The 5 Stages of Disillusionment After Your Toddler Ditches Naps

The 5 Stages of Disillusionment After Your Toddler Ditches Naps

The emotional stages every mom experiences when her toddler decides to stop napping.


By: Nicole Fabian-Weber

There comes a moment in every toddler mom’s life when she has to come to terms with the fact that her adorable, sweet, hilarious (running, tantruming, maniacally wild) child is ditching his nap. And when that day comes, friends, I will not lie: It’s rough. Whether you have one toddler, a toddler and an infant, or a toddler and a big kid, you count on that nap every day. You need that naptime. Almost more than they do. It buys you a few hours to clean sticky handprints off walls, prepare dinner, or, you know, peruse cool nail art online.

Those two hours of blissful silence are a gift to every mom, a little wink from above, saying, "I gotchu." And when those magical hours slowly start to evaporate from your life like hot breath from a cold window, it's a hard pill to swallow. It was the only period of time in your day when you actually were able to get stuff done. What are you going to do now?

For all the moms out there with toddlers who have ditched, or who are in the process of ditching, their naps, this one's for you: Here are the five stages you will go through when midday night-night goes bye-bye. Moment of silence, please …

1. Denial. At first, you don't want to believe it. You think your toddler is just going through something – maybe it’s teething or a cold. Ooh -- perhaps you just need to push his naptime up a little later since he’s older and can stay up for longer stretches of time?! Some of your friends try to warn you -- "Yeah, this is around the time my kid stopped napping" -- but you don’t believe them … because you don’t want to believe them. You’re going to fight tooth and nail to keep your kid napping until he’s 5 -- and you really believe you can pull it off. (Note: denial often bleeds into delusion.)

2. Anger. When you start to realize that maybe your friends are right and your toddler is, in fact, ditching his nap, you start to grow angry. Why is the universe doing this to you?! And why now? There couldn’t be a worse time. (Note: Any time falls under the category of "couldn’t be a worse time" when your toddler stops napping.) You feel kind of like a jerk for being mad about something that clearly was inevitable, but you can’t help what you’re feeling. You kind of want to arch your back and kick your feet around like your child. Wait a minute … maybe you need a nap?

3. Depression. Eventually, when the anger passes, and you’ve come to terms with the fact that your little one somehow has the energy to stay up all day long, you grow despondent. You lose interest in cleaning your house, surfing the Internet, even showering. Or, actually, scratch that -- you don't lose interest, you just literally don't have time -- for anything. You're drowning in an ocean that is one giant toddler.

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4. Acceptance. Time to put on your big girl pants and get out of your funk. Your toddler isn't going to nap ever again and it isn't the worst thing in the world. In fact, think of all the good things that no nap will bring, like, um ... uhh ... just ... lots of really cool stuff.

5. Enjoyment. Actually, believe it or not, you will start to enjoy having a non-napping toddler at a certain point. You no longer need to schedule things around his nap or tiptoe around your house like you're trying to avert a grenade, and, let's face it, the older your kid gets, the easier he is to be around. Also, two words that are music to any parent's ear: earlier bedtime.

There's always a silver lining.

How did you deal with your toddler ditching his or her nap?



Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl (with a boy on the way!). She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications.

Image ©iStock.com/michellegibson

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