Are you considering dropping your child’s last remaining nap? DON’T! I totally get the pro’s of dropping that last nap (especially if you have older kids). BUT, your preschooler or kindergartener still needs a nap! Studies are giving us some pretty amazing reasons why you should keep that last nap on lock for at least a few times a week. So, don’t give up on it too quickly!
Naps help your kids more than you think! That’s probably why so many elementary schools still have kindergarten rest time.
By continuing with nap time for your child, you can make them happier, help their memory AND curb behavior problems.
Naps Are Non-Negotiable
My boys couldn’t be more different from each other—especially with their sleep habits. My oldest handled night time sleep and daytime naps WAY more predictably than my youngest.
But, I have always been consistent with one thing: NAPTIME / QUIET TIME. I was (and still am) a Nap Nazi. Naps are non-negotiable.
Honestly, this was way more about ME than them (at least at first). But, it was easy for me to see the benefits of naps as soon as our schedules went off track for a week.
My Nap Schedule for Preschoolers
You don’t have to do a 2 hour nap every day. That’s not what we’re talking about here. At my house, we call it “naptime / quiet time.” Typically, we have naptime 3 times a week for 45 minutes.
I do allow a small toy or book in the bed—as long as my child is in the bed. Head on a pillow. This is more to disguise the nap. Nine times out of ten, my son is dead asleep in 10 minutes of laying there with or without a toy.
Don’t let them oversleep. If they’re 5 years old, then cut it off at 1 hour. Otherwise, you’re likely to set yourself up for failure at bedtime.
Benefits of Preschool Naps
It is SO tempting to let those naps go as soon as your kid hits preschool age. If you have a reluctant napper, or a toddler with napping problems—PUSH THROUGH. Don’t let it go too easily.
If you can manage to maintain naps, the benefits are pretty amazing.
#1 Benefit of Naptime: Helps Mood
Like I said before, anytime we get off schedule for about a week—it is BLATANTLY clear why I still make my kid nap. Some say cranky, but I say A-HOLE. That’s right. He can get down right out of control.
If he doesn’t get a nap a few times a week, then he can become a ticking time bomb. He over reacts to little irritations—both with anger and with sadness. He’s just a hot mess. But, as soon as those naps get back on track, he’s much more capable of handling the ups and downs of the day.
So, I can’t state enough the importance of rest time in preschool age kids. It’s everything!
There’s no need to watch your kid struggle with the mood swings from lack of a nap. This one is an easy fix. Put him in his bed and close the door.
#2 Benefit of Naptime: Helps Memory
Children in a new sleep study of preschoolers suggests that naps can help with memory. This isn’t one of my top concerns, but it’s nice to know there’s an additional cognitive benefit to my naptime routine.
They just don’t have room in their little brains for all the learning that they do non-stop all day. So, your pre-K kid needs a little nap. Bonus: It’s another reason I can give myself to continue on with our naptime schedule when there’s a little pushback.
I’m making them smarter….it has nothing to do with getting a little peace and quiet in the house (wink, wink!).
#3 Benefit of Naptime: Helps Curb Behavior Problems
THIS. THIS IS A BIGGIE. Children who nap 30 to 60 minutes midday at least 3 times a week show fewer behavior problems.
I know my child has a hard time managing his impulses, regulating his temper, and following the rules when he’s tired. If we go a whole week without a nap, then I can see my 5 year old getting into WAY more trouble than he would normally.
He causes more arguments, hits, has a harder time listening, gets crazier as we get close to bedtime, and the list goes ON & ON!
But, as soon as naps are reinstated, then I can see a marked difference in his self control, decision making, and rule following.
Naptime Creates Predictability
My vote is ALWAYS with naptime. It’s good for EVERYBODY. And, 60% of 4 year olds still nap (along with 1/3 of 5-year olds). So, you’re not alone. Lots of moms see the benefits of keeping that last nap in the schedule.
I know there can be a lot of pushback from your kids on the naptime front. But, consistency is key. Try calling it QUIET TIME, allow a little toy (or book), and only make it 30-35 minutes a few times a week. They may not like it, but they’ll likely get on board.
Some days, they won’t feel like napping. That’s okay. Control is another key aspect of what they need. So, let them have a win most days.