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What Do You Do If Your Toddler Won't Nap? Real Moms Give Their Advice

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When you're a mom, nap time is a blessing. When your kid naps, that's your time to relax, get stuff done, or even take a nap yourself. But what happens when your toddler stops napping? While you may not be ready to say goodbye to naps, your kid may have other plans. If that's the case, then you'll want to check out these alternatives on what to do if your toddler won't nap, according to the real experts — other moms. I surveyed through different mom groups to see what some of their favorite go-to alternatives are for a reluctant napper.

While some kids are great nappers and never miss a chance to snooze, other kids are just awake. My kid was one of those kids. Before he even turned 2 years old, he started staying awake through his afternoon nap time. Giving up the morning nap was tough enough, but no more afternoon nap? Are you kidding me? Heck no, I wasn't ready for that. So instead I offered him "quiet time." I put on his sleep music, closed the curtains, turned out the lights, and told him that he didn't have to sleep, but he did have to be quiet and stay in his room until his music was over — and he did. But quiet time quickly turned into take-out-all-my-toys-and-dump-them-on-the-floor time — which I was not prepared for, either. Luckily there are some other alternatives for us moms who have been blessed with the child that won't nap.

1. Quiet Time

For a long time, quiet time did seem to work at our house. I would put my son in his bed like I normally would before his nap, but allowed him to play with his toys or read to himself quietly. But it didn't take long for this to become more trouble than it was worth because by the time "quiet time" was done, his room would be completely trashed. If this is you, then are some other less-messy alternatives.

2. Quiet Independent Play

One mom tells Romper that she would set her little one up with coloring or another quiet activity in place of her usual nap time, giving them both a little breather in the afternoon.

3. Run Your Errands

Another mom tells me that the car was always the best alternative if her toddler refused to sleep. Her child would nap in the car while she ran her errands, so she was killing two birds with one stone. Talk about efficient. (Just make sure to take your child with you into any stores or other places you actually have to go in for your errands.)

4. Go For A Walk

When "quiet time" became too messy in our house, I decided to take "nap time" outside. When the afternoon nap time came around, I would put my son in his stroller and head out for a walk either through the park or to run errands in the neighborhood. The movement from the stroller would put him to sleep right away so I could get some stuff done while he napped for as long as possible.

5. Exercise

If nap time is your usual time to get your workout in, why not include your little one in your activity? It may just tire them out enough so they wind up taking a nap, but if not, you can always push up their bedtime.

6. Bath

This is a real mom hack: turn nap time time into bath time. One mom tells Romper that if her toddler wasn't napping, the bath would help soothe them down enough to be able to sleep.

7. Nurse Or Bottle

If you're still nursing or giving a bottle, then this could be a good way to help your child to sleep. Some quiet nursing and cuddles may be all they need.

8. Story Time

Another real-life hack if nap time just isn't in the cards is to turn the time into "quiet story time." A little reading and relaxing can really calm a kiddo down.

9. Movie Time

On days when the weather wasn't great, instead of going for a walk so my kid could nap in his stroller, I would allow him to choose one video to watch while he snuggled up with his blankie. Other moms agree: movie time was a popular nap time alternative because sometimes you just need a break.

10. Join Them

If it's looking like your child definitely will not nap, try lying down with them either in your bed or theirs. Create a relaxing environment by singing and cuddling and show them that you're going to sleep, too. After all, they don't want to feel like they're missing anything. With you resting next to them, they'll know there's nothing else exciting going on because you're right there.