How do you get a toddler to nap in a crib instead of a stroller or car?


My 23 month old is refusing to nap in her crib…she will nap in her stroller if we can get out for a walk (not that easy in this weather!) or sometimes she falls asleep in the car – is this normal?? Is she giving up her nap already? She only sleeps about ten hours at night. She is getting her bottom two year molars – could that be a factor? Thanks in advance for any advice!!

Has she always napped in her crib? She’s definitely not ready to give up her nap and in fact at her age I’d still expect to be seeing 10.5+ hours at night and at least 2 during the day. During this time of disruption be sure to compensate with earlier bedtimes to help prevent an accumulation of sleep debt! If you know she can nap midday, it really becomes a matter of showing her what you want her to do, consistently, for several days until she starts to believe you’re serious! Have nap happening pretty midday as it compares to her bed/wake times, have a room that is too dark to read, do a nice wind down routine with plenty of soothing to get her sleepy and always a safe sleep environment. Plan to spend a good hour working on a nap attempt if you can! you may choose to place her into her crib awake and sit by her shhhing, and patting her from time to time, but not taking her out. She might be mad (furious) but she’d not be alone and within several days would start to get the hang of what you want her to do. if that feels too intense you might choose to be more interactive doing some picking up holding, rocking, put putting her back down awake to try again. Or, you might decide to do less – leave her room and check in from time to time but basically let her sort it out. Naps take some time – often a good 5-10 days of consistency and toddlers are known for trying to figure out their parents’ weakness so consistency is key! She definitely still needs to nap!

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1 Comment

  1. Jen says:

    My 23 month old is waking from her nap after an hour. She is still exhausted and falls asleep on me when I get her. How can I get her to sleep longer in her crib. She is getting over a cold. She also seems to have separation anxiety. Often cries when I leave the room.

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