Should I Wake My Toddler From A Nap? The Common Mistake Parents Make

We’ve all been there before. Your toddler just got back from the playground, and they want to take a nap.  You let them, but they end up sleeping for far longer than they should be. This then creates the problem if they’re going to be up all night.  This can be quite a troublesome situation, and you may wonder whether you should wake your toddler from a nap or not. Well, here’s the answer–and the common mistake parents make with this. 


The Truth About Napping 

Lots of parents make this mistake where they are trying to have their kid stay up later so that they’re not up at 6 AM the next day. The problem is, children ages 3-5 years old need to have about 11-13 hours of sleep a night, and those naps are also accounting for that. Some kids like to stick with their nap routines; others not so much. 

Typically, preschoolers take one nap during the afternoon, and it should last for 1-2 hours. Naps aren’t always necessary if your child doesn’t get cranky or overtired, but if they don’t nap, a bit of quiet time is right for them. 

Naps are good, but they should only be about 1-2 hours for a toddler.  If they’re napping for too long during the day, it will impact night sleep since the amount of sleep during the day will be consistent. If you feel bad waking up the child during the day, remember that if it’s negatively impacting them at night, it’s not worth doing.  You also may want to work on adequately balancing the night sleep with the naps. 

Night sleep is also more restorative too, so if you wake them up after about an hour or so, and they conk out at 9, only to wake up at 7 AM the next day, it’s better for them too. If you’re asking yourself if you should wake your toddler up from a nap, the answer is yes.


Restoring The Day And Night Balance 

Sleep schedules are essential for our internal clocks.  Consistent programs will help the child get sleepy during the same time every single day. Consistency is perfect for children. If it is continuously changing, the body won’t know when to sleep. The bedtime struggles often come from this since it can affect how the parents put the children to bed.

Now, sometimes it’s okay for the child to nap more some days, but you should remember to keep a consistent sleep schedule. If your little one is fine, then you have a good one.

Look At How They Act 

Cranky toddlers are a bit of a nightmare to deal with. They can be fussy, have outbursts, and it can stress out the parents. They also can be incredibly demanding, but if you notice that the child isn’t acting out, it indicates that they’re getting enough sleep. 

Crankiness often happens because of not sleeping, and this is common in both children and adults. By getting the right amount of sleep, they’ll be happy. If your child is napping for two hours a day, but they’re acting sweet and pleasant for the most part, then you’re fine.

However, if you notice that they’re sleeping for three hours a day and only getting four hours of sleep at night, this is going to make them cranky. This is a sign that they need to change their schedule, and it can play a significant part in your life as well. It is often just better to wake them up as scheduled and make sure that they get enough sleep. This attitude should be able to answer the question: “Should I wake my toddler from a nap?”


So Is It Okay To Wake Them? 

Yes, it is okay. If you know it’s going to screw up a child’s schedule royally, don’t subject them to that. Instead, make sure they get woken up.

They may not be very happy with it, but for a lot of parents, this can be beneficial. They’ll be able to sleep through the night and be much more comfortable as a result. 

Routines are so important for kids, and that’s a big part of their life. Their circadian rhythm is much more sensitive than that of adults in some cases. So if you force them to stay up late, they’re going to be up at the same time the next day. It’ll make them upset, cranky, and generally a mess to be around.

Remember that their sleep schedules are affected by naps, so it can help them if they get up too. 

No Nap At All? 

Some toddlers don’t want a nap. This is perfectly normal. If they’re sleeping through the night and generally getting the sleep they need, then they don’t need a rest. But, with the way schools are these days, starting incredibly early and often with long days without naps, they’ll probably need something.

Even if they refuse a nap, they can benefit from some quiet time. Sitting around without the stimulation from the environment, without the electronics to keep them up and focused on can be incredibly beneficial. Taking a little bit of time just to rest their eyes or even just having a bit of quiet time can be incredibly helpful for them. Sometimes, having this before bed can help them fall asleep too.


So yes, while naps are great for young children, realize that toddlers need the schedule to survive and do well. They often become cranky messes if they have no plan.  You should make sure that they’re following some sort of program. If the toddler does need a little nap, you should give them one, but try to wake them up when it’s over. If you find yourself always asking, “Should I wake my toddler from a nap?”, then you must know the answer by now.

While they are becoming more and more independent, having a grapple on your sleep schedule is essential, and parents should be mindful of this. 

FAQs On Should I Wake My Toddler From A Nap


Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by Rejie Salazar

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