Leila Petit

Your child no longer wants to take a nap, either at school or at home. Is it a “whim” on his part or does he no longer need it? What tricks are there so that he can still rest?

Let’s take a look together through a series of questions and answers!


My child is still taking naps at school, is that necessary?

When the child starts going to school, he or she takes a nap in the first year of kindergarten. Some children may still need to sleep in the afternoon at 4 years old and sometimes even until the age of 5-6 years old. They can then regulate themselves over a week instead of daily. It is very beneficial to organise a quiet time on Wednesday afternoons or during the weekend.


My child is irritated and/or grumpy when not taking a nap, is it because of lack of sleep?

It is considered that before the age of 5, children need to sleep at least 11 hours a day (divided between night and day). The early afternoon nap disappears between 2 and 5 years old. The nap is important for the child, who is acquiring the pattern and structure of its sleep. The child needs landmarks to develop stable sleep habits, which are particularly important in this period of rapid growth and development of the body and brain. Whether or not your child is getting enough sleep can be seen by how your child behaves during the day: more or less agitated, nervous, irritable.


A “disruptive” event has recently occurred, how can we deal with difficulty in falling asleep?

In general, and regardless of the child’s age, it should be considered that falling asleep represents a separation. The child is small and vulnerable and needs the protection of an adult. This separation is therefore difficult for him. It will be all the more difficult if a few worries are bothering the child (not having enough time with parents during the day, tension felt in the family due to a family concern, the arrival of another child, moving house, etc.) or simply a big change in the child’s life life: learning to walk, to speak, etc.


My child falls asleep better at night when he has not taken a nap; is he getting enough sleep?

Two and a half-year old children who no longer need a nap are exceptionally rare. But they do exist. The fact that the child sleeps well at the nanny’s and sometimes with you tends to show the need for a nap, at least on some days. But if you do notice that the child is better paced, not tired, not grumpy, not excited when not having a nap, then there’s really no need for it. If you can’t force your child to sleep, you can at least get the child to “calm down” in his bed.


I put my child in complete darkness for a nap, am I right to do this?

No, avoid complete darkness for naps so as to mark a difference with night time.

Unlike bed time, the nap ritual must be very short.  For example, no nightlight as the shutters or curtains must be left ajar, and no endless songs or kissing.  Finally, don’t shut out normal home sounds; then your child can wake up spontaneously as soon as his or her sleep becomes lighter at the end of the nap.


Even if not taking a nap, I offer my child a “calm moment”; is this a good habit?

Even if your child refuses to take a nap, he or she should be made to rest. You can suggest calming down in bed, playing quietly or looking at a few books but without getting up and without disturbing you. You can go and rest yourself. You can then calmly (but firmly) explain to your child that “It’s time for everyone to rest”.