 5:30 would be called night! I’ll be thinking about you though! Good luck 🙂

  5. Buy some quilt batting (or some of those foam cushion pieces), attach this to the door, cover it with a cute fabric- or a chalk/white board (go for chalk-no markers) and call it a day. It may not get you the entire 90 minutes, but it might get you 30. And with the time to actually fall asleep-and some earplugs- you might catch some winks.
    My children’s doors have the knobs on backwards and I have earplugs right next to bed.

  6. What I did when my son was kicking doors for naptime was I stayed in the room with him for a while before I left. If he had to, he screamed but I made him stay in bed and occassionally just had to plug my ears. After about 3 days of this, he knew it was time to give up and give in. He’s fuss for a bit but after day 3, it was smooth sailing and back to naptime for me. =] Good luck, Annie!

    • I completely agree! When I was pregnant with my now infant son, I NEEDED that nap. I would sit in the room with her for the first 20 minutes or so, reading a book (until she passed out- the trick was to not do anything she would find entertaining), and maybe once in a blue moon I would lay down and fall asleep with her. Eventually she learned that giving up her naps was not an option yet.

  7. I would not let her give up naps at only 2! Mine all napped until they went to kindergarten and they really needed it until that age. I love the idea of putting something up against the door that’s soft against the door so that it’s not too loud. Or else threaten to take away something that she cherishes if she doesn’t stay quiet. She’s trying to see if she can win and she can’t. She’s not the boss. 🙂 Good luck!!!! I know how hard it is but your persistence will pay off if you stay firm!!!

  8. Ear plugs.

    I may or may not have seriously considered this option before.

    The Hulk stopped napping around 2. It was MURDER. I say stick with it. If it continues for more than two weeks, she’s not going back.

    In the meantime, ear plugs. The foam kind that hunters use. Tell the older kids to wake you if there’s a serious problem.

  9. Let me know what works for you, ’cause we’re having this same problem. The 2 year old is trying to cut out his nap (and I can’t believe my baby can sleep through his racket), and even though he’s in his room, his racket is pissing me off so bad that I’m in a worse mood then if I let him stay up, roaming/destroying the house.

  10. To be honest, if my two year old kicked the door for an hour and a half, I’d probably go in there and spank him. But I’m horrible, so…?? I would try the whole sitting in there with her for a little bit, and then I would have her lay in bed with me, if she would do that? Sorry, I’m not any help, I’m due in less than a week, my brain is complete mush!

  11. Why wouldn’t she want to take naps?!?! I want to take about 10 a day.

  12. I feel your pain. This was my exact day yesterday. So we put all the kids to bed at 5:00 PM because they didn’t nap. It was a beautiful evening. 😉

    Advice? Hmmm, well, my mom raised 8 kids. She claims the only way she stayed sane all those years (and only then just barely) was making us – yes, making us – all take naps through kindergarten.

    I haven’t raised every child out there so I don’t know what everyone else has tried and each kid has their quirks. A book that was shoved into my hands is “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Marc Weissbluth and it saved my life.

    I know. You need a nap, not a book to read. I know. I get it. Heaven bless my lack of sleeping stars, I get it.

    But I promise (as would every other one of my friends or acquaintances who have also had this book shoved in their hands) it is a miracle worker. My husband and I still refer to it for ideas with each new phase, or about every three months, with all of our kids. Sometimes I read it while the kids are screaming just to give me the steel to stick to my resolve. One friend whom I didn’t tell about it, found it on her own and then lectured me for 20 minutes straight because I didn’t clue her in earlier. Whoops.

    When my oldest was at this phase where June seems to be, I was ready to find a junior-sized straitjacket. I was insane with sleep deprivation. My mom told me to go in there and lay down next to him. It worked, but I had to do it every day for several months and still do it on occasion (he will be five in July) This plan would never work for my oldest girl, but it worked for my boy.

    Oh, and LOTS of sunlight in the early morning. And some acetaminophen. For you. Not her.

    • annie valentine says:

      I know, I’ve trained all my kids to sleep with this book, so I’m totally on board. Today I let her stay in there and kick until she finally (after an hour) collapsed into sleep. It was a good feeling.

  13. You might try some actual bubble wrap on the door. Some padding would sure muffle the sound a bit. I am trying hard to think of something that my little kid wouldn’t be able to tear off in seconds, and nothing is coming to mind, but there has to be something!

  14. Well, no good advice coming from this way. I never had one as headstrong as June and even though both kids pretty much gave up naps between 2 and 3, all I ever had to do to grab a nap was start a movie for them. Then I would lay down on the couch and they would sit on my legs. I did this with both kids and it was a charm.

    I don’t advise doing this with Junie, she’d be off that couch in a second getting into some crazy mischief. Oh dear, I am so glad I have a 4yr old and 6yr old and NOT a 2yr old.

    Call your sister Koni, she had 4 kids in 5.5 years and I KNOW that woman made us all take quiet times until Kindergarten. She may have some advice. GOOD LUCK on SLEEP!!

    P.S. Oh and 5:30am is freakin’ brutal, that June better be some kind of perfect teenager, cause Lord knows you are putting up with enough right now. 🙂

  15. I’ve given up with Z and don’t force him into naps. He only naps about every other day, but after missing a nap one day he’s so tired he doesn’t fight it the next day. A nap for you every other day is better than nothing, right? I hope you can avoid having to replace your door when June finally knocks a couple of big holes out of it.

  16. Annie,

    I’ve never posted before, but I have an idea that I’m using with my 3-year-old for all discipline issues. One day I got so fed up with all of his whinning and begging and pleading and no napping that I voted things were changing right then. First, I put a chair in the corner in the downstairs bathroom. Second, I put a timer right next to it. The chair is high and it is hard for him to get off it and there is nothing he can touch while sitting or standing on it.

    Now, when he won’t do what I want I tell him ONCE to stop. When he doesn’t, I pick him up and put him on the stool and set the timer for 10 minutes. When it goes off 10 minutes later, I go get him up. He hates that chair and his behavior has improved. So at nap time, I tell him it’s time for nap. When he argues, I ask him to stop ONCE. When he continues, he gets to sit on the chair for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, he goes to bed nicely.

    Maybe it will work for you. Oh, and it is a rule that he has to be quiet when he’s on the chair and the door is shut and he faces the wall. If he doesn’t cooperate with time-out, then he goes straight to his room for much longer with NOTHING to do or play with. He hates that more than the chair. And on days when he is good, we read a book before nap as a treat.

    Hope that helps!

  17. Ooohh! I totally agree with Teresa’s comment. In this house we ask ONCE and then take action. It has been a life saver. Kendra is good at that also and I never saw better minders than her kids.

    Ask once, discipline. We also used the stair-time-out method. But I am thinking I love Teresa’s method. Now that works and with a child as strong-willed as Junie, you will need a consistent method to use for several years to come. Locking her in her room to pound on the door is not teaching her anything, but hit harder and longer and yell louder. Then get madder at mom and dad. She needs to learn to CONTROL herself or you are in serious trouble with her.

    To end on that lovely note…how’s the pregnancy going besides the no sleep thing? Love ya!

  18. My kids stopped taking naps years ago. But we still have quiet time. I tel them, they need to spend an hour in their rooms, doing whatever….reading a book, homework, coloring..napping. They just have to be quiet and have to stay in their room.
    Maybe she’d be more cooperative if she didn’t think she HAS to be sleeping. I dunno.

    My other thought is you should bring your monkeys over here to play.
    Peter is totally at a 2 year old level. She and June would get along just peachy!

  19. Two words…STICKER FAIRY! My daughter did this same thing. I told her a story about the sticker fairy that visited when she napped. As soon as she was out I would sneak in and stick a sticker somewhere on her. Now the sticker fairy would NOT come if she faught the nap. And the sticker fariy would not come every day. Just enough to keep the “game” going!

    And each time before she feel asleep I would make her a deal. All little kids like to make a deal. I told her as soon as she feel alseep I would let her wake herself up. She always felt like she had control. LOL…

  20. We are going through the same thing here with my 3 yr old son. We’ve reached a compromise. Naps every other day. That seems to be working out quite well and he takes really long (like 3 hrs) naps this way. The days he doesn’t nap we both go to bed early.

    My 7 yr old on the other hand, never liked naps and still hates to sleep. She gave up the nap at 3 yrs old and til this day still complains at bed time. She says that “sleeping takes to long.” She’s just one of those kids who does not require a lot of sleep. She takes after my husband.

    So though not an ideal situation with my son, I am counting my blessings. At least he still naps every other day and he begs me to put him to bed at night because he’s so tired.

    I’ll take it. Because like you, this pregnant momma needs sleep. I sure won’t be getting any 5 months from now!

  21. Just a different suggestion to consider if you’re going down a long list trying one thing at a time. Leave the door wide open, put her in her bed, and then you sit on the floor blocking the path to her open door and read a book. I used to do this with my boys at bedtime. If they would try to talk to me, I’d remind them once or twice, “This is mommy’s quiet time,” and then I’d ignore them after that. Usually, they’d eventually go to sleep, and I’d run and dive in my own bed. But if they got out, and wouldn’t climb back in bed after a warning, I’d physically put them back. If that’s a battle, it’s BAD at first, but they eventually give in… may take days. Good luck!!